Portland-based writer Cheryl Strayed’s ‘Tiny Beautiful Things’ premieres as Hulu series in April
After originating as a collection of advice columns, then being adapted for the stage, Portland-based author Cheryl Strayed’s “Tiny Beautiful Things” is now coming to Hulu as a TV series. Kathryn Hahn, whose roles include playing the breakout character of Agatha Harkness in the Disney + series, “WandaVision,” stars in “Tiny Beautiful Things.”
The Hulu series is created by Liz Tigelaar, who is one of the executive producers, along with Strayed, Reese Witherspoon and Laura Dern, both of whom starred in the movie version of Strayed’s best-selling memoir, “Wild.”
Hahn will play a character named Clare, who, like Strayed when she wrote as “Dear Sugar” for The Rumpus website, is an advice columnist. The Hulu “Tiny Beautiful Things” version is described in the official synopsis this way: “When we first meet Clare, her marriage to her husband Danny (Quentin Plair) is on its last leg. Her daughter, Rae, will barely talk to her. And her once-promising writing career is non-existent. So when an old writing friend suggests she take over as the advice columnist Dear Sugar, she thinks she’s the last person for the job. But after reluctantly agreeing, she realizes that she might just be completely qualified. As the letter writers force Clare to revisit her most pivotal moments – the death of her mother, the fallout with her brother, even some awful sex in the back office of a funeral home – she excavates the beauty, struggle and humor in her own life to show us that we are not beyond rescue, that it’s our stories that can ultimately save us. And maybe even bring us back home.”
The series doesn’t exactly mirror Strayed’s life, but it includes details that will be familiar to those who read “Wild,” or saw the 2014 movie. During a presentation for the series at the Television Critics Association winter press tour in January, Strayed said that Clare wasn’t going to be her, exactly, “but many of her experiences had to be mine.”
For example, Strayed said, “She had to have a mother who died young of cancer, who got married young and then divorced. She had to grow up in a rural environment like I did. Those are the things that made me, those are the things that make Clare. So those are the pieces that come from my life.”
In Hulu’s “Tiny Beautiful Things,” some scenes will feature a young Clare (played by Sarah Pidgeon), and her mother, Frankie (played by Merritt Wever). In the movie version of “Wild,” Witherspoon played Strayed, and Dern played the writer’s late mother, Bobbi.
The “Tiny Beautiful Things” cast also includes Quentin Plair as Clare’s husband, Danny, and Tanzyn Crawford as the couple’s daughter, Rae. The Hulu series comes after the book has been adapted for the stage by Nia Vardalos, and follows an earlier announcement that Strayed, Witherspoon and Dern had signed a deal with HBO to develop “Tiny Beautiful Things” into a TV series.
All eight, half-hour episodes of “Tiny Beautiful Things,” which is being described as a limited series, will begin streaming April 7, on Hulu.