Sunday, August 2, 2020

Kerry Washington & Girlfriends Light Little Fires Everywhere

Kerry Washington plays an artist who finds inspiration in weed in Little Fire Everywhere 

I hadn't realized it, but I spent National Girlfriend Day yesterday binge watching Hulu's Little Fires Everywhere, the female-produced adaptation of the acclaimed Celeste Ng novel about race, class, motherhood and more. 

Set in the "planned community" of Shaker Heights, Ohio where Wu lived growing up, the series was co-produced by her and by series stars Kerry Washington and Reese Witherspoon, among others, including Lynn Shelton, the beloved actress/writer/director/producer who died unexpectedly in May at the age of 54 from acute myeloid leukemia.

Unlike the book, the series shows Washington's character Mia, an artist and single mother, smoking a marijuana pipe in her studio, and in her car before starting one of her menial jobs. Washington tweeted in answer to the question, "What was the most fun thing to bring to life on screen?" like this: 

Witherspoon, who has emerged from her "Legally Blonde" days to become an acting and producing powerhouse, plays Elena, a buttoned-up woman who traded her journalistic ambitions for motherhood in Ohio. She reminisces about inhaling with her ex-beau, but slams Mia for being a bad mother in part because she smokes marijuana. Mia stands up for her lifestyle, and asks, "How can we see ourselves when we're afraid to look at who we really are?" It's a telling scene: mothers aren't necessarily anti-everything, they just resent that they feel the need to look perfect in the eyes of their children and communities.  

Too bad Mia didn't pass the wine-glugging Elena her pipe. Instead, Elena's aptly-named son Moody finds it and asks her daughter Pearl, "Your mom smokes?" "When she works," is the reply. (The way Patti Smith uses it). Pearl shows Moody how to smoke ("Just little puffs or you'll cough, OK?") and soon he's noticing, "The room looks super clear. The edges of everything look like they're shimmering." 

Witherspoon in Little Fires Everywhere
Witherspoon smoked pot on film in Inherent Vice, and while interviewing country singer/songwriter Kacey Musgraves on her DirectTV series Shine on with Reese, said she liked Musgraves's song "Follow Your Arrow" because it talks about "smoking weed and alternative lifestyles."  

Washington has just broken a record by being nominated for four prime-time Emmys this year, including for her lead role in "Fires," which also grabbed a nom for Best Limited Series or Movie. Two other projects from her production company Simpson Street ("American Son" and "Live in Front of a Studio Audience") were also nominated. And she was interviewed on Real Time with Bill Maher last night about her new project, The Fight, following attorneys from the ACLU on their court cases. 

Music for the series from Ingrid Michaelson also got an Emmy nom, and Shelton is nominated posthumously for directing the series finale. Her films are seen as bringing emotional depth (a woman's touch?) to comedy. Washington told the New York Times, "I’m so grateful that the Academy has honored her in this way. It’s so immensely deserved. At a time when women’s voices in directing and producing are just so important, to really honor her, in her passing, for her extraordinary work on our show, is just so meaningful. I just keep getting so emotional thinking about it." Which is something women are allowed to do, and depict.   


Anonymous said...

Little Fires Everywhere is written by Celeste Ng. Constance Wu is an actress.

Tokin Woman said...

Thank you! Correction has been made.