Reese Witherspoon on How She Embarrasses Her Kids and New Show With Jennifer Aniston: ‘I’m Excited’
Reese Witherspoon is all about family life.
ET’s Carly Steel chatted with the 41-year-old actress during the press junket for her new movie, Home Again, on Friday, where she opened up about her sweet relationship with her kids.
Witherspoon is a mother of 17-year-old Ava and 14-year-old Deacon, whom she shares with ex-husband Ryan Phillippe, and 4-year-old son, Tennessee, with husband Jim Toth. And, as they get older, Witherspoon says they get more opinionated.
“Well, my daughter is pretty good at giving advice,” Witherspoon told ET. “She’s, you know what? She’s a really good listener. And then my middle son, Deacon, who is 14, kind of tells me when I’m embarrassing everybody in the family. So, that’s kind of good advice to know,” she jokingly said.
As far as how she embarrasses them?
“Just when I say things like lit?” Witherspoon replied. “He’s like, ‘don’t say that.'”
Witherspoon, who launched her own production company in 2012, has become one of the most influential female figures in Hollywood. But, she says her main goal, is to help her kids find their true passions.
“You know, I think the most important thing is that you figure out what your kids are passionate about, and what they’re good at,” she expressed. “And don’t expect them to be like you, you just sort of encourage them to be the best versions of themselves. So that’s your job as a parent to figure out who they are.”
On Saturday Reese attended a screening of her new romantic comedy Home Again in East Hampton, New York. She was accompanied by her co-stars Pico Alexander and Jon Rudnitsky, director Hallie Meyers-Shyer, and producer Nancy Meyers. Reese looked super-chic in a dress by Isabel Marant, jewels from Irene Neuwirth, and heels by Christian Louboutin – I love this look on her! HQ photos are in our Gallery for you:
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.
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