Archive for the ‘Role Rumors’ Category
Big Little Lies: How Nicole Kidman convinced Reese Witherspoon to play Madeline
Is it any surprise that actor-producer Reese Witherspoon’s first major TV project, HBO’s hit miniseries Big Little Lies, resulted in not just an Emmy nomination for her, but a whopping 16 for the show overall? The star, who also produced literary adaptations Gone Girl and Wild, turned Liane Moriarty’s thriller into a moody, suspenseful — but wonderfully funny — must-watch series that has viewers begging for a second season. And as lovable but complicated busybody Madeline Martha Mackenzie, Witherspoon, 41, was at the top of her game, spitting the show’s funniest lines one moment and delivering taut drama the next.
EW caught up with Witherspoon ahead of the Emmy Awards (airing Sept. 17) to talk about making the switch from film to TV, what story lines could be explored in a potential season 2, and how her costar (and co-producer) Nicole Kidman convinced her that her comedic role was necessary for the series.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: This is essentially your first TV role, aside from some guest spots.
REESE WITHERSPOON: Yeah, this is the only thing I’ve ever done! [Laughs] I’ve never done TV before, other than being Jennifer Aniston’s sister on Friends and a Lifetime movie when I was 15.
Tell me about making the switch. What was it like getting to spend so much more time with a character?
It’s a very different process. It’s a much longer process, but as an actor, the ability to dig deeper into a character and have more time to live with these characters, I think [helps] you create a more whole picture of a human life. Nicole [Kidman] and I were approached and asked to make it into a feature film right before we were about to make a decision about what network we were going to go with, and we just really felt like we wanted to tell the story of five women, not two, and there just wouldn’t be enough time within a film format to get that deep level of storytelling.
And also, to be quite frank, audiences are much more deeply invested in these long-form storytelling opportunities. I think you get a lot more engagement. You’re chasing the audience that is Nicole and I’s audience for years and years, but it’s also Shailene’s audience and Zoë Kravitz’s audience. It’s important to go where your audience is, not expect them to necessarily come to you.
You had to balance so much in this role: Madeline had dramatic and comedic scenes, and she was a bully as much as she was a protagonist.
It was funny, when we were making it, Laura Dern and I kept looking at each other and going, “I think we’re in a comedy and everybody else is in a drama.” But I think that’s what makes it relatable and why people see themselves in it, because there’s a part of it that is so much about the intimacy of marriage and relationships and parenting and the secrets we keep from each other. And then there’s this whole other element of tension and mystery and murder, and that any one of us is capable of something truly horrible at any moment.
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Reese Witherspoon on ‘Big Little Lies’ Season 2 Potential: “We’re Optimistic”
The actress talks to THR about the future of the limited series, the other TV character she’d like to play and the project she had to turn down because of the critically lauded HBO drama.
Ever since Big Little Lies wrapped its critically lauded run on HBO in April, there have been rumblings of a possible second season of the limited series.
Reese Witherspoon tells The Hollywood Reporter that those conversations are ongoing, and that she’s “optimistic” about doing more of the drama, which is based on Liane Moriarty’s book of the same name.
Ahead of the Emmys, the Oscar-winning actress chatted with THR about the future of the limited series, the other TV character she’d like to play and the project she had to turn down because of Big Little Lies.
There’s been talk of a potential second season of Big Little Lies. What’s the latest?
Honestly, it’s totally in [novelist] Liane Moriarty’s court. The ball is definitely in her court because these characters were born of her mind and her imagination, and we just want to see if she’s interested in creating more story about these characters. She really created an incredible road map for us that we followed almost to a T. Right now, we’re happy if this is all there is. We’re optimistic that there might be more.
And you’re talking to writer David E. Kelley about a second season as well?
Yes, he’s our producing partner.
What goes into the decision of continuing a limited series?
It just comes down to, do we have the story? It was a stand-alone book and there was nothing after that, so it’s up to the mind of the writer to create the vision for the journey of these characters. Right now, we have nothing. We don’t have a book. We’re certainly not going to create it out of thin air. [Moriarty’s] very deft at, first of all, creating tension through mystery, but also digging deep into the very intimate lives of female friendships — their relationships, their romantic relationships, their parenting styles.
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Jennifer Aniston, Reese Witherspoon to Star in Series About TV Morning Shows
More than a decade after Friends wrapped its run, star Jennifer Aniston is plotting her return to the small screen.
In one of the largest TV packages to date, Aniston and Reese Witherspoon are attached to star in an untitled series exploring morning shows and the larger New York media scene that they inhabit.
The package, which has not yet hit the market, is expected to be taken out to premium cable outlets like HBO and streaming services including Netflix. Given the stars attached, it is expected to draw significant interest from multiple bidders.
