Reese Witherspoon Sets ’70s Rock Drama Series at Amazon
Amazon Studios is ready to rock.
The Jennifer Salke-led streamer and retail giant has handed out a 13-episode order for a limited series based on the Taylor Jenkins Reid’s forthcoming book Daisy Jones & The Six.
The limited series landed at Amazon before it could be taken out to the marketplace. After Reese Witherspoon’s Hello Sunshine acquired rights to the book, Salke got a copy ahead of its March 2019 publication and aggressively pursued the TV rights to the title. The project was never taken to market.
Daisy Jones & The Six centers on a fictional rock band in the 1970s and follows their rise through the ranks of the L.A. music scene and beyond, eventually becoming one of the most legendary bands in the world. Amazon will distribute original music from the series (via Amazon Music), and the print and audiobook from Ballantine/Random House will also be available via Amazon.com and Audible.com.
The Disaster Artist duo Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber will pen the script and will oversee Daisy. Witherspoon and her Hello Sunshine banner topper Lauren Neustadter will exec produce alongside Circle of Confusion’s Brad Mendelsohn. Neustadter and Weber, whose credits include 500 Days of Summer and The Fault in Our Stars, will also exec produce. Author Jenkins will be credited as a producer. The series is a co-production between Amazon Studios, which controls worldwide rights, and Hello Sunshine.
“When I heard Hello Sunshine was developing Daisy Jones & The Six, I tracked down a copy right away and devoured it in one sitting. I loved it so much I had to take it off the market and bring it to Amazon Studios,” said Salke, head of Amazon Studios. “I was immediately struck by how perfectly it fit into our overall approach of bringing passionate creators and entertaining, compelling content to our Prime Video audience. Reese, Lauren and I are kindred spirits!”
Daisy becomes Hello Sunshine’s latest TV foray. In addition to the upcoming second season of awards darling Big Little Lies, the company also has Little Fires Everywhere — starring Witherspoon and Kerry Washington — at Hulu and three shows at Apple, including a morning show drama that she toplines alongside Jennifer Aniston. (Coincidentally, Witherspoon’s Big Little Lies co-star, Nicole Kidman, recently inked a first-look film and TV deal with Salke at Amazon.)
“As soon as I started reading Daisy Jones & The Six, I immediately fell head over heels in love with it, and I’m thrilled to be bringing it to the screen with Amazon and Jen Salke, whose passionate pursuit of the material spoke volumes,” said Witherspoon, who also has a blurb on the book jacket. “With Neustadter and Weber, two writers I deeply admire, stewarding this project, I am so confident that Daisy and her band’s journey toward finding their voice will leave just as permanent a mark with viewers around the world as it did with me.”
The drama marks a big play for Amazon Studios, which was among the bidders for Little Fires Everywhere. With the music rights, Amazon has another revenue stream that could prove profitable for the series in a way akin to what Fox achieved with Glee and Empire.
Daisy joins a roster of scripted fare at Amazon that also includes Lord of the Rings, Jack Ryan, Julia Roberts vehicle Homecoming, Matt Weiner’s The Romanoffs and the recently renewed Man in the High Castle, as well as the Emmy-nominated Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, among others.
Witherspoon, who now has six shows at four outlets, is repped by CAA and Hansen Jacobson. Hello Sunshine is with CAA and Gretchen Rush. Circle of Confusion is with CAA and Howard Abramson. Neustadter and Weber are with UTA, Kaplan Perrone and Sean Marks. Reid is with WME, Circle of Confusion, Park Literary and Media and Bloom Hergott.
On Tuesday Hello Sunshine announced the launch of their channel on DIRECTV and DIRECTV NOW, including Reese’s first unscripted show:
AT&T and Reese Witherspoon’s Hello Sunshine Announce Launch of VOD Channel Spotlighting Female Creators and Their Stories
AT&T* and Hello Sunshine is debuting 2 new female-driven series on DIRECTV, DIRECTV NOW and U-Verse with the launch of the Hello Sunshine Video On Demand (VOD) channel. Hello Sunshine produces engaging and distinctive new narratives with women at the center.
The VOD channel will premiere 2 female-driven original series:
– Witherspoon’s first unscripted series, “Shine On with Reese,” premiering July 17.
– The Home Edit’s “Master the Mess,” premiering Sept. 4.
Viewers can also watch curated original content including short-form and library film titles. Go to att.com/hellosunshine for a sneak peek at what’s to come.
Hello Sunshine was launched in November 2016 by Reese Witherspoon in partnership with The Chernin Group and AT&T’s Otter Media portfolio.
“AT&T was one of our first partners in the quest to bring female-centric storytelling to the forefront and we are especially proud of how these original series push that mission ahead,” said Sarah Harden, CEO, Hello Sunshine. “We’re looking forward to working with AT&T to develop more opportunities for women to see themselves and their stories reflected in entertainment.”
