Hulu’s television adaptation of Celeste Ng’s best selling book, Little Fires Everywhere, is a truly fantastic exposition of prejudice, wealth, privilege, and motherhood. It’s also a giant dose of nostalgia for anyone who was a teenager in the late 1990s. From the Alanis Morissette infused soundtrack, to tartan curtains and butterfly hair clips, Little Fires Everywhere is a time capsule of our youth.
As perfectly cast as Little Fires Everywhere is – and it truly is, Reese Witherspoon and Kerry Washington are electric on screen together – as a person who was 13 in 1997, I had a thought. Who would have played these roles if it had actually been filmed back when AOL came on a CD-Rom?
It’s time to fancast like it’s 1997.
Angel Bassett as Mia Warren
In 2020, Kerry Washington plays single-mother/artist with a secret past, Mia Warren, like someone who would simultaneously terrify me and make me want to impress her. You know who would have nailed that in 1997? Angela mother-effing Basset. Imagine her testifying in the courtroom at Bebe’s trial. I’d set up the double VCR to record that.
Michelle Pfieiffer as Elena Richardson
Reese Witherspoon has the privileged, white savior, PTA mom schtick locked down tight these days; but, back in 1997 Michelle Pfieffer would have been all anyone could talk about. She would have played Elena Richardson as both perfectly put together and unhinged. Just like any rich white mom on the brink of the Clinton scandal.
Greg Kinnear as Bill Richardson
Joshua Jackson got all of our hearts racing in his tighty-whities in a way that only 1997 Greg Kinnear could have pulled off. Something tells me that 2020 is the year Hanes underwear gets its groove back.
Brandy as Pearl Warren
Lexie Underwood played Pearl Warren perfectly, but do you know who would have graced our tiny TVs from the depths of giant wooden armoire? Brandy.
Justin Timberlake as Moody Richardson
I don’t know if the people who cast actor Gavin Lewis as Moody Richardson meant to cast Justin Timberlake’s doppelganger, but well done. No one wears those crunchy ramen noodle curls like our man, JT.
Danielle Fishel as Lexie Richardson
There honestly isn’t any other actress from the late 90’s who I can imagine playing picture perfect, Yale bound, total disaster in secret, Lexie Richardson. Mr. Sweeney would be proud.
Heath Ledger as Tripp Richardson
Could 1997 Heath Ledger convincingly speak with an American accent? Nope. Could he have convincingly played a nice, hot jock that you’d definitely risk your friendship with his brother for? You better believe it.
Kirsten Dunst as Izzy Richardson
If you needed to cast a deceptively cute teen who you could also envision burning her family home down, Kirsten Dunst circa 1997 was your girl. Actually Kirsten Dunst circa any year seems like she could burn some ish down. She definitely used a hair dryer to make her eyeliner extra smudgy.
I need to go check on my Tamagotchi, but let’s talk in the comments about who you’d cast in Little Fires Everywhere if it was 1997.
Heidi is currently obsessed with watching people make bad decisions on TV, being a coastal elite, artificially avoiding any sign of aging, reading feminist romance novels, and getting the biggest laugh at her own expense. She has a husband, 3 kids, a dog and anxiety.