Reese Witherspoon’s New Role: Power Broker The actress has emerged as one of Hollywood’s most influential literary tastemakers in the book-to-screen business
Reese Witherspoon was frustrated. It was 2011, and the screenplays coming across her desk had one bland female character after another. Defined as wives or girlfriends, they were nice, respectable and, for an actor interested in character work, boring. She was drawn much more to the protagonists of the novels and memoirs she curled up with at night.
“My husband said, ‘Honey, you read more books than anybody I know. Why don’t you just option some and turn them into movies?’ ” Ms. Witherspoon recalled in a recent interview in Santa Monica, Calif.
In short order, she teamed up with producer Bruna Papandrea, launched an independent production company called Pacific Standard, and went on the hunt for challenging female characters. The pair quickly demonstrated that they could sniff out best sellers. They scooped up their first two books—Cheryl Strayed’s memoir, “Wild,” and Gillian Flynn’s thriller, “Gone Girl”—before they were published. In July 2012, just five months after the company was launched, the books hit No. 1 on the New York Times best-seller list at the same time—in the nonfiction and fiction categories, respectively. Together, the films earned three Oscar nominations and grossed more than half a billion dollars.
Since then, Ms. Witherspoon has emerged as one of the most influential literary tastemakers in Hollywood. Her regular book recommendations on Instagram send Amazon rankings soaring. At a time when book adaptations remain a crucial segment of the film industry, Pacific Standard is an increasingly important player in the book-to-screen business. She and her partner have also invited some authors to adapt their own books, in the hopes of bringing new writing voices to film and television.
March 10, 2016 • Category: Pacific Standard, Role Rumors •
Comments Off on Anna Paquin to Star in Reese Witherspoon-Produced ABC Pilot ‘Broken’
Anna Paquin to Star in Reese Witherspoon-Produced ABC Pilot ‘Broken’
Anna Paquin will topline ABC’s drama pilot from scribe Meaghan Oppenheimer and exec producers Reese Witherspoon and Bruna Papandrea, Variety has learned.
The project that had formerly been untitled is now called “Broken.”
“Broken” follows a ruthless Dallas divorce attorney, Gemma (Paquin), as her life begins to unravel when her emotionally damaged, love-addicted sister resurfaces, triggering self-destructive tendencies and exposing long-hidden family secrets. Paquin’s character is described as one of the most sought-after divorce attorneys in Dallas.
Having made a fortune off of the heartbreak of wealthy Texans, she has no desire to look back, but beneath her carefully constructed facade are layers of vulnerability, self-destruction and deeply buried trauma.
Paquin joins a cast that includes T.R. Knight, Blair Underwood and Penelope Ann Miller. Underwood will play James, Gemma’s boss and sometimes lover; Knight will play Mark, who is competing with Gemma for the same position; and Miller will play Elizabeth Hamilton, the wife of a Texas oil billionaire who is seeking revenge after having been left for a woman 20 years younger.
The soapy drama hails from Witherspoon and Papandrea’s Pacific Standard shingle and ABC Studios. Oppenheimer (“We Are Your Friends”) will serve as a co-exec producer on the pilot, which she penned.
“Broken” marks Paquin’s return to television as a series regular, after her starring role as Sookie Stackhouse on HBO’s “True Blood.” She will next star in A&E’s hotly anticipated “Roots” revival miniseries, which debuts this Memorial Day.
February 2, 2016 • Category: Pacific Standard •
Comments Off on ABC’s Reese Witherspoon-produced pilot about ‘ruthless Dallas divorce attorney’ will film in Dallas
ABC’s Reese Witherspoon-produced pilot about ‘ruthless Dallas divorce attorney’ will film here
A Dallas-set Reese Witherspoon-produced show for ABC about a “ruthless divorce attorney” will actually film in Dallas — at least, its pilot will.
That’s the word this morning from Dallas Film Commissioner Janis Burklund, who sends word that the series briefly titled Please Don’t Go has a new (and temporary) name: The Untitled Meaghan Oppenheimer Project. In case you’re wondering, and you likely are, Meaghan Oppenheimer is an actor-turned-screenwriter partially responsible for last year’s not-a-hit We Are Your Friends; she also co-wrote an episode of Fear the Walking Dead.