THE NEW YORK PUBLIC LIBRARY AND HBO KICK OFF #READINGISLIT, A NATIONAL CAMPAIGN TO CELEBRATE AND PROMOTE THE WRITTEN WORD
The New York Public Library is joining forces with HBO on #ReadingIsLit, a national campaign to celebrate the written word, the power of storytelling and encourage people to read, talk about, and enjoy all things literary.
The campaign will feature writers, performers, and creators from popular HBO programs sharing what they’re reading, what stories inspire them, and what books they recommend. Through videos, interviews, social media interactions and more, they’ll also encourage members of the public to visit their local libraries and sign up for library cards.
Participants in the online component — which will take place across HBO and New York Public Library social media channels — include Reese Witherspoon, Laura Dern, and Shailene Woodley from “Big Little Lies;” Thandie Newton from “Westworld;” Mark Duplass, co-creator of “Room 104;” and Damon Lindelof, co-creator of “The Leftovers.”
The New York Public Library will also share a host of information at nypl.org/readingislit and www.hbo.com/readingislit, including book recommendations from its team of expert librarians, information about applying for library cards, videos, and more.
Offline, the Library will offer special book displays at its 88 neighborhood branches in the Bronx, Manhattan, and Staten Island, featuring titles that have been adapted into HBO television shows and movies — such as the Song of Ice and Fire series (which became “Game of Thrones”), “Sharp Objects,” and “Fahrenheit 451” — as well as “read-alikes” chosen by librarians that should appeal to fans of HBO shows.
Reese appears on the cover of the June issue of Fast Company, a US business magazine. She is named one of their ‘100 Most Creative People in Business’ (#11 to be exact), and the magazine features an extensive new interview and a new photoshoot. See some behind the scenes videos on the magazine’s website, and find scans and photos from the shoot in our Gallery. It’s fantastic to see Reese recognised for her work like this!
How Reese Witherspoon is flipping the script on Hollywood The Hello Sunshine founder is channeling women’s voices into top-tier entertainment–and altering the dynamics of the entire industry along the way.
When Reese Witherspoon was 17, she had already appeared in four films. Still, she took an unlikely part-time job, as an intern in Disney’s post-production department. “I wanted to learn about editing, visual correction, and sound mixing,” she tells me 25 years later. Not long after, she worked as a production assistant on the 1995 Denzel Washington film Devil in a Blue Dress, helping with casting, among other things. Also: “I parked Denzel’s Porsche!”
That inquisitiveness, as well as nearly three decades in front of the camera, has made Witherspoon one of Hollywood’s most astute producers. She turned Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl into a $369 million worldwide hit in 2014 (that earned Rosamund Pike an Oscar nomination) and did it again, that same year, transforming Cheryl Strayed’s best-selling memoir, Wild, into a breakout success ($52 million plus Oscar nods for Witherspoon and costar Laura Dern). Then came HBO’s Big Little Lies, executive produced with costar Nicole Kidman; the cultural bellwether about female relationships and domestic abuse, based on a novel by Liane Moriarty, swept nearly every category for which it was nominated at the 2017 Emmys. After years of hearing from studio executives that there was no market for female-driven films, Witherspoon had succeeded to a degree that proved a hunger was there.
Her instinct for what women want is now being tested on multiple platforms through her 18-month-old storytelling company, Hello Sunshine. She and her team currently have shows in development at Hulu, NBC, and Apple TV (which has partnered on three projects, one rumored to be the biggest deal in history for a straight-to-series show), as well as a film at TriStar/Sony Pictures. But Witherspoon is also laying the foundation for a direct-to-consumer brand, one that is already beginning to speak to women through a website, social media, YouTube and Facebook videos, audiobooks, podcasts, and newsletters—whichever platform she and Hello Sunshine execs think best honors the story being told.
Reese Witherspoon Launches New Show ‘Meet My Mom’ on Facebook Watch
Reese Witherspoon is adding another show to her growing list of productions.
Witherspoon and her media company Hello Sunshine, which focuses on telling female-driven stories, announced her newest show, “Meet My Mom,” which debuts Thursday (10th) on Facebook Watch. The five-episode, short form series centers on a chat between a celebrity and his/her mom, with the “Big Little Lies” star and her mother Betty kicking off the first episode.
“As a child, it’s sometimes hard to see your mom as an individual with her own life,” Witherspoon said in a statement. “But ‘Meet My Mom’ is the chance to get to know the real person behind the mom and find out what really makes her tick. I’m excited to bring this concept to the Facebook community and to hear from all of the other wonderful, hard-working moms out there.”
The rest of the series will stream throughout May and feature “Westworld’s” Leonardo Nam, YouTube star Lilly Singh, Olympic figure skater Adam Rippon, and model Ashley Graham in conversations with their families. “Meet My Mom” can be seen on the Facebook site, mobile app, and its TV apps.
