Reese Witherspoon, Nicole Kidman reveal the genesis of Big Little Lies
It began with a manuscript. In 2014, a friend slipped Reese Witherspoon an early galley of Liane Moriarty’s Big Little Lies. The Australian author has a knack for spinning a compelling tale — her previous book, The Husband’s Secret, had hit No. 1 on the New York Times best-seller list a year earlier — and this one was no exception.
“Liane’s writing is so enthralling, I was hanging on every word. I read it in one night,” says Witherspoon of the story of a wealthy seaside enclave where not everything is as perfect as it seems and the combined community secrets lead to a mysterious murder.
Her producing partner, Bruna Papandrea, called Nicole Kidman — a longtime friend since the women were teenagers — and said simply: “I’ve found the thing for us all to do together.” Kidman (who also read the book in a single sitting) happened to be leaving the next day for Australia, and while there she met Moriarty for coffee. “I said to her, ‘If you give us the rights to the book, we can get it made,’” says Kidman.
Within 18 months, a staggering number of A-listers were heading into production. Witherspoon and Kidman were joined by Shailene Woodley in the lead roles, with Laura Dern, Zoë Kravitz, Alexander Skarsgård, and Adam Scott also in the cast. David E. Kelley (Ally McBeal) signed on as an executive producer and wrote all seven episodes. Jean-Marc Vallée — fresh off his Oscar-nominated film Wild — agreed to direct every installment, too. (He’d been planning to direct only the pilot but had a hard time saying no to his Wild leading lady. “This is all Reese’s fault,” he says with a laugh. “I was about to take a vacation, and I was so tired. But then I read it, and I couldn’t abandon it after I started.”)
All that talent shows: The series has its fair share of humor and dark drama — and then even darker drama — yet the actresses never miss a step. “I sometimes felt like I was watching a class in acting,” says Witherspoon of her costars.
Big Little Lies premieres on Feb. 19 at 9 p.m. ET on HBO. Check out the trailer above.
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.”
Reese and Matthew McConaughey attended AOL HQ in New York today to promote Sing for the BUILD series. Watch some clips below, and we’ll have photos for you asap …
BUILD is a live interview series like no other—a chance for fans to sit inches away from some of today’s biggest names in entertainment, tech, fashion and business as they share the stories behind their projects and passions. Every conversation yields insights, inspiration and plenty of surprises as moderators and audience members ask questions. It all happens several times a week from AOL headquarters in NYC and live-streamed at AOL.com.
December 9, 2016 • Category: Pacific Standard, Role Rumors •
Comments Off on Reese Witherspoon, Naomi Watts Team for ‘Penguin Bloom’ Adaptation
Reese Witherspoon, Naomi Watts Team for ‘Penguin Bloom’ Adaptation
Reese Witherspoon, Naomi Watts and Bruna Papandrea are teaming up for an adaptation of the best-selling Australian book Penguin Bloom.
The story follows Sam Bloom, a Sydney-based mother of three who, following an accident, becomes paralyzed from the chest down and receives help from an unlikely source — a magpie named Penguin that helps the family adjust to Sam’s new condition.
New York Times best-selling author Bradley Trevor Greive wrote Penguin Bloom, which features photographs from Sam’s husband, Cameron.
Watts is set to star in the feature, which also is being produced by Aussie-based producer Emma Cooper.
Penguin Bloom will film in Australia. The production is still looking for a screenwriter and a director.
Even though Witherspoon and Papandrea have gone separate ways as producing partners under their Pacific Standard banner, which is responsible for hits like Gone Girl and Wild, the duo are still set to produce a number of projects they have in development. This includes an adaptation of Jessica Knoll’s Luckiest Girl Alive.
Watts will next be seen in Colin Trevorrow’s The Book of Henry and will star opposite Brie Larson in the adaptation of The Glass Castle.
Reese’s former Pacific Standard producing partner Bruna Papandrea spoke about Big Little Lies with The Sydney Morning Herald:
Producer Bruna Papandrea tackles Hollywood sexism with Big Little Lies
“I want to keep putting women at the centre of stories, and giving our daughters examples of what women can be,” says Bruna Papandrea, the Australian-born, Hollywood-based producer of Gone Girl, Wild, Pom-zom-rom-com Warm Bodies and the hotly anticipated HBO series Big Little Lies.
“Maybe I’ll make a movie about a female president for instance, just to let the world know that is still possible.”
Papandrea is dressed all in black when we meet at the Screen Forever conference at Crown in Melbourne. “I’m in mourning, for the US election result,” she says. “I mean it. I’m really upset.”
It was the lack of decent roles for women that spurred Papandrea and Hollywood star Reese Witherspoon to launch Pacific Standard, a production company with the specific aim of finding and telling stories by and about women, in 2012. They made Gone Girl and Wild (buying the rights to both before the books had been released) and the cop comedy Hot Pursuit before parting ways in August.
Witherspoon continues with Pacific Standard, while Papandrea is again a solo operator, not yet settled on a name for her operation. “I think I’m calling it Make A Movie,” she says. “For now.”
She is coy about why they split. “Let’s just say we are two strong women who both speak their minds. But we have a lot of projects in the pipeline, so we will be doing business together for a long time yet.”
At any rate, the mission to create female-led content remains. “We are starving for it,” she says. “Television has done a better job than film, but we’ve not done a good job at representing women.”
Reese Witherspoon Launches Multimedia Brand for Women
Reese Witherspoon is getting into the media scene.
