November 27, 2015 • Category: Pacific Standard, Role Rumors •
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Reese Witherspoon Producing “Barbie” Origin Story With Bold Films
Sources have confirmed that Reese Witherspoon and her producing partner Bruna Papandrea are in development with the origin story of the iconic Barbie doll, its company and its creator. Pacific Standard has picked up the rights to Robin Gerber’s BARBIE AND RUTH:The Story of the World’s Most Famous Doll and the Woman Who Created Her and have set up the project at Bold Films. Witherspoon and Papadrea are producing, with Jeanne Snow overseeing for Pacific Standard.
The book, first published in 2010, is the remarkable true story of the world’s most famous toy and the woman who created her, Ruth Handler. The story is described as “a fascinating account of how one visionary woman and her product changed an industry and sparked a lasting debate about women’s roles.”
Handler was inspired to create the now-famous Barbie doll after seeing her daughter, Barbara, playing with paper dolls. Wanting to create a doll that could better support the clothes her daughter was trying to dress the dolls in, Handler found a novelty toy abroad and modified it to work as a toy for children, which her husband’s company Mattel then manufactured. The original Barbie premiered at the American International Toy Fair in 1959.
While Barbie became a household name by the 1970s, selling millions of units over the past five decades, sales of the doll have fallen in recent years amid increased competition and controversies related to the body image issues associated with the doll.
The option on Barbie and Ruth continues Pacific Standard’s recent buying streak. In recent months, Witherspoon and Papandrea have picked up the rights to multiple literary properties, including Luckiest Girl Alive, Napkin Notes and In A Dark, Dark Wood. They’re in active development with adaptations of Maureen Sherry’s Opening Belle and the Gayle Tzemach Lemmon’s Ashley’s War.
The acquisition of the Barbie origin story comes on the heels of Sony’s announcement that they are putting together a feature set ‘in the world of Barbie’, where Barbie “uses the skills she has gained in her personal life and professional experience to help others.” Amy Pascal is producing, with Diablo Cody currently rewriting the script from Jenny Bicks. Interestingly enough, Witherspoon had been rumored to be on the shortlist of A-listers that Sony was eyeing to play Barbie, but that seems unlikely now given she has her own Barbie project in the works–albeit a very different one.
Producers are currently seeking a writer to adapt Gerber’s material for the screen.
As posted about previously, Reese is one of Glamour magazine’s Women Of The Year for 2015, and last night she attended the awards ceremony in New York to receive her honour. Reese was presented with her statue by Goldie Hawn – one of her acting heroes – and Reese gave an impassioned speech about female empowerment in Hollywood. She wore a pretty blue floral embroidered dress by Erdem for the event; I really love this look on her, and it’s great to see her wearing something new! Reese’s husband accompanied her to the event and they posed together backstage.
Check out our first HQ photos from the night in the Gallery, and scroll on down this post to read Reese’s full speech, articles from the event, and some video footage from the red carpet.
Reese Witherspoon’s Moving Speech at Glamour’s Women of the Year Awards: “Like Elle Woods, I Do Not Like to be Underestimated.”
At tonight’s Glamour Women of the Year Awards, Goldie Hawn presented Reese Witherspoon with an award for her work creating stronger roles for women in film. Witherspoon’s speech was so inspiring and powerful, you’ll want to read every bit of it in its entirety. Here it is, below.
Reese Witherspoon: “I can’t thank Glamour magazine enough and Conde Nast and Cindi for asking me to be here. You just made this night so amazing. These incredible, inspiring women are doing so many things to change how we perceive women, and I hope Amy Schumer and all the other nominees that when you consider making your biopic, you’ll give me the rights first, which would be great. Although Amy, I’ll have to play your grandmother in the movie (by Hollywood standards), and you’ll probably have to play your own mother.