This is just the latest project Witherspoon has taken on, as she also has the TV adaptation “Little Fires Everywhere” in the works, which she and Kerry Washington will both executive produce and star in. Meanwhile, Witherspoon and Jennifer Aniston will topline a still-untitled morning show drama for Apple. Witherspoon will executive produce Apple’s “Are You Sleeping,” co-produced by Chernin Entertainment, with Octavia Spencer attached to star. She is also set to appear in the second season of the critically-acclaimed HBO series “Big Little Lies,” which she executive produces.
Martina Navratilova Documentary to Be Produced by Reese Witherspoon
Reese Witherspoon’s Hello Sunshine is developing its first feature-length documentary about tennis legend Martina Navratilova in partnership with Glenn Greenwald and Suzanne Gilbert.
The documentary will explore Navratilova’s achievements as a social justice pioneer told through Greenwald’s personal lens as a gay child growing up in Reagan-era Florida. The documentary will examine Navratilova’s impact on him as his childhood hero, how people find role models, and what people seek when they feel isolated, judged, or cast aside by society.
“The issues raised by Martina’s legacy resonate now more than ever, which is why it’s so important to tell her story to new generations of engaged young people who may not be aware of the vital role she played in shaping expectations around female identity and LGBT equality,” said Charlotte Koh, head of digital media and programming for Hello Sunshine.
Koh is also producing the project. “Having producers Glenn and Suzanne reframe Martina’s impact on society through the lens of Glenn’s personal coming-of-age journey creates a fresh, intimate, and relatable film for a wide audience,” she added.
Navratilova is regarded as one of the best tennis players of all time. She won 18 singles titles, 31 major women’s doubles titles, and 10 major mixed doubles titles.
“As monumental as Martina’s on-court achievements were, they pale in comparison to her role as a pioneer and trailblazer on questions of feminism, women’s athletics, equality for gay and lesbians across the planet, transgender visibility, immigrant rights, and the right of political dissent,” Greenwald said. “I’m excited to be partnering with Reese and Hello Sunshine to explore her truly enduring legacy, her remarkable courage directly or indirectly inspiring millions of people who lacked any other role models.”
Greenwald plans to feature materials and memories shared by fans all across the world that demonstrate Navratilova’s impact on various social and political initiatives.
Greenwald’s work with Edward Snowden was chronicled in the documentary “CitizenFour,” which won the Academy Award in 2015, and the film “Snowden” in 2016.
Witherspoon founded Hello Sunshine in 2016 with the goal of promoting female authorship and storytelling. It’s developed a Hulu limited series from Witherspoon and Kerry Washington, based on Celeste Ng’s “Little Fires Everywhere”; an untitled morning show series produced by and starring Jennifer Aniston and Witherspoon, which was given a two-season order by Apple; a film for Fox 2000 based on the novel “Something in the Water”; and “A White Lie,” a psychological thriller for TriStar Pictures.
Octavia Spencer Drama From Reese Witherspoon Nabs Apple Series Pickup
Octavia Spencer is officially headed to Apple.
The tech giant on Wednesday handed out a 10-episode series order to Are You Sleeping, a drama starring the Hidden Figures and Shape of Water actress and produced by Reese Witherspoon. The news comes four months after the iPhone maker put the project based on Kathleen Barber’s true-crime novel into development.
Are You Sleeping offers a glimpse into America’s obsession with true-crime podcasts. It challenges viewers to consider the consequences when the pursuit of justice is put on a public stage. Nichelle Tramble Spellman (The Good Wife, Justified) created the project, penned the script and will serve as showrunner. Witherspoon will executive produce alongside her Hello Sunshine partner Lauren Neustadter, with Chernin Entertainment’s Peter Chernin, Jenno Topping and Kristen Campo overseeing for the recently launched Chernin/Endeavor Content banner. Spencer and Tramble will also exec produce. Sarah Koenig (Serial) was a consultant on the project during its development but is no longer attached to the series.
All told, this is Witherspoon’s third series at Apple, joining the untitled morning show drama in which she will star opposite Jennifer Aniston and an untitled Kristen Wiig comedy series. The prolific producer also is an EP and stars in season two of HBO’s Big Little Lies and has Little Fires Everywhere set at Hulu. In addition to exec producing the latter, Witherspoon will also star opposite Kerry Washington in the limited series that landed at Hulu following a multiple-network bidding war.
Are You Sleeping joins an Apple roster that also includes Amazing Stories, See, a Ron Moore space drama, a Damien Chazelle drama and more.
For her part, Spellman is also set to co-write HBO’s controversial drama Confederate alongside her husband, Malcolm Spellman, and Game of Thrones creators David Benioff and D.B. Weiss.
Spencer is repped by WME; Spellman is with WME and Industry Entertainment; and Witherspoon is repped by CAA.
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