First Look at Hulu’s Romantic New Reality Drama ‘Love in Fairhope’!

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From Reese Witherspoon’s Hello Sunshine company and producers of Vanderpump Rules comes a romance-led new Hulu unscripted series, entitled Love in Fairhope, that follows five women at different stages of their lives in the picturesque coastal town of Fairhope, Alabama. The show premieres Sept 27 on Hulu and Heather Graham narrates their journeys.

The cast features Abby Mannich, who moved back from New York and has an old flame in her sights. Homecoming queen and college grad Mya Jo Williams sees a new love interest come into the picture. LaShoundra Young and her longtime pastor husband have hit a rough patch and are going through their issues. Olivia Ogletree comes from Fairhope real estate royalty is exploring her own relationship prospects. Unofficial matriarch of the town Claiborne Walsh was married for 54 years until her husband passed away and is now trying to move forward.

“Multi-generation was very important for us to capture,” showrunner Lauren Weber explained. “Most shows are told through one lens of a generation, especially love. We wanted the big takeaway to be with any age, love is possible.”

Showrunner Lauren Weber further delves into the series and the process of finding the women featured.

Why was this particular town chosen? 

Lauren Weber: When I originally came up with the concept, I knew the town was really important. I did research for about a year before I landed on Fairhope. First I ended up narrowing it down from Alabama. I took a road trip for a week looking at small towns, landscapes, and interconnectivity. You feel that there would be a lot of towns, but actually it’s pretty unique. I stumbled upon Fairhope as an accident. It wasn’t on my list, but it’s just breathtaking. Magical. Everyone knows each other. Everyone looks like a Hallmark character. It’s one of the most unique towns I’ve ever seen.

Talk a bit about the casting process. 

I worked with a great producer who is incredible at casting. We came up with archetypes in the minds of romantic movies we’ve seen. The girl that left and came back. The young woman is in love with her best friend. We started asking around if anyone knew anyone like this. It was serendipitous. We did camera tests early on through Zoom and hired this incredible wedding videographer that we ended up hiring for our show. He put them on camera where we knew they had it.

Was there any pushback from the town who love their tight-knit community and were worried that the attention from this show could change that? 

I was actually surprised at how little resistance we had. I think this is a town where Instagram isn’t at the center of things. Fame isn’t sought after. I was pleasantly surprised how the people we approached saw it as a really unique opportunity to star in essentially the movie version of their life. They knew we wouldn’t be a traditional docusoap. It was very collaborative from the beginning. They’ve taken a big part in their story. The town has been amazing. They love TV. Of course, it’s a small traditional town where they don’t want an influx of spotlight. However, I have found them to be collaborative and helpful. I actually live there now.

So you moved there after working on this project? 

I fell in love with the place. I moved from L.A. There is really nothing like it. I sold my place in New York and bought an acre of land.

You have Heather Graham providing the narration. How was it having her involved? 

I’ve been such a fan of her work for so long. It was a no-brainer. We put the episodes in front of her, and she loved it. She really had fun with the script. It felt organic. Everyone knows her name. She is such an icon in the industry for women and brings such a nostalgic feel to it. It just felt right.

What can you tell us about how it was shot? It’s kind of like this reality show but has the look of a film or scripted TV show. 

I self-financed the pilot. Wedding videos now are like movies. They are beautiful. So I saw the work of this wedding photographer on Instagram. He shot the pilot. It was incredible. He hadn’t done TV before, which I liked. He thinks outside the box….We knew the show would look different with him at the helm he is also local too, which we love.

How would you describe the women featured? Each is at a different phase of life but can relate to what they go through in terms of love. 

Claiborne gets dumped on a text and catfished. That’s what Abby is going through. We liked that commonality. Claiborne is the older, wiser, woman who has experienced true love. To see her put herself out there and look for love in a different form is interesting.

It’s also her and her girlfriends who are like the Golden Girls. LaShoundra represents the woman who always did the right thing. She is questioning what she really wants, being middle-aged, which I think is relatable. Then there is the sort of, “Can you really walk away from true love and what can you forgive? “ Abby is every woman.  I feel like she is so fun because she is a hopeless romantic, and denies she is a hopeless romantic. She is so likable and relatable. You want to root for her because she deserves the best. She represented a lot of women at that age.

Olivia was really important for us because we really wanted a diversified cast. We wanted to show an LGBTQ story. We wanted to show that small-town communities like Fairhope are very open-minded. Her struggle in her relationship was more about will they or wouldn’t they have children. I think that is a relatable story. Mya Jo is young and doesn’t know what love is and trying to figure out who she is. I love first loves because I think that’s sometimes the best love you’ll ever have. I think she represents that magical time in life where everything feels like you’re on top of the world.

Did the women bond over this? 

They did. They all kind of knew each other but we didn’t want an ensemble-type show because we’ve seen that before. It was important to show their independent worlds with their generational overlapping. They are very close and loved going through this experience together.

If the show is successful, do you see yourself sticking to these women for season 2? 

I love these women. I hope the audience can find themselves in each one of them. I hope to add more stories. Our hope is to spin off to other small towns too because there are so many small-town love stories to tell.

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Chiara

Source: TV Insider

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