Reese Witherspoon Knows Rom-Coms Need an Image Makeover
Romantic-comedy heroines can seldom have it all. They’re either professionally successful and unlucky in love, or great with the kids and unfulfilled at work or in the bedroom.
But in “Home Again,” a comedy due Sept. 8, Reese Witherspoon is a walking empowerment meme, complete with a wardrobe of pristine white blazers: she’s a newly separated 40-year-old, the mother of two precocious girls who starts a promising career as an interior decorator and shacks up with a hot 27-year-old.
“It never would have even crossed my mind that she couldn’t be all those things,” the writer-director Hallie Meyers-Shyer said, adding, “That wasn’t my experience growing up.”
Ms. Meyers-Shyer, 30, is the daughter of two filmmakers: Nancy Meyers (“It’s Complicated”) and Charles Shyer (“Baby Boom”). She spent her formative years on movie sets, before making her directing debut with “Home Again.” (Nancy Meyers served as executive producer.)
“In certain ways, Hallie knows more about the movie business than I do,” Ms. Witherspoon said.
Ms. Witherspoon, 41, has lately taken a big leap as a filmmaker herself, starting a production company to focus on projects led by women, with hits like “Wild,” “Gone Girl” and, earlier this year, the HBO mini-series “Big Little Lies,” about mothers in wealthy Monterey, Calif., that starred Ms. Witherspoon and Nicole Kidman, among others. (A follow-up is being discussed with Liane Moriarty, the author of the novel on which it’s based, Ms. Witherspoon said.)
Speaking by phone from her Los Angeles home — and pausing briefly to greet Tennessee, the youngest of her three children — she spoke passionately about the changing roles for women on screen and how she wants to be a part of that change. These are edited excerpts from the conversation.
Reese appeared on ‘Chelsea’, Chelsea Handler’s weekly Netflix show, yesterday to promote Home Again. She also chatted about Big Little Lies, her producing work, her upcoming show with Jennifer Aniston, her love of dogs, and being a responsible adult! It’s a really fun interview! Below is a video of the full interview and I’ve added HD screencaptures to our Gallery:
Reese Witherspoon Extends Overall Deal With ABC Studios
Reese Witherspoon is extending her overall deal with ABC Studios for another year through her new company, Hello Sunshine. Under the pact, Witherspoon and Hello Sunshine’s head of film and television Lauren Levy Neustadter will develop comedy and drama TV projects for the studio.
Witherspoon previously had an overall deal at ABC Studios though Pacific Standard, the production company she co-founded with Bruna Papandrea. The pact yielded multiple sales and an ABC drama pilot in 2016 written by Meaghan Oppenheimer. Papandrea exited the company last year to start a new venture.
Witherspoon, who recently executive produced and starred in HBO’s buzzy limited series Big Little Lies, is repped by CAA, LBI, and Hansen Jacobson.
August 28, 2017 • Category: Pacific Standard, Role Rumors •
Comments Off on Westboro Baptist Church Movie in the Works From Marc Webb, Nick Hornby
Westboro Baptist Church Movie in the Works From Marc Webb, Nick Hornby
Reese Witherspoon and Bruna Papandrea are attached to produce the film, entitled ‘This Above All.’
Marc Webb is set to direct the feature film This Above All, based on the life of Megan Phelps-Roper, a former member of the hate-mongering Westboro Baptist Church.
Nick Hornby will pen the screenplay from a New Yorker article by Adrian Chen and Phelps-Roper’s upcoming memoir.
Phelps-Roper is the granddaughter of the famous founder of the Kansas-based church, which is known for picketing everything from sporting events to military funerals and protesting the LGBT community, Islam and politicians, among many other groups. She became one of the most powerful voices for WBC via social media, until her ongoing conversations with opponents over Twitter led her to question her belief system. Eventually, she and her younger sister made the decision to leave the Church — and therefore become disowned by their family.
Dawn Ostroff and Jeremy Steckler will produce for Conde Nast Entertainment, along with Webb. Bruna Papandrea, Reese Witherspoon and Bill Pohlad of River Road Entertainment, who previously worked with Hornby on the film adaption of Wild, will also produce.
River Road will finance This Above All. The deal was negotiated by CAA.
“When we read the New Yorker article about Megan’s incredible journey, we knew that it was the perfect fit for CNE’s film group,” stated Ostroff and Steckler. “Marc and Nick both have a powerful vision of how to tell Megan’s story and we are very happy to be partnered with Reese, Bruna and Bill, who understand the importance of bringing this project to the big screen.”
