Celebrity influencers to world leaders: ‘We put you on notice’
Oprah Winfrey, Madeleine Albright and Reese Witherspoon are among 140 activists, actors, business leaders and philanthropists to sign an open letter to world leaders demanding that they take action to close the gender gap and combat poverty.
“We’re putting you on notice,” the letter reads. “For 130 million girls without an education. For one billion women without access to a bank account. For 39,000 girls who became child brides today. For women everywhere paid less than a man for the same work.”
The letter is part of the “Poverty is Sexist” campaign spearheaded by ONE, an advocacy group co-founded by U2 singer Bono.
“There is nowhere on earth where women have the same opportunities as men, but the gender gap is wider for women living in poverty,” the letter says.
Valerie Amos, Chelsea Clinton, Arianna Huffington and Sheryl Sandberg are among the scores of influential signatories on the letter, ONE says.
The convener of Nigeria’s “Bring Back Our Girls” campaign, Oby Ezekwesili, also signed, as did actors and comedians including Meryl Streep, Tina Fey, Amy Schumer and Juliette Binoche.
Congratulations to Reese for her inclusion on eminent business magazine Fortune’s World’s Top 50 Greatest Leaders list:
The World’s 50 Greatest Leaders Our annual list of the thinkers, speakers, and doers who are stepping up to meet today’s challenges.
Though it seems unlikely, Tim Cook and Indira Jaising have something in common besides membership in Fortune’s 2018 ranking of the World’s Greatest Leaders. Cook (No. 14) is the wealthy CEO of Apple, the most valuable publicly traded company on earth; Jaising (No. 20) is an Indian lawyer who cofounded an NGO called Lawyers Collective, which promotes human rights issues. Yet they share this trait: Both have multiplied their organizations’ effectiveness by harnessing the power of unbundling. Following their example is a new imperative for the best leaders.
April 10, 2018 • Category: "Big Little Lies", Times Up •
Comments Off on HBO Boss on ‘Big Little Lies’ Impact, “Earned” Raises and Addressing Pay Parity
HBO programming chief Casey Bloys gave a really interesting interview to The Hollywood Reporter, talking about the very impressive influence of Big Little Lies and Reese’s role within this:
HBO Boss on ‘Big Little Lies’ Impact, “Earned” Raises and Addressing Pay Parity
When Casey Bloys got his first of two major promotions in early 2016, the HBO executive took a good hard look at the suite of dramas he had inherited and wondered just one thing: Where were all the women?
On the comedy side, where Bloys had been in charge since 2013, he and his team had championed such female-fronted series as Enlightened, Veep, Getting On, Insecure and, of course, Girls. But now the drama lineup that he was suddenly responsible for skewed heavily male, with a mix of series that included True Detective, Game of Thrones and, then, the forthcoming Westworld. “The fact was we hadn’t really had a female-skewing drama since Big Love,” he says, referencing the polygamy hour that ran from 2006-11. “And so we became very interested in diversifying the slate.”
Two years later, much has already changed. In fact, Bloys, who was upped to president of programming later that spring, is coming off a months-long awards season in which his first big female drama, Big Little Lies, swept nearly every category it was in. The accolades followed record ratings and an enviable spot at the center of the cultural conversation — and proceeded significant raises for a cast led by producer-stars Nicole Kidman and Reese Witherspoon, who are said to be earning in the $1 million per episode range for season two. “A show like that is a gift to a network,” says Bloys, who credits Witherspoon and Kidman for identifying its potential and bringing it to the network. His boss, chairman and CEO Richard Plepler, lavishes similar praise: “Reese and Nicole had the vision to know what this could become,” he says. “They brought us a jewel and their enthusiasm became infectious, not only with the Big Little Lies team but throughout all of HBO.”
And when the limited-turned-ongoing series returns in 2019, with the original cast plus Oscar winner Meryl Streep, it’ll join a lineup that’s lighter on testosterone — or at least heavier on estrogen. In July, HBO will introduce Sharp Objects, centered on an even more complicated woman played by Amy Adams; and after that, My Brilliant Friend, about a lifelong female friendship. There are others, too, including projects from Misha Green (Underground) and Sally Wainwright (Happy Valley) as well as a second collaboration between Kidman and Big Little Lies’ writer/producer David E. Kelley. Bloys has been similarly focused on moving more women behind the camera, too, with his ratio of female to male writers and directors working its way to 50 percent.
With Big Little Lies back in production, Bloys sat down at the company’s corporate headquarters in New York and talked about those hefty raises, the impact of the Time’s Up movement and how he intends to remain competitive without writing nine-figure producer checks.
One of your execs found herself in hot water last month when she sat on stage at a conference in Israel and said, “From a budget standpoint, going into season two of Big Little Lies without any options in place we’ve been … short of raped.” I’m hoping you can clarify the point that she was trying to make, since it got lost in the drama of her word choice.
Here’s what I will say: obviously it was a really unfortunate statement, not just the choice of words but also the statement because it’s not reflective of how we feel as a network. Let me just say this about Big Little Lies season two. Whatever anybody was paid was 100 percent earned and well worth it. This show was a giant hit for us and for the industry. I know there’s fascination with the negotiations but, listen, they earned it. So, [the comment] was not reflective of how we feel, or how [Francesca Orsi, HBO’s drama chief] feels. And she feels terrible. I know she’s reached out to all the players on the show, and I will say while they were not happy about it they have been incredibly gracious and it actually has led to larger conversations about the choice of the word [raped] and why it’s used.