Burklund said Tuesday morning that the pilot will film in Dallas in the spring. But, she said, “there are no hard dates.” And a cast has not been announced. Witherspoon’s not starring in the series.
Here’s the plot, per the official announcement just dispatched by Dallas City Hall: “The story line follows the personal and professional life of a ruthless divorce attorney in Dallas, which begins to unravel when her emotionally damaged, love-addicted sister resurfaces triggering self-destructive tendencies and exposing long-hidden family secrets. The new show is expected to show off the vibrant, urban city that Dallas is.”
January 30, 2016 • Category: Pacific Standard, Role Rumors •
Comments Off on ABC Orders Drama Pilots from Kevin Williamson, Reese Witherspoon, ‘Agent Carter’ Bosses
ABC Orders Drama Pilots from Kevin Williamson, Reese Witherspoon, ‘Agent Carter’ Bosses
ABC has given pilot orders to four dramas from executive producers including Kevin Williamson, “Agent Carter” showrunners Michele Fazekas & Tara Butters, and Pacific Standard’s Reese Witherspoon & Bruna Papandrea, Variety has learned.
Reese Witherspoon and Bruna Papandrea are executive producing an untitled drama written by Meaghan Oppenheimer, in which a ruthless Dallas divorce attorney’s life begins to unravel when her emotionally damaged, love-addicted sister resurfaces, triggering self-destructive tendencies and exposing long-hidden family secrets. The project also hails from ABC Studios.
ABC’s previously ordered drama pilots include modeling drama “Model Woman“; legal drama “Conviction” from the Mark Gordon Co.; Romeo & Juliet sequel series “Still Star-Crossed” from Shondaland; “The Jury,” produced by Carol Mendelsohn; “Presence” from John Ridley; and the “Agents of SHIELD” spinoff “Marvel’s Most Wanted.”
On the comedy side, ABC has picked up two family-centric pilots from producers of “Black-ish” and “The Middle”; soccer-themed “Dream Team” from “Will & Grace” alums Bill Wrubel and Kari Lizer; a pilot from “The Goldbergs” creator Adam F. Goldberg about an imaginary friend; “Downward Dog,” starring Allison Tolman; cancer-themed comedy “Pearl;” and “Speechless,” which revolves around a family with a special-needs child.
Reese graces the cover of the upcoming February issue of US Harper’s Bazaar magazine! She looks stunning in a new photoshoot, and talks about her current career path and Draper James in the interview. I love the colours and styling of the photoshoot, it’s so pretty. Read the interview below, find the pictures in our Gallery, and watch the behind the scenes video further down this post.
The magazine hits US news-stands on January 19th.
From screen sweetheart to power producer to lifestyle entrepreneur, Reese Witherspoon brings Southern charm to every role.
Reese Witherspoon is sitting in a random office in a glorious location: Nashville’s grand Cheekwood Museum of Art. She’s been twirling all day in concoctions for this cover story—on horses, holding piglets and parasols, and battling oddly aggressive ladybugs. But the great charm of Witherspoon, of course, is that she can look like she’s having the most fun in the world.
And right now, it would seem that she is. After 25 years in films—a long reign as America’s sweetheart, an Oscar for Walk the Line, and a lull before her second nomination, for 2014’s Wild—and with her 40th birthday on the horizon, Witherspoon is not just a star but a force. With her tenacity and sonar-like acumen, she is deftly changing cinema.
“It’s almost like my brain is hardwired to collect information and do things,” Witherspoon says. “I used to do very little with it, and now I’m being more productive, which feels good.” Turns out, she handily notes, that if you spend 25 years making movies, “that’s the way that you learn how to make movies.” In the past four years Witherspoon optioned two books, Gone Girl and Wild, shepherding them through production (and in Wild, shepherding herself up the Pacific Crest Trail) and seeing both receive Oscar nominations.
While Witherspoon could have surfed on a wave of rom-coms until the end of her days, it was a combination of frustration and curiosity that forged her new path. “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.” So Witherspoon went about changing things.
“I certainly can’t star in all these movies,” she says. “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.”
Witherspoon—who along with Ava, 16, and son Deacon, 12 (with ex-husband Ryan Phillippe), has a three-year-old son, Tennessee James, with her husband, talent agent Jim Toth—credits Toth for her renewed cinematic mojo. “He said, ‘You should produce movies. You read more books than anybody I know. You should just buy some of them and turn them into films.’ ”
‘Fear the Walking Dead’ writer Meaghan Oppenheimer will pen the script for ‘Please Don’t Go.’