Webb recently helmed the Amazon feature The Only Living Boy in New York and the Chris Evans starrer Gifted, and is set to direct the pilot for CBS’ Instinct based on the James Patterson novel. He is repped by CAA, Anonymous and Lichter Grossman.
Hornby, who last worked on the Oscar contender Brooklyn, is repped by Casarotto Ramsay.
Reese is gracing the cover of the September issue of Southern Living magazine! In the interview she talks about Draper James and her influences for this brand, her family life, and briefly about Big Little Lies and some of her favourite actresses work on screen. The interview is accompanied by a beautiful, laid back photoshoot showcasing items from Draper James.
Read the article and watch behind the scenes videos within this post, and find the photoshoot in our Gallery. We’ll have scans for you asap…
Reese Witherspoon’s Southern Charm
The Nashville native opens up to Julia Reed about family, her favorite hometown foods, and the Southern women who have inspired her every step of the way
What did you do for Mother’s Day?
We had lots of people over for lunch, including Laura Dern [Witherspoon’s close friend and costar in Wild and Big Little Lies] and her mom, [actress] Diane Ladd, who has become friends with my mom. It’s pretty cute—they really love each other and talk all the time. They’re even planning on taking a road trip together!
In my family, we say, “It doesn’t have to be true to be told.” At lunch, my mom was telling a story about when I moved out here and how she found my apartment and paid for it. I said, “Mom, you know none of that’s true, right?” I found my own apartment, and she did not do any of it! But most of the time, I don’t even bother to interrupt…I think there’s nothing better than a Southern person as they age. The stories get better and better and less and less true.
You often visit Nashville, where you’ve said you’re “so much more relaxed.” But Nashville is not nearly as relaxed—or sleepy— as it was when you were growing up there. How has it changed?
Lately, Nashville has experienced a lot more commerce, a lot of growth, and a lot of new ideas, which is awesome. And you can’t throw a rock without hitting some new culinary surprise. I like Hattie B’s Hot Chicken. Edley’s Bar-B-Que has great fried okra, one of my favorite foods. City House and Rolf and Daughters are really good, and Josephine is great for brunch. Five Daughters Bakery has the best doughnuts, and if we want a meat ’n’ three, we go to Swett’s Restaurant.
Nicole Kidman, Reese Witherspoon and ‘Big Little Lies’ Stars Detail Show’s ‘Tricky’ Journey
A version of this story on “Big Little Lies” first appeared in the Down to the Wire issue of TheWrap’s Emmy magazine.
Four lead women in “Big Little Lies,” the HBO miniseries based on Liane Moriarty‘s book, all landed Emmy nominations, Nicole Kidman and Reese Witherspoon in the lead category and Laura Dern and Shailene Woodley in supporting. (Zoë Kravitz, the last of the main actresses, was left out.)
Dern, Woodley and actors/executive producers Kidman and Witherspoon described the rare experience of making the miniseries, which starts with a murder investigation and then slowly unveils victim, murderer and motive over 10 episodes. Alexander Skarsgard, who plays Kidman’s emotionally and physically abusive husband, was also nominated — but these conversation were about the women at the center of the miniseries.
REESE WITHERSPOON I found the manuscript and sent it to Nicole, and we decided to do the project together. She met with Liane Moriarty first and got the rights, and then we got David Kelly. And then Jean-Marc Vallee came on.
NICOLE KIDMAN For me, it was the complication of the women, and the strength of their stories, and the fact that it focused on the female relationships and was told primarily through the female point of view. That’s why the book was so appealing. And it seemed to warrant being told, because amidst the entertainment of it, underneath were issues that were incredibly topical and relevant and real.
WITHERSPOON We had to decide, Is it a miniseries or a movie? And we decided it would be better to do this for television. If we had done it as a two-hour movie, it might have been about two of the women, not all five.
KIDMAN I think it would be strange if Reese and I produced something that was all men. Don’t we have enough of those? So it was very important for us to throw our weight behind finding these great female roles, and calling our friends and people we admire. That was the glorious part of it.
August 17, 2017 • Category: "Big Little Lies", Career, News & Gossip •
Comments Off on Nicole Kidman, Ava DuVernay and Reese Witherspoon to Host Variety’s Television Nominees Celebration
Nicole Kidman, Ava DuVernay and Reese Witherspoon to Host Variety’s Television Nominees Celebration
Variety has announced the host committee for the annual Variety & Women in Film Television Nominees Celebration, which will take place Friday, Sept. 15 at Gracias Madre in West Hollywood.
