Reese and 5 other women from this year’s most acclaimed TV series appear on the cover of the new issue of The Hollywood Reporter, as part of their regular ‘Roundtable’ series. The actresses discuss their recent work, their careers, and tackling social issues within their work. The entire interview is below for you to read, and we have the photoshoot images and magazine scans for you in our Gallery. Also within this post are some clips from the discussion; it sounds like the video of the whole interview will be available when its aired on SundanceTV later this month. Reese looks gorgeous in the new photos, and I love reading these interview where she talks about taking a more proactive role in developing quality projects.
Drama Actress Roundtable: Oprah Winfrey, Reese Witherspoon on “Rage, Sorrow, Grief” and Sexism in Hollywood
Six complex women — also including Nicole Kidman, Jessica Lange, Elisabeth Moss and Chrissy Metz — debate the power and pain of strong females (onscreen and off-) amid a culture of discrimination in the industry and beyond: “I don’t think we’ve ever seen this much misogyny.”
When Oprah Winfrey decided to adapt The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks for HBO, she had two actresses in mind to play the role of Lacks’ daughter Deborah. But HBO Films president Len Amato wasn’t interested in her casting ideas: He wanted the media tycoon to be involved onscreen as well as off-. And after some heavy arm-twisting and a little time to get comfortable with the idea, Winfrey, 63, agreed — in part because the role allowed her to showcase, as she puts it, “a whole range of craziness.” It’s the opportunity to explore those layers of character and emotion that has drawn her and five other stars — Nicole Kidman, 49; Reese Witherspoon, 41; Elisabeth Moss, 34; Jessica Lange, 68; and This Is Us breakout Chrissy Metz, 36 — to work on television, as they revealed during The Hollywood Reporter’s annual Drama Actress Roundtable discussion on a Hollywood soundstage in May. “We have the opportunity to show the entire spectrum of human emotion that women have,” says Witherspoon, who, like Kidman, is a producer and star of HBO’s Big Little Lies. “We aren’t just the wives and the girlfriends. We are actually living, breathing people who have insecurities.” During the course of an hour, the six spoke candidly about the unexpected rewards and residue that come with inhabiting complicated women.
You have tackled ageism, sexism, misogyny, depression, domestic abuse, adultery and rape. When was the last time you were genuinely nervous to tackle a storyline?
OPRAH WINFREY (The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, HBO) I was genuinely nervous to take on the role of Deborah Lacks because look at this table. I come as the least experienced person at this table. I come as a person who has great respect for the craft of acting — and for years interviewing actresses and being inspired by actresses, but not developing the craft. I was really afraid to do that.
Afraid of what, exactly?
WINFREY I was afraid of making a fool of myself! (Laughter.)
NICOLE KIDMAN (Big Little Lies, HBO) That’s every day.
REESE WITHERSPOON (Big Little Lies, HBO) What are you talking about?! The Color Purple is so amazing.
WINFREY When was that? That was like 30 years ago now. And let me tell you what actually made me even more intimidated: I just finished doing a film with Reese and Ava DuVernay and Mindy Kaling [A Wrinkle in Time], and I just happened to ask Reese, “How many films have you done?” And you said, “Oh, honey child …” (Laughter.)
WITHERSPOON Do you all know how many movies you’ve done?
WINFREY You said, “I don’t know, 100 or so.” I was thinking, “Oh, God, I hope she doesn’t ask me because my number will be like, five, maybe?”
CHRISSY METZ (This Is Us, NBC) Oh, I’ve got you beat. I’ve done maybe one independent movie.
ELISABETH MOSS (The Handmaid’s Tale, Hulu) I don’t know if I was nervous about the scenes themselves, but [Margaret Atwood’s] book itself is so beloved, so that was my only hesitation. I wanted to make sure that we were going to do the book justice and do it in the way that it should be done or we were going to get in trouble. I don’t have any fear with scary stories. That’s what I want to do. But I took six weeks to say yes because I wanted to make sure we were going to do a good job.
Last night Reese attended the annual Tiffany & Co. Blue Book Gala in New York City. Reese looked elegant in a floor-length teal gown by Brandon Maxwell, accessorising with Tiffany jewellery. She posed on the red carpet with other celebrities including Claire Danes, Jennifer Hudson, Hayley Bennett and Ruth Negga, and spoke to reporters about why she loves Tiffany’s and her jewellery must-haves. The company are backing an initiative to stop global trafficking for elephant ivory, and Reese voiced her support for this too. We have the first few photos from the night in our Gallery (more are sure to follow), and further down this post are articles and videos from the red carpet:
Oprah Winfrey was recently interviewed by People’s Jess Cagle, and she mentioned Reese.
When speaking about her new movie The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, Oprah said: “I’d never played a role like that and nor have I done it enough to feel really solidly comfortable in the space. I have a lot of actor friends … like I was on set the other day with ‘Wrinkle in Time’ and I said to Reese [Witherspoon], ‘So Reese, how many movies have you done?’ and she said, ‘I don’t know, I don’t know … hundreds, I don’t know.’ So I was like ‘Oh God, please don’t ask me how many movies I’ve done.’ I think I’ve done five. It’s rare that I feel intimated, but I felt intimidated.”
