Author and producer of the novel and Hulu original series adaptation Little Fires Everywhere Celeste Ng spoke out about the need for conversations about race and class in America, according to The Hollywood Reporter. With the George Floyd protests occurring across the country within the last few months with the aim of addressing inequality and police brutality among Black Americans, the novel and series perfectly depict the obvious differences and connections between race and class.
Ng’s The New York Times best-seller, published in 2017, follows two families, particularly the women who raise them, Elena Richardson, played by Reese Witherspoon (The Morning Show, Legally Blonde), and Mia Warren, played by Kerry Washington (Scandal, American Son). The eight part limited series was released on March 18 and was nominated for five Emmys this year, including one for Outstanding Limited Series.
The novel and the series differ a bit with regards to their depiction of the characters. As a Chinese American being raised in an area with very little Asian representation, Ng wrote her novel from personal experiences. For this reason, the author only wrote about the experiences of white and Asian American characters. She states, “I’ve felt like I’m an outsider for most of my life, so I think a lot about that power imbalance, what it means to feel like you aren’t being seen or heard or that people see you differently than you know yourself to be,” via The Hollywood Reporter.
The entirety of the plot focuses on the two family’s conflicting views on white parents adopting a Chinese American baby. Moreover, none of the other characters in the novel are exclusively people of color. Surprisingly though, Washington was cast for one of the lead roles. This resulted in Ng loving the idea of a series adaptation even more because the black crew members, actors, and producers would be able to complete what she was unable to: tell the story from the experiences of more than one person of color. In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, she states, “I didn’t feel like I was the right person to try to imagine a Black woman’s experience in America or a Latinx woman’s experience in America, because I know that some things I might be able to imagine, but other things I know that I don’t know about.” Thrilled about the casting of another woman of color, Ng told The Hollywood Reporter that “I loved it because to me it said that [the producers] were looking at the book in the way that I wanted it to be looked at: They were thinking about how race and class connect, they were leaning into having those discussions.”
Both the series and the novel ended on a cliffhanger, leaving viewers hoping for a season 2. However, no plans of a second season have been announced yet.
The season 1 trailer can be watched below.