The cast of “Big Little Lies” will make a big showing at the event, with Laura Dern, Reese Witherspoon, and Nicole Kidman all part of the committee. Emmy-nominated actresses Thandie Newton of “Westworld” and Claire Foy of “The Crown” will also make appearances, as well as Ava DuVernay, who received three Emmy nominations this year, and network and streaming executives like Mike Hopkins, CEO of Hulu and Ted Sarandos, Chief Content Officer at Netflix. Lena Waithe, who became the first black woman to be nominated for outstanding writing for a comedy series this year for “Master of None,” will also attend.
“We are excited to be partnering once again with Women In Film on our annual party that celebrates all the inspiring work female actors, executives, directors and writers have accomplished this year in television,” said Debra Birnbaum, executive editor of television at Variety. “This has truly been a groundbreaking year, as reflected by the Emmy nominations.”
“It has been an exciting season for female-centered television — in front of and behind the camera — with three women nominated for directing drama series,” added Kirsten Schaffer, executive director of Women in Film. “We are thrilled to be partnered with Variety once again to honor all of the female nominees as we continue to work toward achieving gender-parity in Hollywood.”
The Hollywood Reporter have published a fantastic interview with Reese in which she talks in depth about her entire career – from the early days of advertising campaigns, to her 90’a movies Fear, Twilight, Election, moving onto Legally Blonde, Sweet Home Alabama and Vanity Fair, Oscars days of Walk The Line, her low patch of 2008-2012, then moving into producing Wild and Gone Girl, and the process of Big Little Lies. This is a must-listen!
‘Awards Chatter’ Podcast — Reese Witherspoon (‘Big Little Lies’)
‘America’s Sweetheart’ reflects on becoming an A-list superstar, hitting a terrible slump during which she was declared a ‘has-been’ and then reinventing herself as an actress/producer and Oprah-like champion of great books.
“I won the Oscar and I felt really confused about what to do next,” Reese Witherspoon confesses, in reference to her 2006 best actress victory for playing June Carter Cash in Walk the Line, as we sit down at the Formosa Recording Studio in Santa Monica to record an episode of The Hollywood Reporter’s ‘Awards Chatter’ podcast. “I had paralysis — Oscar-induced paralysis,” she adds, along with her trademark giggle. “You don’t know what to do!” For Witherspoon, who had been on Hollywood’s A-list since 2001’s Legally Blonde, it marked the beginning of several years of personal and professional frustration, during which some began to write her off. “Someone in The New Yorker said that I was ‘a has-been’ or my career was over, and I remember thinking — how old was I in 2012, like 36? — I was like, ‘Wow, that’s brutal!’ That really bugged me.” But what no one, including Witherspoon, could have known — or even imagined — at that time was that her best days still were ahead of her, and that by 2017, she not only would have re-established herself as one of the most popular and respected actresses in the business (picking up an Oscar nom for 2014’s Wild and an Emmy nom for 2017’s Big Little Lies), but also as an Oscar- and Emmy-nominated producer (for those same two projects) wielding influence in the literary community not unlike that of Oprah Winfrey.
Witherspoon was born in New Orleans to a father who served in the Air Force and a mother who was a delivery nurse. The family moved around, but ultimately settled in Nashville, where their precocious young “type A” daughter soon began taking acting lessons and appearing in advertisements and commercials, landing a local agent at the age of 12. At 14, during the summer before starting high school, she found her first starring role in a movie, Robert Mulligan’s 1991 film The Man in the Moon. Even before the film’s release, her screen test went viral, and she quickly became in-demand. Throughout high school, she would work during the summers. She then starred in 1996’s Freeway, turning in a performance that “got a lot of attention,” during a gap-year before enrolling at Stanford; but she then spent just seven months at Stanford before irresistible film offers led her to move to Los Angeles and focus full-time on her career.
As a young-adult actress, Witherspoon gave memorable performances in strong films like Gary Ross’ Pleasantville (1998), as a nineties girl who finds herself in the fifties, and Alexander Payne’s Election (1999), as an ambitious and calculating high school student who “became a political archetype.” Then, in 2001, she played Elle Woods, a material girl who pursues her ex all the way to Harvard Law School, in Robert Luketic’s Legally Blonde. The $11 million movie had a $20 million opening weekend and made her, at just 23, and already a mother of a 1-year-old, a huge star. “I loved that character” and “underdog story,” she reflects, while also remembering the baggage that came with its success. “That’s when paparazzi started for me,” she says. “That’s when I started getting chased by 10 or 15 people.”
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