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'Tiny Beautiful Things' Star Sarah Pidgeon Shares Roles With Kathryn Hahn: 'We Developed Physics Vocabulary'

On filming day Tiny Beautiful Things, the cast convened a workshop led by acting trainer Kim Gillingham , he also consulted with Honey Boy and King Richard. Timeline-hopping Hulu shows require multiple performers to play each role, so finding a consistent tone is critical. Through a sort of actor alchemy, Sarah Pidgeon realized that she and Katherine Hahn — both of whom played Claire Pierce, akin to writer Cheryl Strayed — were cultivating a symbiotic relationship that even They didn’t share the scene.

“Kathryn and I have had completely different life experiences,” Pidgeon said. “But by engaging ourselves, there’s one thing in common – the fire element that Claire has, whether she’s or 49. We developed a physical vocabulary.”

That word comes through in tactile form. When Claire is anxious or annoyed, she rubs her breasts—a position also adopted by Claire’s well-meaning mom, Merritt Weaver. It’s a subtle detail, but it adds credibility to a poignant limited series based on Strayed’s eponymous collection of essays. In today’s storyline, Claire still misses her mom who died of cancer 27. In Before she started writing the anonymous online advice column Dear Sugar, her marriage and professional life were stressful. In flashbacks, Pidgeon is tasked with portraying Claire’s deep relationship with her mother and her reaction to the earth-shattering news that the latter will not live long.

Pidgeon’s years of admiration for Hahn came in handy. Year-olds are familiar with Hahn’s ebullient screen persona, and with her Similarities help Pidgeon with this part. She’s grown used to fruitless auditions, but this one feels special. In addition to Hahn and Strayed, the show is backed by Reese Witherspoon’s production company, Hello Sunshine, which also adapted Strayed’s best-selling memoir Wild.

Tiny Beautiful Things, developed and co-authored by Liz Tigelaar, can be read as wild, but it exists in a separate universe. “According to Liz, this would have happened if Cheryl hadn’t hiked the Pacific Coast Trail,” Pidgeon said. “It’s its own thing, but reading these texts is unbelievably inspiring. Cheryl was very generous in taking the time to talk to me.”

Merritt Wever left and Sarah Pidgeon on Hulu’s limited series Tiny Beautiful Things

Merritt Wever (left) and Sarah Pidgeon in limited series on Hulu MediumTiny Beautiful Things Jessica Brooks/Hulu

Pidgeon’s acting pursuits began at Michigan nonprofit Interlochen Center for the Arts, where she Attended summer camp. After 1000 graduating with a theater degree from Carnegie Mellon University, she moved to New York to find a career. Things are moving slowly. But Pidgeon was featured on Gotham and Paramount+ thriller One Dollar and then Prime Video’s The wilderness. The show’s plane crash plot never achieved the popularity of Yellowjackets, but it still provided a decent foothold in the industry.

Pidgeon recently completed Vertical film Lazareth, starring Ashley Judd , playing an isolationist trying to protect her orphaned niece. For Pidgeon, the influence of Tiny Beautiful Things is still strong. “It really made me confront my life and the emotions I was carrying,” she said.

This story first appeared in June’s Independent Hollywood Reporter magazine issue. To receive the magazine, 02201 click here to subscribe .



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