The stars and creatives behind Hulu’s “Tiny Beautiful Things” celebrated the premiere of their upcoming show at an ethereal and intimate event, presented by Hulu, ABC Signature and Variety.
“Tiny Beautiful Things” stars Kathryn Hahn as an anonymous and revered advice columnist whose own life is falling apart. Reese Witherspoon and Laura Dern are among the executive producers behind the buzzy show, which begins streaming on April 7 on Hulu.
Adapted for television by Liz Tigelaar, “Tiny Beautiful Things” is based on Cheryl Strayed’s New York Times bestseller of the same name, which is comprised of a collection of essays from Strayed’s “Dear Sugar” advice column, which she wrote anonymously more than a decade ago.
At the Los Angeles premiere, Tigelaar and Strayed walked the purple carpet, adorned with bright florals, to discuss their latest project.
“Once I sat down to figure it out, it was beyond what I had dreamed. It was almost something that felt so much bigger than me because it was — it was Cheryl,” Tigelaar said of her writing process to bring Strayed’s story to the screen. “It became this amazing opportunity to be really ambitious with this storytelling, and to really tell a story that, at its core, is about love and how it’s never too late to become who you need to become. Those themes resonated so much with me, as a fan of hers, that I hoped it would make a really beautiful show.”
Strayed said she never envisioned her “Dear Sugar” column would become a television series. In fact, she never thought it would become a book. “Tiny Beautiful Things” has also been adapted for stage with a sold-out show at The Public Theater in New York in 2016.
“It began as humble as it can get,” Strayed told Variety at the premiere. “And then, online, people started reading it and it grew a following and became a book. Never did I imagine that it was going to be a book. And now, here were are with this show. I’m just thrilled and amazed.”
“Tiny Beautiful Things” is a reunion for Strayed, Witherspoon and Dern, who worked together on the 2014 film “Wild.”
Witherspoon’s prolific company Hello Sunshine is behind “Tiny Beautiful Things,” along with Dern and Jayme Lemons’ Jaywalker Pictures, and Tigelaar and Stacey Silverman’s Best Day Ever banner.
“I have so much love and admiration for Reese. She is so committed to her big vision of telling real stories about women and girls,” Strayed said of Witherspoon’s work at Hello Sunshine. “On the micro level, [she] always committed to doing good work and leading with heart and leading with compassion and kindness. She really is such a supportive friend and a supportive producer. She has so much generosity and compassion. I can’t tell you enough about this woman who is really one of my dearest friends.”
Hello Sunshine’s Lauren Neustadter participated in a Q&A at the premiere event with Tigelaar and Strayed, which was moderated by Variety co-editor-in-chief Cynthia Littleton.
“I’m so excited for the world to see this show,” said Neustadter, joking that she hopes viewers will post photos of themselves crying on Twitter when they watch the series. “I think this show is so singular, and so beautiful and there’s so many levels and layers. It has a richness to it and I think there’s nothing like it I can’t wait for them to see it because we know how special it is. I can’t wait for the world to find out.”
The cast, including Sarah Pidgeon, Owen Painter, Tanzyn Crawford, Quentin Plair, Johnny Berchtold, Aneasa Yacoub and Michaela Watkins, mingled at the dinner soireé at the chic restaurant Hinoki & the Bird where guests nibbled on fresh, farm-to-table entrees and sipped on floral-adorned craft cocktails.
Singer-songwriter Ingrid Michaelson, who is providing the score for “Tiny Beautiful Things,” also attended the event where she said she hopes to score another television or film project, after her first experience on the Hulu show. She said that when Tigelaar called her to ask to score the show, she was pleasantly surprised and shocked, since she had never worked on project in that capacity.
Painter, one of the stars among the show’s young cast, nervously and excitedly enjoyed his first-ever red carpet premiere. Crawford spoke about the supportive vibe on set, which she described as an overwhelmingly positive tone set by the numerous female executive producers behind the scenes.
Pidgeon, who plays the younger version of Hahn’s character in the series, said on the purple carpet that she is “pinching herself” that she got to work with Hahn, and portray her character in flashbacks in the series. When asked if anyone has ever told her that she resembles Hahn in real life, she laughed: “I take it as a compliment. That’s a huge compliment. I would be honored for that to be my celebrity doppelgänger!”