ABC is looking to Reese Witherspoon for a divorce drama.
The network has picked up a script for Please Don’t Go, The Hollywood Reporter has learned.
Created by Meaghan Oppenheimer (Fear the Walking Dead), the project follows the personal and professional life of a ruthless divorce attorney in Dallas. Raised in the trailer parks of Texas, she has left behind a life of struggle amid squalor, working her way into a corner office and mansion in Dallas’ most prestigious neighborhood. But beneath her facade of togetherness, she’s plagued by self-destructive tendencies and long-hidden family secrets that begin to unravel her life.
Oppenheimer will exec produce the ABC Studios entry alongside Witherspoon and her studio-based Pacific Standard topper Bruna Papandrea.
Please Don’t Go marks the latest sale this development season for Pacific Standard. The company also is readying a romantic mystery drama from Rob Long for ABC and is among the producers attached to HBO’s Big Little Lies, in which Witherspoon will star.
Oppenheimer (The Remains) is repped by CAA, Management 360 and Morris Yorn. Witherspoon is with CAA, LBI Entertainment and Hansen Jacobson.
Divorce comedies have been one of the bigger trends to emerge this development season as broadcasters look for the family dynamic that isn’t currently on the air. ABC is teaming with romance novelist Nicholas Sparks and super-producer Shonda Rhimes for two different divorce comedies. HBO, meanwhile, has Sarah Jessica Parker comedy series Divorce coming in 2016.
December 17, 2015 • Category: "Big Little Lies", Pacific Standard •
Comments Off on Jean-Marc Vallee to Direct All Episodes of Nicole Kidman-Reese Witherspoon HBO Limited Series
Jean-Marc Vallee to Direct All Episodes of Nicole Kidman-Reese Witherspoon HBO Limited Series
The ‘Wild’ director and his producing partner will also exec produce ‘Big Little Lies.’
HBO’s Big Little Lies adaptation continues to draw A-list talent.
Jean-Marc Vallee (Wild, Dallas Buyers Club) has signed onto direct all seven episodes of the Nicole Kidman- and Reese Witherspoon-headlined limited series, the pay cabler announced Thursday.
Additionally, the Oscar-nominated helmer and his producing partner Nathan Ross have come onboard the series, which hails from TV veteran David E. Kelley, as executive producers. The project marks a reunion for Vallee, Witherspoon and Big Little Lies co-star Laura Dern, who all worked together on Wild. The film earned Oscar nominations for both actresses. Before Wild, Vallee earned an Oscar nomination for film editing for Dallas Buyers Club.
In addition to Dern, Shailene Woodley, Adam Scott and Zoe Kravitz have joined the limited series in recent weeks.
Witherspoon also will executive produce Little Big Lies, like Wild, through her Pacific Standard banner. Her producing partner, Bruna Papandrea, also will executive produce along with Kelley and Kidman, who will produce through her Blossom Films shingle with production partner Per Saari.
“I am thrilled to be making my TV debut with HBO tackling this material,” said Vallee. “After reading David’s amazing scripts, I spontaneously jumped at the opportunity to reteam with Reese and Bruna, as well as collaborating with Nicole and Per.”
Vallee was previously attached to direct the pilot episode of the series. However, his increased involvement is the latest in a growing trend. HBO found similar success when Cary Fukunaga signed on to helm the entire first season of True Detective, for which he won an Emmy. HBO’s sister channel Cinemax boasts Oscar-winning director Steven Sodenbergh, who has directed every episode of period drama The Knick, which he also exec produces.
Australian novelist Liane Moriarty will serve as a producer on Big Little Lies, which debuted atop the New York Times’ best-seller list. She previously penned best-sellers What Alice Forgot, Three Wishes, The Hypnotist’s Love Story and The Husband’s Secret.
Vallee, whose credits also include Demolition, is repped by David Weber.
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Tiny Beautiful Things
Barbie origins project
In A Dark, Dark Wood
Untitled Rob Long Project
The Thing About Jellyfish
All Is Not Forgotten
Three Little Words
Pale Blue Dot
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