Home Again: Reese Witherspoon explains the state of the modern rom-com
Reese Witherspoon isn’t quite sure how to categorize her next big-screen venture. “It’s about that very particular post-divorce time, and the insecurity and guilt that comes with it — so it isn’t really a romantic comedy,” she says. But first-time writer-director Hallie Meyers-Shyer (daughter of director Nancy Meyers) may have it sussed: “It’s a modern rom-com,” she says. “I noticed women were feeling comfortable getting divorced earlier in life, and I wanted to explore that trend.”
Witherspoon plays Alice, a 40-year-old mother of two who moves home to L.A. after her marriage falls apart. Somehow she finds herself boarding three aspiring filmmaker brothers in her guesthouse. “Together the three of them make the perfect man,” laughs Meyers-Shyer. Alice adapts nicely to live-in child care, tech support, and a relationship with the brother in his late 20s (Pico Alexander). “It’s kind of beautiful to see a May-December romance the other way around,” Witherspoon says. “It’s good to put that out there and challenge social arrays.”
The older-woman-younger-man romance isn’t the only love story in the movie. With the daughter of two Hollywood heavyweight moviemakers at the helm (father Charles Shyer produced and got an Oscar nomination for writing Private Benjamin and is also the writer-director of the Father of the Bride movies), Home Again is in part an ode to the filmmaking industry. “There’s a great love of cinema present in the film,” says Witherspoon. “Hallie is very respectful of the real craftsmanship and the sincerity of people’s artistry.” For Meyers-Shyer’s part, injecting the warm, sumptuous glow of old Hollywood was entirely intentional. “That’s exactly the quality I wanted the movie to have,” says the first-time director who grew up on movie sets watching her parents at work and learning that the position in the director’s seat was earned not awarded. “I wanted it to feel like a place you wanted to be. Hollywood is really the heart of Los Angeles and it’s based around an art form. There’s that bright reality TV thing that people picture when they think of L.A. now, so I was trying to do my part in showing L.A. as a sort of oasis and bringing back that idea of going west to follow your dreams.”
That dreamlike, candle-lit essence trickles over into the movie’s plot at times and yet, the most unlikely element of the story — a middle-aged mom taking in three jobless strangers — was actually born from reality. “When a friend of mine was growing up in L.A. her mother took in these three guys,” says Meyers-Shyer. “I love it when people tell me, ‘Oh I wish that that could actually happen; it seems like wish fulfillment,’ and I’m like, ‘Well, actually it did happen to somebody I know.’ I just thought it was very interesting and bohemian and it would fit in nicely with the character I had created.”
Still, following the true rom-com tried-and-tested formula, there had to be a male lead with enough charm to melt the best of intentions. “Casting Pico Alexander’s part was really tough,” says the writer-director. “It’s a part of a young movie star and I really wanted someone who embodied old-school Hollywood for that character. While I was writing it I pictured a young Jack Nicholson — those are some very hard shoes to fill, but Pico sent in a self tape and he just leapt off the screen.”
Nonetheless, despite the dewy backdrop and the attractive male suitor, the romantic fling isn’t the crux of the story. “That’s what makes it a modern romantic comedy,” says Witherspoon, finally giving in to that label. “It’s not about a woman finding love; it’s about a woman finding the best version of herself — and that’s very modern.”
The first teaser trailer for Reese’s upcoming romantic comedy Home Again has just been released! The films hits US cinemas on September 8th.
HOME AGAIN stars Reese Witherspoon (“Big Little Lies,” Wild, Walk The Line, Sweet Home Alabama) as Alice Kinney in a modern romantic comedy. Recently separated from her husband, (Michael Sheen), Alice decides to start over by moving back to her hometown of Los Angeles with her two young daughters. During a night out on her 40th birthday, Alice meets three aspiring filmmakers who happen to be in need of a place to live. Alice agrees to let the guys stay in her guest house temporarily, but the arrangement ends up unfolding in unexpected ways. Alice’s unlikely new family and new romance comes to a crashing halt when her ex-husband shows up, suitcase in hand. HOME AGAIN is a story of love, friendship, and the families we create. And one very big life lesson: Starting over is not for beginners.
People.com has the first look at Reese’s new upcoming movie Home Again, including 3 HQ stills (+1 from comingsoon.net):
Reese Witherspoon Says Working with a First-Time Female Director in Home Again ‘Was Very Exciting’: See Exclusive Pics
Reese Witherspoon is teaming up with a first-time female director to put a modern twist on her romantic-comedy roots in Home Again.
PEOPLE has the exclusive first look at the film, written and directed by a newcomer with an impressive pedigree, Hallie Meyers-Shyer. Her mom, Nancy Meyers, is the director behind hits like Something’s Gotta Give and It’s Complicated, as well as the writer of Private Benjamin. And Witherspoon says watching the mother-daughter duo work together (Nancy is a producer on Home Again) was her favorite part of the shoot.
“I’ve seen Private Benjamin and It’s Complicated so many times, I can’t even count,” Witherspoon tells PEOPLE. “It was an incredible opportunity to work with Nancy Meyers and her daughter, Hallie, who is a first-time, female filmmaker.”
She adds, “I really enjoyed the collaborative process with Nancy and Hallie. The idea that two women who had a lot of experience making films could help a young woman with her first feature film was very exciting to me.”
Home Again tells the story of Alice Kinney, played by Witherspoon, who has recently separated from her husband, played by Michael Sheen. After the split, Alice decides to start over by moving back to her hometown of Los Angeles with her two young daughters.
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:
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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