I’m so excited that so many young women are here tonight.This all started for me when I was a little girl. I was 14 years old when I learned that I love acting, and I still do. Acting allows me to slip into the skin of all kinds of different women, and not in a creepy Silence of the Lambs way…but in a way that lets me explore the full spectrum of humanity. Every woman I’ve ever played is passionate and strong and flawed, except for Tracy Flick. She’s 100% perfect, but she made me say that. But I also learned at 14 years old that I was ambitious. Really ambitious. Did I say that out loud? Let’s talk about ambition.
Reese Witherspoon Documentary by Amanda Marsalis: Taking on Hollywood
This year, for the 25th anniversary of Glamour’s Women of the Year Awards, we decided to have eight award-winning filmmakers trail our honorees and create short films that answer the question: What makes this woman a Woman of the Year? Here is what they had to say, in their own words.
Amanda Marsalis: Reese is taking on male-run/dominated Hollywood and giving the world what it wants: More films told from a woman’s point of view. I think she is leading the way and am so excited to see what she comes up with next.
Amanda Marsalis is a photographer and director who lives in Los Angeles with her dog Queso. Her work as appeared in Vogue, Conde Nast Traveler, GQ, and The New York Times Magazine. Her debut feature film Echo Park premiere at the LAFF this year and is scheduled for release in 2016.
While in Nashville a couple of weeks ago Reese spoke to Vanderbilt University business students about starting up her Draper James company and how she manages her career. Read more below, and see the photos in our Gallery:
Actress Reese Witherspoon opens up to Vanderbilt business students about starting a new retail store in Nashville—and balancing the rest of her life
When actress and Nashville native Reese Witherspoon shot a movie in Atlanta several years ago—smack in the middle of a culinary and artistic renaissance—she realized there were no stores that captured those uniquely Southern experiences, everything from tailgating to sprawling Sunday suppers.
“I was being approached at that time by some big American brands to represent their businesses,” she said during a Q&A with students Oct. 27 at the Owen Graduate School of Management. “But then I thought, ‘why isn’t anybody telling these Southern stories?’”
Witherspoon’s first inclination was to start a blog showcasing the lifestyles of a new kind of Southern woman—those with a cosmopolitan bent who, like her, have come to embrace their hometowns in cities like Atlanta, Nashville and New Orleans (not unlike Witherspoon’s film Sweet Home Alabama).
Reese recently made a surprise appearance at the Australian In Film Gala in Los Angeles to present her producing partner Bruna Papandrea with one of the night’s big awards. Reese wore a simple white dress to the event, and posed with Bruna backstage. Read more in this post, and find HQ photos in our Gallery…
Reese Witherspoon Honors Bruna Papandrea at Australians in Film Awards Gala
Bruna Papandrea, Elizabeth Debicki, Bill Mechanic and Dion Beebe were honored at the 4th annual Australians in Film awards benefit dinner and gala Sunday at the Hotel InterContinental in Century City. Carrie Bickmore hosted the reception that recognizes the contributions of actors and filmmakers to the Australian film industry.
Reese Witherspoon, who originally thought she would be unavailable Sunday, made a guest appearance to introduce her production partner and recipient of the Virgin Australia Orry-Kelly International Award, Papandrea. Witherspoon joked about Papandrea, rousing laughter from the crowd, but emphasized the producer‘s work ethic and perseverance. “I have definitely learned through this process where there is a will and a really loud, opinionated Australian lady, there is a way,” Witherspoon said.
Papandrea and Witherspoon, who launched the production company Pacific Standard together in 2012, strive to create movies that focus on a strong female lead. The pair released two high-profile films within two weeks of each other last year — “Gone Girl” and “Wild” — both of which are based on best-selling books.
Papandrea was raised by a single mother in Australia. “My point in telling you where I came from is to remind young people, at a time when they are told so often that they can’t accomplish their dreams, that all things are possible regardless of where you come from,” Papandrea said. “Always be who you are, speak your truth, [and] don’t be afraid to express your opinions even if they differ from other people’s, which they will.”
12 things we learned about Reese Witherspoon at her American Cinematheque tribute
“All Reese, all Reese, all Reese!”