The actress and producer — along with Otter Media, the joint venture formed between The Chernin Group and AT&T — are launching Hello Sunshine, a new cross-platform brand and consumer-facing content company dedicated to telling female-driven stories. Hello Sunshine will leverage the experience of its founders to create, curate and discover powerful content by and for women across all platforms, from daily social and short form digital content to television shows and motion pictures.
The company will begin to share content in 2017 at Hello-Sunshine.com, as well as across other platforms. Witherspoon’s current production company, Pacific Standard (Gone Girl, Wild), is part of Hello Sunshine and will continue to elevate and champion female storytelling.
Media and tech industry executive Kerry Tucker will lead the company as CEO, overseeing all operations and strategy. She jumps from her position as COO of The Video Genome Project, the video startup recently acquired by Hulu, and previously served as EVP/CMO of Victoria’s Secret and head of marketing for all divisions of Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia.
Seth Rodsky, founding partner of Strand Equity Partners, is partnered with Witherspoon on the deal and will join the Hello Sunshine board.
“I’m thrilled to be partnering with Peter Chernin and AT&T on this exciting new company. My lifelong passion has been to tell women’s stories with authenticity and humor. This partnership will allow me to reach a greater audience that is eager for more female driven content,” said Witherspoon in a statement. “Kerry Tucker is uniquely qualified to run this company with her extensive marketing background and her understanding of the female audience. Hello Sunshine is deeply committed to creating content that will reach women where they spend time, whether it is at a movie theater, at home or on their mobile device. Women are looking for entertainment that speaks to them about what they value. Hello Sunshine will make content that entertains, educates and brings women together.”
Reese’s former Pacific Standard producing partner Bruna Papandrea spoke to the Aussie Daily Telegraph recently about what the twosome are still working on together, despite their recent split:
Bruna Papandrea and Reese Witherspoon still have a lot of work to do together
THERE’S no bad blood between acclaimed Aussie producer Bruna Papandrea and former production partner Reese Witherspoon.
The duo last month announced the shock dissolution of their creative partnership but Papandrea says they will continue to work together on a slate of upcoming projects.
“We’re just getting closer to what’s next, Reese and I still have 25 projects together,” Papandrea told Confidential.
Papandrea, 45, and the Sweet Home Alabama star joined forces in 2012, forming production company Pacific Standard that counts box office smash hit Gone Girl and Oscar winner Wild among its credits.
But in September this year, they announced the dissolution of their creative partnership, with Witherspoon retaining the production company while Papandrea creates a new venture.
“Bruna is a hardworking, extremely talented producer. I’m happy to further collaborate with her on the strong slate of Pacific Standard properties,” Witherspoon said in a statement at the time.
Before they part ways entirely, they will collaborate on a number of upcoming projects, including the adaptation of Liane Moriaty’s novel Big Little Lies that will star Witherspoon alongside Australians Nicole Kidman and Naomi Watts.
“We’re in post (production) on that TV series, that’s airing on HBO next February. We just put out the first teasers, that’s exciting,” she said.
October 17, 2016 • Category: Pacific Standard, Role Rumors •
Comments Off on Irish comedian Sharon Horgan writing film for Reese Witherspoon
Irish comedian Sharon Horgan writing film for Reese Witherspoon
Irish comedy star Sharon Horgan has revealed she is penning a new movie for Oscar-winning actress/producer Reese Witherspoon.
The Meath writer with the Midas touch has been earning critical acclaim for her new TV series, Divorce , starring Sarah Jessica Parker.
Horgan has conquered the small screen a string of TV hits such as Pulling and Catastrophe but now she reveals she has her sights set on Hollywood.
She is following in the footsteps of best-selling author Cecilia Ahern, who has seen three of her novels get the Tinseltown treatment. PS I Love You became a huge success more than a decade ago, while her star-studded rom-com Love Rosie was also filmed in the capital.
Sharon Horgan tells next month’s Red magazine she has teamed up with the Walk the Line star who has recently produced hits like Gone Girl and Wild.
“Reese set up her own production company specifically to create better roles for women because she was fed up with getting sent scripts where she was some funny guy’s girlfriend. She saw Pulling and that’s why we hooked up,” she said.
The American actress took to Twitter a few months ago to tell of her love for Horgan’s TV sitcom, Catastrophe , which revolved around her surprise pregnancy in the show.
“New obsession, #Catastrophe on @AmazonVideo — @SharonHorgan & @robdelaney made me laugh so loud on a plane, I was told to be quiet…twice”, tweeted Reese Witherspoon.
The Irish writer said she was delighted with the glowing endorsement from the comedy actress.
“She was so great about Catastrophe. She definitely piled a few extra thousand viewers by Instagramming about it.” The TV funnywoman teamed up with Rob Delaney to make the single camera romantic comedy about an Irish woman and an American man who end up in a relationship in London.
The 46-year-old actress, who has two daughters, Sadhbh, 12, and Amer, 8, has said her own recollections of her pregnancies were part of the inspiration for the character.
The in-demand star — sister of ex-Irish rugby player Shane Horgan — said she was bowled over when Parker approached her to write a show for her return to the small screen after the Sex And The City series.
She said: “We met for lunch in Manhattan. I thought I can’t meet Sarah Jessica Parker without making the effort. I was dolled up to the nines and she was in her workout clothes.
“She said she was interested in a project about a damaged relationship. I left in a daze thinking ‘Shit, I think I’m being asked to write a show for Sarah Jessica Parker’.”
Sex And The City was escapist and aspirational, said the Irish writer. “This is warts and all. It’s a very real look at a woman in the throes of a pretty awful divorce. Although I don’t think there are any nice divorces.”
Luckiest Girl Alive
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In A Dark, Dark Wood
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All Is Not Forgotten
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