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story.lead_photo.caption Sean Clancy, Paper Trails columnist

An Arkansas actress is bringing a spark to Little Fires Everywhere, the new Hulu series starring Reese Witherspoon and Kerry Washington.

Sixteen-year-old Megan Stott of Fayetteville plays Izzy, the troubled, rebellious daughter of fiercely Type-A mom Elena Richardson (Witherspoon) in the tense drama that explores race, class, secrets and family.

Stott's character is a major part of the series. The first episode opens with the Richardsons' house burning to the ground from an apparent arson, and Izzy is the primary suspect.

"I love Izzy," Stott said last week from Fayetteville, where she is staying close to home amid the coronavirus outbreak. "Playing a character so different from myself is interesting. I haven't found a reason to feel that side of myself, and being able to feel it through someone else was a motivating and challenging thing to do."

The series, based on the 2017 novel by Celeste Ng (yes, Stott read it), is set in 1997 and revolves around the seemingly picture-perfect Richardson family in tranquil Shaker Heights, Ohio, and their relationship with newly arrived single mom and artist Mia Warren (Washington) and her daughter, Pearl (Lexi Underwood).

"It's about the powerful pull of motherhood -- the mother you have or the mother you long for," says Stott, who has been acting since she was 10 and recently completed her first feature film, Yes Day, with Jennifer Garner.

In a review of the first episode, Saloni Gajjar of avclub.com wrote: "Megan Stott and Lexi Underwood as Izzy and Pearl are shaping up to be the breakout cast members."

Working alongside heavyweights like Washington and Witherspoon was quite an experience, says Stott, a student at Fayetteville Virtual Academy who splits her time between Fayetteville and Los Angeles.

"There were a lot of complicated emotions that they were able to help with. I loved working with them, and I hope I get to work with them again."

Witherspoon and Washington are executive producers of the series, which also features women directors and writers.

"With a majority of writers that are female and an all-female producer room, it's incredible to see how the production reflects the characters in the book in such an authentic way," Stott says.

The first four episodes are streaming, with the remaining four airing each Wednesday until April 22.

Stott, whose parents are Phillip and Rhonda Stott, has been watching the series with her family, which includes two older brothers, a younger brother and a dog named Leeloo (after Milla Jovovich's character in The Fifth Element).

"I think it can help people who are stuck at home to have a show they can relate to and watch," she says. "I hope it sparks conversation between kids and parents."

email: [email protected]

SundayMonday on 03/29/2020

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