In a new interview with emmy magazine the two stars reveal that as they read and prepared for the new series, which was inspired by Celeste Ng's book of the same title, they began to realize they were channeling women they're very close to: their own mothers. "I don't know why it never occurred to us until we were almost into production," Witherspoon tells the publication. "I was like, 'I'm playing [my mother] Betty!'"
Upon coming to the realization, they decided to lean into it, rather than seek new sources of inspiration. After all, their mothers knew what it was like to raise teen girls in the '90s.
For Washington, her mother Valeria also offered some insight into what it meant to be a woman of color in the '90s. She explained her mother, a professor, would have different answers depending on the person who asked her about where she's from. It would either be, "I'm from New York," "I'm from the Bronx" or "I'm from the South Bronx."