Matthew McConaughey had it mostly (all) right Friday night in twisting his trademark catchphrase as he presented Reese Witherspoon with the American Cinematheque Award at the annual fundraiser for the nonprofit group.
The bulk of the ceremony, which also honored Dreamworks Animation chief Jeffrey Katzenberg, was devoted to the 39-year-old Witherspoon and the nearly 50 movies she has headlined or produced in a career dating back to her 1991 debut in Robert Mulligan’s lovely coming-of-age story “The Man in the Moon.”
Here are a dozen things we learned about Witherspoon from her many friends and colleagues:
1. Witherspoon will soon reunite with “Election” writer-director Alexander Payne for “Downsizing”, co-starring Matt Damon. Payne says he receives more compliments about “Election,” in which Witherspoon played a ferociously precocious high school student running for class president, than any other movie in his lauded career.
“Even Barack Obama told me it’s his favorite political film,” Payne said.
2. Sofia Vergara calls Witherspoon, her “Hot Pursuit” co-star, “my little pony.” She did not explain why.
3. When country music singer Kenny Chesney thinks of Witherspoon, he thinks of the song “Wild Child,” which he performed at the tribute. But he didn’t explain whether it was because she starred in a movie called “Wild” or because Witherspoon reminds him of the song’s lyrics, (“a spirit that can’t be tamed, a calico pony on an open plain.”) Wait … there’s that pony thing again!
4. Kate Hudson first met Witherspoon at the premiere of “Man in the Moon,” where she watched the young actress work the after-party “like a seasoned politician.” (Witherspoon did the same thing at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza’s ballroom Friday, graciously welcoming dozens of the 800 people in attendance.)
5. The words Hudson heard most early in her career: “It’s between you and Reese” or “Well … Reese has the offer. But if she passes, it might come to you.”
6. Witherspoon will not let guests get away with singing just any old Christmas song like “Frosty the Snowman” at her annual holiday party. “No,” Hudson says, “it’s ‘The Twelve Days of Christmas.’ ”
7. Apparently, Witherspoon’s husband, CAA agent Jim Toth, can’t sing. Or, at least not well. He’s not allowed to participate in “The Twelve Days of Christmas.”
8. Witherspoon yells at Laura Dern, who played her mom in “Wild,” for not being on social media more. And for using brown lipstick.
9. Dern’s mother, actress Diane Ladd, and Witherspoon’s mom, Betty (who sat next to her daughter at the Cinematheque event), are tight. Dern believes Witherspoon has an innate desire to take care of other people because she “grew up in a home of healthcare providers.”
10. Legendary music man T Bone Burnett had a feeling Witherspoon would win the Best Actress Oscar for playing June Carter Cash in “Walk the Line” when he heard her let out an “actual blood-curdling scream” in frustration after wrestling with the classic Carter Family folk song “Wildwood Flower.”
“All the birds flew away,” Burnett remembered of Witherspoon’s cry.
11. Robert Downey Jr. would very much like to order the Bessie Bow table runner from Witherspoon’s clothing and home store Draper James, but he can’t get his credit card to work.
12. Two of Witherspoon’s three children — 16-year-old Ava and 12-year-old Deacon — can’t get enough of this 1991 Entertainment Tonight video, in which a young Reese talks about how much fun it will be to go to the video store in 30 years and rent “The Man in the Moon” on laserdisc and watch it with her kids.
“I thought that was the best moment of my life,” Witherspoon said from the stage. “I was wrong about that. Some days I still can’t believe that I get to do this, that I get to be a storyteller in this world. It is the greatest privilege of my life.”
Last weekend Reese received her American Cinematheque Award at a ceremony in Los Angeles. Reese walked the red carpet with two of her kids – Ava & Deacon – and her husband Jim was in the audience with them. During the night, tributes were paid to her by friends and colleagues including Kate Hudson, Jennifer Aniston, Jennifer Garner, Alexander Payne, and Matthew McConaughey, who presented her with the award. Reese chose a simple yet chic block gown by Dolce & Gabbana for the event.