Will it change the way you go about making deals going forward? As in, will you move away from the one-season contracts?
Not really. Look, Big Little Lies is a unique case. But our business affairs group has been doing this a long time and we tend to do fair deals that people feel good about on both ends and that was absolutely the case here.
Reese and her A Wrinkle In Time co-stars and director can be seen on the cover of the March 21st issue of UK Stylist magazine – with a fantastic new book-themed interview and photoshoot! Read the interview below, find the photoshoot in our Gallery, and pick up a copy if you can….
Oprah Winfrey and Reese Witherspoon on the importance of feminist storytelling
Ava DuVernay, Reese Witherspoon, Oprah Winfrey and Mindy Kaling on rewriting the story books and the power of the written word.
“I recently got hate-tweeted by the President,” begins Oprah Winfrey, looking like the most relaxed woman in the USA. “Since then, I’ve been asked, ‘What are you going to do about it?’ Well, did you see that meme a couple of years ago: ‘Ain’t nobody got time for that’? I don’t have time for that. I’m not going to focus one minute of my energy on that. I’m going to stay in the light.”
“Things I don’t have time for: that,” laughs Reese Witherspoon, sitting opposite her. Mindy Kaling interjects: “If you’ve been to the Promised Land, which is where Oprah lives, and you think about whether she is going to spend time thinking about a tweet or if she’s going to live her life, you would understand why she doesn’t have time for that.”
As storytellers go, Oprah Winfrey is one of the greats (and yes, her home in Montecito, California, is called The Promised Land). But she’s also a long-time supporter of other storytellers, having launched the influential Oprah’s Book Club back in 1996 via her incredibly successful TV show.
In fact, in this room there’s a power quadrant of women who are determined advocates of books – Reese Witherspoon via her monthly Instagram book club and adapting numerous titles for the big and small screen (Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn, Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty, Are You Sleeping by Kathleen Barber) through her production company Hello Sunshine; Mindy Kaling, author of New York Times bestsellers Why Not Me? and Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?; and Ava DuVernay, the director of A Wrinkle In Time, in which all three star.
The trio play Mrs Which (Winfrey), Mrs Whatsit (Witherspoon) and Mrs Who (Kaling), three celestial beings and superheroes who guide a young woman of dual heritage across space to search for her father. It’s based on the book of the same name, which was finished in early 1960 but initially rejected by many publishers for being, as hypothesized by the author Madeleine L’Engle, a sci-fi novel with a female protagonist and blurring the lines between a children’s and adult’s book. Finally published in 1962, it went on to become a classic. As I write, the film is second in the US box-office charts to Black Panther – proof, should Hollywood need it, that films telling diverse and fantastical stories, that are told by all voices, are both necessary and profitable.
During the start of A Wrinkle In Time promotion in the US last month, Reese and Ava DuVernay attended a special event hosted by @BlackGirlsCode to promote the film and champion women of colour in technology roles. Read more below, and find a photo of Reese making a surprise entrance in our Gallery:
A Wrinkle in Time creators encourage girls to channel their inner warriors, pursue their dreams
HP joined Ava DuVernay and Reese Witherspoon to celebrate Black Girls Code and its mission to boost women of color in tech.
Everything starts with a story. Just ask Sasha Williams, a 16-year old with big dreams. On Feb. 24th, Williams didn’t just get a selfie — she got a hug and words of encouragement from Ava DuVernay, the directing powerhouse whose work, from 13th to Selma, tackles inclusion and racial division head on and continues to find new ways to define the art of storytelling.
The occasion was an event organized by HP, Disney and Nissan to bring together girls from Black Girls Code, a nonprofit that nurtures the tech skills of girls of color, to celebrate the release of DuVernay’s big-budget film, A Wrinkle in Time. With seven chapters in the U.S. and South Africa for girls 7 to 17, Black Girls Code runs after-school programs, summer camps and hackathons where local groups build projects ranging from websites to robots.
Giddy and tearful, Williams was electrified by her encounter with the director. “I’ve always looked up to [Ava]” says the young California native, who hopes to one day become a virtual-reality game designer. “And now, for her to take on this story about a little black girl trying to become a warrior, about being who you are, it’s just really inspiring.”
Williams wasn’t the only one energized by the moment. At the event, part coding challenge/part affirmation, 40 or so girls were treated to the first public showing of the film, as well as talks with several of the movie’s stars, including Storm Reid, who plays the story’s hero, Meg Murry; Reese Witherspoon; Chris Pine; and Gugu Mbatha-Raw.
Reese can be seen on the cover of the new April issue of Marie Claire UK – it’s the same interview as the earlier US edition, but it has a couple of new photos from the shoot. I love this photoshoot, and I’m glad they’ve chosen a slightly different shot for this cover. Pick up a copy asap if you can, and find the scans in our Gallery:
Untitled TV Project with Jennifer Aniston
Little Fires Everywhere
Untitled Producing Project with Kristin Wiig
Are You Sleeping
Luckiest Girl Alive
Tiny Beautiful Things
Barbie origins project
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