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.
In the last few weeks the Gallery has been updated with over 250 additional photos from the 2017 Emmys show & HBO After Party. As you will remember, Big Little Lies took home a number of awards, and Reese was honoured for her role as a producer on the show. This batch of photos has some fabulous shots from the show, and of Reese celebrating at the after party with her gold Emmy – I particularly love the photos with her co-stars, and Ava! More photos from the red carpet and press room coming soon…
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.
Gracie Awards: Ashley Judd, Issa Rae, Reese Witherspoon Among 2018 Honorees
Ashley Judd, Issa Rae and Reese Witherspoon, Hoda Kotb, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Katie Couric, Megan Mullally, Claire Danes and Norah O’Donnell are among the women who will be honored at the 43rd annual Gracie Awards.
Each year, the Alliance for Women in Media Foundation spotlights “prolific women in the industry who continue to inspire and support others, break down barriers and lead by example in creating opportunity for future generations.”
“In a historic and momentous year for women, on and off the camera and in front of and behind the microphone, the Gracie Awards arrive at an important time to celebrate the storytellers who are changing the narrative and pushing boundaries in the quest toward diversity and equality,” said AWMF chair Christine Travaglini, who also is president of Katz Radio Group. “And as we enter our 43rd year, we at AWM, through the Gracies, are incredibly proud help usher in a new era by honoring and celebrating outstanding talent and content for, by and about women.”
Winners will be honored at the 2018 gala — which supports the AWMF’s educational programs and scholarship campaigns that benefit women in media — set for May 22 at the Four Seasons Beverly Wilshire Hotel in Los Angeles.
Meanwhile, local and student award winners will be recognized later in the month at the Gracie Awards Luncheon, set for June 27 at Cipriani in New York.
Vicangelo Bulluck will serve as executive producer of the Gracies for a third consecutive year.
The Hollywood Reporter rounds-up details on the latest Big Little Lies season 2 cast additions (besides Meryl Streep). Keen-eyed Reese fans will remember Mo McRae as Jimmy, the journalist in Wild who was adamant that Cheryl was a “female hobo”.
Douglas Smith (The Alienist) will play Corey Brockfield, an off-beat surfer and aspiring marine biologist who becomes Jane’s co-worker.
Crystal Fox joins the cast in a series regular role of Elizabeth Howard, Bonnie’s mother. She’s described as having passed on her outward zen to her daughter but ultimately reveals herself to be controlling and emotionally abusive.
Martin Donovan will recur as Martin Howard, Bonnie’s father.
Mo McRae (Pitch) joins the cast as a recurring guest star, playing Michael Perkins, a new second-grade teacher at Otter Bay Elementary School who tries to cultivate global and social consciousness in his students but Renata becomes furious when his lesson on global warming causes her daughter to have a panic attack.
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.
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