The Real Story Behind Reese Witherspoon’s Return to Romantic Comedies
When the trailer dropped for Home Again, Reese Witherspoon’s newest movie, there was a palpable buzz around Hollywood and among her loyal cadre of fans. Timing was part of it—it’s the first project since the actress’ beloved turn in Big Little Lies. The sneak peek into the flick dropped just weeks before the Emmy nominations made official what everyone was expecting: That Lies was a critical darling in addition to taking over pop culture for much of 2017.
But Home Again also marks a ground-breaking transition for Witherspoon: It’s her return to romantic comedies after a five year hiatus.
She has become a staple in more serious awards material, what with her turns in films like Wild, and her slight retreat into behind-the-camera work (she produced Gone Girl and Big Little Lies), that her start in the industry begs reminding. When Witherspoon broke out onto the scene it was her quirkiness and affability that won over fans and critics (and studio executives). Romantic comedies were here bread and butter, their one-liners her legacy. Quotes like “You have a baby…in a bar” and “Happy people just don’t shoot their husbands” were synonymous with Reese.
One wonders what it would take to get Reese back to her old stomping ground after all this time. (And all that success). It’s easy to imagine that the A-lister is pitched movies endlessly, that she’s turned down countless roles that instead went to other actresses. Was it that she simply missed romantic comedies after all this time, and wanted to return to her roots? Not really.
Was it that she wanted to take a little mental break, to tear herself away from the crumbling marriages and murders of Monterrey? Sort of. As Witherspoon told E! News, there is something desirable about heading to the movies to feel good.
“There’s a lot of hard stuff to process out in the world right now,” said the actress. “I think it’s nice when a movie just makes you feel great, when it’s about family, love, togetherness and romance.”
But really, her motivation was more altruistic and, frankly, straightforward.
Reese appeared on The Ellen Degeneres Show today to promote Home Again. During the very funny episode, Reese chatted about her recent summer holiday with Deacon, her upcoming TV project with Jennifer Aniston, her new movie, and played a fun game of ‘Never Have I Ever’ with Pink and Ellen. Here are some clips from the show, and I’ll update with a full video and screencaptures when I can…
Reese graces the cover of the new October issue of US Glamour magazine, and inside she writes an article for the magazine about empowering women in Hollywood and promoting women’s rights. She touches on some of her female-driven projects including Wild and Big Little Lies, as well as A Wrinkle In Time, her children’s response to her producing work, and her goals with Hello Sunshine. It’s a really good read, and you can find the full article here. The article is accompanied by a fun and fantastic new photoshoot – find that, in HQ, in our Gallery!
Reese Witherspoon Knows Rom-Coms Need an Image Makeover
Romantic-comedy heroines can seldom have it all. They’re either professionally successful and unlucky in love, or great with the kids and unfulfilled at work or in the bedroom.
But in “Home Again,” a comedy due Sept. 8, Reese Witherspoon is a walking empowerment meme, complete with a wardrobe of pristine white blazers: she’s a newly separated 40-year-old, the mother of two precocious girls who starts a promising career as an interior decorator and shacks up with a hot 27-year-old.
“It never would have even crossed my mind that she couldn’t be all those things,” the writer-director Hallie Meyers-Shyer said, adding, “That wasn’t my experience growing up.”
Ms. Meyers-Shyer, 30, is the daughter of two filmmakers: Nancy Meyers (“It’s Complicated”) and Charles Shyer (“Baby Boom”). She spent her formative years on movie sets, before making her directing debut with “Home Again.” (Nancy Meyers served as executive producer.)
“In certain ways, Hallie knows more about the movie business than I do,” Ms. Witherspoon said.
Ms. Witherspoon, 41, has lately taken a big leap as a filmmaker herself, starting a production company to focus on projects led by women, with hits like “Wild,” “Gone Girl” and, earlier this year, the HBO mini-series “Big Little Lies,” about mothers in wealthy Monterey, Calif., that starred Ms. Witherspoon and Nicole Kidman, among others. (A follow-up is being discussed with Liane Moriarty, the author of the novel on which it’s based, Ms. Witherspoon said.)
Speaking by phone from her Los Angeles home — and pausing briefly to greet Tennessee, the youngest of her three children — she spoke passionately about the changing roles for women on screen and how she wants to be a part of that change. These are edited excerpts from the conversation.
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