Vogue.com interviewed Reese towards the end of last month, in the run-up to the finale of Big Little Lies; here is what they talked about:
Reese Witherspoon on Who She Initially Wanted to Play on Big Little Lies—and What She Thinks About Those Critics Who Dismiss the Show as Just Another Soap Opera
We only have a few days to go until the finale of HBO’s Big Little Lies airs—why, oh why are there only seven episodes?—but we can already anticipate the massive void we’ll be feeling once the show wraps up on Sunday. Thankfully, Reese Witherspoon is here to help us cope. As Madeline Martha Mackenzie, Witherspoon’s character has become a fan favorite for her type-A personality and wicked one liners (“I love my grudges; I tend to them like little pets,” she says in an early episode). We spoke on the phone with the star and executive producer of the hit TV show, and talked about who she initially thought she would play, whether or not Ed and Madeline have a good marriage, and what she thinks about those (mostly male) critics who dismiss the show as just another soap opera.
Some spoilers ahead for those who aren’t caught up.
What drew you to Liane Moriarty’s book? Why were you excited to bring it to the screen?
I thought the book was really well plotted. I loved all the characters, I thought they were really dynamic women and very truthful in their struggles and the way that they communicated with each other. I thought it was a unique opportunity to have five really talented, diverse women on screen together, which is something that doesn’t happen that often.
Did you always want to play Madeline, or did you ever consider playing any of the other roles?
I didn’t know who I was going to play. Nicole [Kidman] really wanted to play Celeste, but I don’t know, I thought for a minute I might have played Renata. But then I was in a meeting with David Kelley and Nicole and I said I didn’t know who I was going to play and they looked at me like I was crazy. They said, “You’re Madeline!” And I said, “I am? What do you mean?” And they were like, “You are very clearly Madeline.” And I thought, “Is this an insult? I don’t know.” But then I kind of started thinking how I would do this. I started talking to Nicole, she was very helpful when I was creating the character. We added a lot of stuff that wasn’t in the book.
I haven’t read the book, but I know that David E. Kelley rewrote a lot of Madeline for you. I know the affair with her play’s director, for example, wasn’t in the book. What was behind the decision to add that?
Well, we talked about it. I just felt like everybody sort of has a secret in the show. All five of us have a secret. We’re all hiding something from each other and I felt like Madeline needed something she was hiding as well; it added a new conflict for her to resolve. It was just something interesting to play instead of just being a busy body.
On that note, do you think Madeline and Ed have a good marriage?
I don’t think of it in terms of good and bad. I think they have an active marriage, they are working on their marriage. There are aspects that are really positive and there’s parts of it there are really difficult. I don’t know what “good” is, but there’s a lot of love there, for sure.
Reese took time out of her holiday in the Caribbean to chat to fans on Facebook live yesterday. She and co-star Laura Dern also did an interview on Instagram. They revealed that they are considering a second season of Big Little Lies…
Reese appeared on US talk show ‘Conan’ on Tuesday night to promote Big Little Lies. It was a very funny interview, and Reese chatted about A Wrinkle In Time, Oprah Winfrey, her surprise Irish heritage, her kids, and of course Big Little Lies. I loved her Irish accent and Oprah impression! Plus, did you know that Reese is 63% Irish?! “It just makes so much sense!” she said, as she’s a great drinker and loves St Patricks Day 😀 We have lots of HD screencaptures for you in our Gallery, and within this post are videos from the interview:
Reese is currently in new Zealand where she is filming A Wrinkle In Time, and she sent a video message and then phoned in to NZ radio station The Edge, where she chatted about the country and the movie.
Reese Witherspoon on New Zealand: ‘You can’t capture it in pictures’
Reese Witherspoon says her Instagram feed, full of pictures taken on her trip to New Zealand, doesn’t do the country’s beauty justice.
“It’s the most beautiful country in the world – I’ve made a lot of movies all over the world, but this is my favourite place I’ve ever shot,” she told radio station The Edge on Friday.
“You can’t capture it in pictures. I would say to anybody who comes to New Zealand, don’t just bring your iPhone – you need a major, amazing camera.”
Witherspoon, who won an Oscar for her role in Johnny Cash biopic Walk the Line, is in New Zealand shooting Disney film A Wrinkle in Time with co-stars Oprah Winfrey, Mindy Kaling (The Office), Chris Pine (Star Trek), Storm Reid (12 Years a Slave) and Zach Galifianakis (The Hangover).
“We are making a movie,” she told hosts Jay-Jay, Dom and Randell. “I know it looks like I’m just having fun with my girlfriends.”
In the film, New Zealand stands in for the planet Uriel, a mountainous utopia populated by centaurs.
“We needed sort of magical locations because it’s about going to other universes,” said Witherspoon.
She promised to come back for a proper holiday.
“The food is wonderful, the landscapes are gorgeous, but most importantly the people have been so kind and so friendly, and have opened up their homes. We have all been just so touched by what a beautiful experience it has been.”
Though she wouldn’t tell what it’s like flying across the seas on Oprah’s private jet, she did reveal just where she keeps her Oscar.
“I keep it in my living room, and anyone who picks it up has to do a speech.”
Untitled TV Project with Jennifer Aniston
Luckiest Girl Alive
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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