The first photos have been added to our Gallery now, with many more to come. Within this post are several really great articles about the night and Reese’s contribution to cinema – be sure to give them a read!!
And of course, congratulations to Reese on this exciting and well-deserved honour!
Reese Witherspoon Praised as ‘Modern Day Feminist’ at American Cinematheque Fete
The American Cinematheque honored Oscar-winning actress Reese Witherspoon and DreamWorks Animation honcho Jeffrey Katzenberg at the organization’s annual fundraising gala Friday night at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza.
Witherspoon received the American Cinematheque Award, reserved for an extraordinary artist currently making a significant contribution to the art of the Moving Picture. Specifically not a lifetime achievement prize, it is meant for mid-career recognition. Recent honorees have included Matthew McConaughey, Jerry Bruckheimer, Ben Stiller, Robert Downey Jr., Matt Damon and Samuel L. Jackson.
“This whole experience is just overwhelming and unbelievable because I’m really just a girl from Nashville who had a dream,” Witherspoon said. “I grew up on backlots and on locations. I had my entire childhood on film. I went through puberty on film, which is something I don’t feel totally great about, but I don’t regret it at all. It’s preserved forever.”
Reese covers the December issue of US Glamour magazine, as one of their Women Of The Year. The cover, photoshoot and interview are now available for us all – read the interview below, and see the photos in our Gallery. We’ll have scans for you asap.
Reese and the other honorees (Caitlyn Jenner, Victoria Beckham, Misty Copeland, Elizabeth Holmes, Cecile Richards, the women of Charleston, and the U.S. women’s national soccer team (TheWrap.com)) will be honoured at an awards ceremony in New York City on November 9th.
Reese Witherspoon on How She’s Shaking Up Hollywood, and Why She Feels Like Gloria Steinem Told Her to Do Legally Blonde
Reese Witherspoon is a Woman of the Year because… “She’s making movies, telling stories, giving women opportunities—all because she wants her daughter to have an example of what it’s like to be a responsible human.”
—comedian and 2011 Woman of the Year Chelsea Handler
Just a few years ago, Reese Witherspoon was pitching a new movie to seven studio heads and requested an extra 30 minutes with each executive to ask one question: What do you have in the works for women? “Only one studio was developing something for a woman in the lead,” Witherspoon, 39, recalls. “They said, ‘We’re happy if you bring us something, but it’s not a part of our development.’ ” Stunned, Witherspoon started obsessing over the deficit—bringing it up at dinner parties and business meetings, to a chorus of women saying, “We know!” Yeah, I’ll bring you something, she decided.
So in 2012, Witherspoon cofounded a production company, Pacific Standard, with producer Bruna Papandrea; the duo began buying up books and scripts with female protagonists to turn into films and TV series. And by 2015, Witherspoon found out just how winning her company’s by-and-about-women formula could be. Wild and Gone Girl, its first two films, featured women not as sidekicks or arm candy but as leading ladies who go through unique personal journeys. Stars Rosamund Pike, Laura Dern, and, yes, Witherspoon herself were all nominated for Oscars—and the films banked more than $400 million worldwide at the box office. With her producing and acting credits, Witherspoon landed on Forbes’ list of highest-paid actresses and on Time’s 100 Most Influential People list. Now she’s breaking into a full-on sprint toward equality: Pacific Standard has 32 projects in the works that put women front and center. “Reese gave me the opportunity with Hot Pursuit where I was producing, where I was a main character, where I got to play a strong, Latina woman,” says Sofía Vergara. “It’s amazing, Reese is such a tiny little thing, but she’s such a strong woman—she knows what she wants, and she gets what she wants.”
With her producing business booming, Witherspoon felt she could take on another new challenge this year: a fashion brand. She launched Draper James, a Southern-inspired clothing and home line, with a flagship store in Nashville. Lest you think she’s superhuman, though, she hasn’t taken an acting gig in over a year, so she could spend time with her husband, Jim Toth, and three kids, Ava, 16, Deacon, 12, and Tennessee, 3. (And yes, they are the cutest.)
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