It’s the start of a New Year, and time for us to look back on Reese’s dynamic 2016 and look forward to what she’ll be offering in 2017. On the surface 2016 was a relatively quiet year for Reese, but behind the scenes it seemed as if she’d been working in overdrive! She made a few red carpet and magazine cover appearances, but Reese’s 2016 seemed to have been focused on her Draper James company and developing strong roles for women in film through her production company Pacific Standard. 💛
The start of the year bought us Reese on the cover of Harper’s Bazaar, in a gorgeous, feminine new photoshoot and an interview in which she chatted to the magazine about Draper James and her career. She echoed similar sentiments about improving the image of women in film to Entertainment Weekly magazine, in a ‘beyond beautiful’ spread also including Kerry Washington, Eva Longoria, and Elizabeth Banks. The interview touched on topics from social media to their diverse careers, and the pretty but simplistic photoshoot complemented the meaningful nature of the interview.
Reese’s major public appearance at the start of the year was at the Oscars. She wore a gorgeous purple gown by Oscar de la Renta, with Jimmy Choo shoes and jewellry from Tiffany’s. Her husband accompanied her on the red carpet, and inside the ceremony she introduced clips from two of the Best Picture nominees with her friend Kate Winslet. Reese’s stylist Leslie Fremar explained the choices behind Reese’s dress: “Last week, it was lavender. We remade it in a darker purple because we thought it was really fresh and looked beautiful with her skin tone. The shape of the fan was really different and something I hadn’t seen before, and the black corset was really sexy. We didn’t want to compete with how beautiful, but simple, the dress was.”
Project-wise, Reese filmed her HBO mini-series Big Little Lies in California in the early stages of the year.
In March, Reese celebrated her 40th birthday with a big party with some special guests. Friends including Taylor Swift, Kate Hudson, Isla Fisher, Courteney Cox, Laura Dern, Cheryl Strayed, Chelsea Handler, Nicole Kidman, Olivia Munn, Sarah Paulson, Mindy Kaling, Elizabeth Banks, Chris Martin, Jason Bateman, and Conan O’Brien all celebrated with Reese, and Keith Urban and Taylor Swift provided the entertainment, including a very special guest singer:
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Reese relished celebrating a new decade, telling Harper’s Bazaar: “In my 20s, I was scared of everything. I didn’t know what my career was. I didn’t know why people liked my movies. I was wary of interacting with people. I was 25 when Legally Blonde came out, 26 for Sweet Home Alabama, and 29 for Walk the Line. And I was scared, really scared. Now I feel like a different person. It’s a great thing getting older. You are who you are; you say what you mean.”
In February, Reese spoke to Harper’s Bazaar magazine about what drove her to want to improve the roles for women in films – “There was a point, around 2011, there were like five actresses that I admire very much and they all called me and said, ‘There’s this role of this girlfriend in this movie,’ which was kind of just a terrible movie. And we’re all kind of clamoring for this terrible part? We are so much better than this.”
This set the precedent for the year, and almost every month news broke about Reese optioning rights to turn a female-driven book into a film. “I certainly can’t star in all these movies,” she clarified, adding that “I want to get a female perspective on film that would make my daughter [Ava] understand what it means to be a woman in a different way.” Reese has numerous producing projects lined up now, including further work with Nicole Kidman, and now Naomi Watts – Reese is clearly enjoying getting to work with her friends and other driven female forces in the entertainment industry.
However, September saw the announcement that Reese and her producing partner Bruna Papandrea were to part ways. Reese said in a statement “I’m very proud of the projects that Bruna and I have produced together. Bruna is a hard-working, extremely talented producer. I’m happy to further collaborate with her on the strong slate of Pacific Standard properties.” Reese was to retain control of Pacific Standard. The two have a number of projects already in development that they will continue to work on together, though.
Reese continued to develop her Draper James line in 2016. She promoted it in the May issue of Oprah Winfrey’s O magazine – the spread highlighted numerous items and outfits from the range, and Reese spoke to the magazine about the history behind the brand and how her Southern family helped influence it. She opened her second Draper James store – this time in Dallas – in September, and held a party to promote it. “I have never felt more welcome in a city in my entire life. I think I’ve been hugged more times today than the entire time I’ve lived in L.A. You know when you have a party and you have that fear no one will come? That’s not tonight.” Always one to do a job properly, Reese was involved in the designing of the store, and had specific ideas of what she wanted – “I wanted the store to embody the graciousness of southern culture with traditional elements like wallpaper and moldings, but also have a contemporary feel with light fixtures and art. It was important that the store felt like people were walking into my own home.”
