Feb. 18 (UPI) -- Kerry Washington says her role in Little Fires Everywhere was a "coming of age" experience for her as a performer.
Washington, 43, discussed in an interview with Variety published Tuesday how her character in the new Hulu miniseries challenged her as an actress.
Washington plays Mia Warren, a talented and guarded artist of few words. Her co-star Reese Witherspoon described the character as "180 degrees different" from Washington's role as Olivia Pope on the ABC series Scandal, which had a seven-season run.
To portray Mia, Washington conveyed emotion through cool stares and weighty silences, rather than Olivia's fiery and dense monologues.
"My lived experience has allowed me to, in this role, feel like I could fill space without a whole song and dance," Washington said. "I spent seven years on a show filling space by doing, all the time -- and to allow for more economy and nuance and trust, it felt exciting [here]."
Little Fires Everywhere is based on the Celeste Ng novel of the same name, which centers on Mia and Elena (Witherspoon), two mothers with very different lives and views who clash in the seemingly progressive suburb of Shaker Heights, Ohio. The story explores issues of class, race, immigration and sexuality.
Washington said playing Mia as a black woman added an extra level of complexity to the character, whose race is not specified in the book. She said the cast and crew reflected on their own experiences while exploring the story's themes.
"It's very vulnerable material and work," Washington said. "We all took a lot of risks in revealing our inner lives to each other, our perspectives and our thoughts throughout the process. Not only did that vulnerability require opening up; it demanded a certain level of willingness from everyone involved to admit what they didn't know."
Little Fires Everywhere premieres March 18 on Hulu. The streaming service released a teaser trailer for the miniseries this month during the Oscars.
In the March issue of InStyle magazine, Washington discussed how she is "really, really vigilant" when it comes to her kids' privacy. The actress has two children, daughter Isabelle, 5, and son Caleb, 3, with her husband, Nnamdi Asomugha.