Little Fires Everywhere star Kerry Washington has revealed why she and Reese Witherspoon had to use a "safety word" on set.
For the Hulu drama, which is adapted from Celeste Ng's best-selling novel of the same name, Washington and Witherspoon had to film some tense exchanges together, playing suburban rivals Mia Warren and Elena Richardson respectively.
But while they continuously found ways to push each other on set, primarily by saying shocking things that weren't in the script, they never allowed things to go too far.
"There was a lot of safety, and I mean, what we did often was play off camera," Washington told Entertainment Weekly.
"Part of what you're seeing is that there was safety to really push each other, so when you see that transformation happen on Reese's face, I was not saying the things that you're hearing on screen. I was saying other things to try to help her drop into that moment.
"And she would do the same for me," she continued. "And you can only do that in really safe relationships and safe environments.
"I remember saying to Lexi Underwood's [who played Mia's daughter Pearl] mom, 'I'm going to push her,' and to Lexi, 'I'm going to push you. I'm going to say things to you that are not in the script. We need a safety word.'"
She continued: "'If it goes too far, if I've gone to a place that it's no longer okay, you need to let me know, but I'm going to take you outside your comfort zone, because these characters are not comfortable, and we're going to have to surprise each other with the capacity of what we're able to express.'"
"Reese and I, we knew. We're both producers, so if it went beyond, we could say, 'Thank you very much. No more.' But we would play."
Little Fires Everywhere aired on Hulu in the US and UK viewers can now watch season one on Amazon Prime.
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