She has continued to develop this niche, and in October it was announced that Reese was going to be writing her own “Southern influence lifestyle book”. The book will contain photographs and essays of people and places that have influenced her, and is expected to be released in 2018. “I’m thrilled to be writing my first book with Touchstone. It’s a unique opportunity for me to share funny anecdotes about my Southern upbringing and give people a glimpse into my idea of Southern living,” Reese said. Reese is clearly keen to dominate numerous media fields, and towards the end of 2016 news broke of Reese launching a multimedia brand targeting women. The project, entitled Hello Sunshine, will launch in 2017 and will provide female-driven content across all media platforms, from daily social and short form digital content to television shows and motion pictures. Hello Sunshine will also have its own channel on DirecTV next year with exclusive content.
Several actresses, including Kerry Washington, Rose Byrne, and Modern Family star Julie Bowen have spoken about their admiration for Reese and how they have turned to her for both family and business advice.
Reese continued to embrace social media in 2016, and delighted fans with celebrating Legally Blonde’s 15th anniversary on her official accounts. She dusted off her old outfits from the film and filmed herself wearing them for fans, as well as reciting some classic lines from the film:
Reese did a Facebook Live chat in August, and chatted casually about a range of topics including the tpotential for sequels to both Legally Blonde and Sweet Home Alabama. She has allowed fans to take a glimpse into her life through social media, and has spoken more about her kids in interviews this year than previously. Social media went wild each time Reese posted snaps of her and daughter Ava, as the two looked remarkanly similar – something Reese said she and Ava don’t see! Reese said she looks to Ava for fashion advice, “We try to kind of confer about new styles. She tells me whether or not I can wear things,” but added that she knows her fashion limits, saying “I have a rule that if my teenage daughter is wearing it, I’m not supposed to be wearing it”.
Reese has signed on for a couple of new film projects this year. Her involvement in Home Again was announced in August, and Reese began filming that movie later on in the year. The film is writtten and directed by Hallie Meyers-Shyer (daughter of Nancy Meyers and Charles Shyer) and tells the story of a recently separated mother of two whose new life in Los Angeles is overturned when she decides to take in three young, charismatic guys who become part of her unconventional family.
Soon after this announcement followed something completely new for Reese – A Wrinkle In Time, a family adventure fantasy film based on the popular book of the same name. The story follows children as they travel through time and visit strange worlds in order to find their missing scientist father. Directed by Ava Duvernay, it co-stars Oprah Winfrey and Reese’s friend Mindy Kaling. It will film in 2017 and then be released on April 6th 2018.
Reese’s one and only film release of the year was Sing, an animated musical comedy about singing animals, from the producer of the popular Despicable Me series. Reese voiced Rosita the pig, a hard-working mum of 25 piglets who loves to sing, and her co-star included Matthew McConaughey, Scarlett Johansson, Tori Kelly, Taron Egerton, and Nick Kroll. In the film, Reese sings Taylor Swift, Katy Perry and Bananarama songs, and said that the film gave her a new-found appreciation for how hard pop singers work! She compared the singing she did in Walk The Line to Sing, saying that the country music in Walk The Line came more naturally to her. Director Garth Jenkins describes Rosita as “bright, energetic, deals with everything at home, climbs on top of every situation she gets into, and sings very sweetly,” adding that casting Reese for this role “felt like a no-brainer”.
Reese and her co-stars premiered the film at the Toronto Film Festival in September, and then a full promotional tour happened in December prior to the films Christmas opening. Reese attended the LA premiere for the film, and made appearances on The Ellen Show, The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, and The Today Show. The film gained mixed reviews but since its release on December 21st it has made an estimated $277,801,490 worldwide, surpassing its $75m budget.
….and in 2017…
… Reese’s HBO mini-series Big Littles Lies will premiere on February 19th. The subversive, darkly comedic drama tells the tale of three mothers of first graders whose apparently perfect lives unravel to the point of murder. Reese plays Madeline, a ‘whirlwind of energy and good intentions’, and co-stars alongside Shailene Woodley and Nicole Kidman. Reese and Nicole also co-produced the project.
We’ll also see the launch of Hello Sunshine, the release of Home Again, and undoubtedly countless more producing projects. Reese has surprised us this year with the extent to which she is developing her passion for creating female-driven roles in media, and her influence is sure to increase in 2017. As for Glamour Reese Witherspoon, we aim to complete our Gallery and then work on an extensive career section and building up a large video collection!
We’d like to take this opportunity to thank all our visitors for their support in 2016, and we hope you’ll stick with us to follow all of Reese’s latest movements in the year ahead!
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