The project is based on an original idea and is being spearheaded by former HBO head of drama Michael Ellenberg and his newly launched film and TV production company Media Res. Jay Carson (House of Cards) is attached to pen the script and exec produce. Academy Award nominee Steve Kloves (Wonder Boys, Harry Potter) will executive produce. Witherspoon will also executive produce alongside her Hello Sunshine banner topper Lauren Levy Neustadter. Aniston also will be credited as an executive producer.
Aniston and Witherspoon, who memorably guest starred as Aniston’s younger sister on Friends, have remained friends over the years.
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Reese Witherspoon’s Hello Sunshine Sets Two Novels For Screen
Reese Witherspoon’s new company Hello Sunshine has set up to produce the Gail Honeyman novel Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine and the Catherine Steadman novel Something in the Water.
The latter will be adapted by Julia Cox and was acquired by Fox 2000 for Witherspoon and Lauren Neustadter to produce with Temple Hill’s Marty Bowen, Wyck Godfrey and Jaclyn Huntling. Witherspoon will develop that one solely to produce, but Eleanor Oliphant will be a potential star vehicle for her.
Witherspoon, who produced the book-generated films Gone Girl and Wild and the HBO series Big Little Lies before splitting with Pacific Standard partner Bruna Papandrea, formed Hello Sunshine and set Neustader to be Head of Film and TV, with the goal of continuing to find female-centric literary properties for film and TV projects.
Both of these books are by female first-time authors. Eleanor Oliphant is the story of an out-of-the-ordinary heroine who goes from living a lonely life to realizing the only way to survive is to open your heart. The novel was just published by the Penguin Random House imprint Pamela Dorman Books. Something in the Water is about a woman whose life is on the upswing. She’s about to get married and is establishing a successful career as a documentary filmmaker. Then she’s thrown a curveball that challenges her ethics and priorities and her life begins to slip from her grasp. APA sold the book and reps the scribe and author. The novel will be published by Bantam in the U.S. and Simon & Schuster in the UK after making a splash at the London Book Fair.
Eleanor Oliphant author Honeyman is repped by The Artists Partnership, Emily Hayward Whitlock and Madeleine Milburn Ltd.
April 1, 2017 • Category: "A Wrinkle in Time"
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Comments Off on Reese talks “Big Little Lies” on Facebook Live chat
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…
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February 17, 2017 • Category: Pacific Standard
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Comments Off on ‘Legion’s Noah Hawley Pacts Two Fox Searchlight Pics; Helming Reese Witherspoon In ‘Pale Blue Dot’
‘Legion’s Noah Hawley Pacts Two Fox Searchlight Pics; Helming Reese Witherspoon In ‘Pale Blue Dot’
Noah Hawley, who followed his Emmy-winning minseries Fargo by creating the FX drama Legion, has set a pair of films at Fox Searchlight. Top of the list is Pale Blue Dot, a sci-fi project that has Reese Witherspoon starring. Set up as a spec by Brian C Brown and Elliott DiGuiseppi, Pale Blue Dot tells the story of a female astronaut who, upon returning to Earth from a mission in space, begins to slowly unravel and lose touch with reality. Witherspoon will produce with Bruna Papandrea.
Through his production company 26 Keys, Hawley is also developing with Searchlight Buried Bodies, the working title of a drama inspired by the Lake Pleasant Bodies Case from the mid-1970s. Attorneys Frank Armani and Francis Belge faced the ethical dilemma of upholding attorney-client privilege after their client, accused murderer Robert Garrow, revealed to them the location of the bodies of two additional missing girls. The lawyers verified the findings, but did not report them to police, even though one of the lawyers had a daughter who was a classmate of sisters of one of the murdered girls. The lawyers only divulged information after the killer escaped prison and threatened one of the attorneys. The pair was reviled by the families of the victims and ostracized by the community for their agonizing commitment to their oath. Hawley is repped by CAA.
January 31, 2017 • Category: Pacific Standard
, Role Rumors
Comments Off on Oddlot Teams With Bruna Papandrea & Reese Witherspoon On ‘The Thing About Jellyfish’
Oddlot Teams With Bruna Papandrea & Reese Witherspoon On ‘The Thing About Jellyfish’
OddLot Entertainment has acquired screen rights to the bestselling Ali Benjamin YA novel The Thing About Jellyfish. OddLot principal Gigi Pritzker will produce with Bruna Papandrea and Reese Witherspoon. Rachel Shane will be executive producer. The script will be written by Molly Smith Metzler, making her feature debut after writing on the shows Casual and Orange Is The New Black. She’s also a playwright whose credits include Elemeno Pea, Close Up Space, and Carve.
The book follows Suzy as she enters seventh grade. After her former best friend dies in a drowning accident, she is convinced the true cause of the tragedy must have been a rare jellyfish sting — things don’t just happen for no reason. Retreating into a silent world of imagination, she crafts a plan to prove her theory, even if it means traveling the globe, alone. Benjamin’s debut novel was a 2015 National Book Award finalist.
Papandrea and Witherspoon have produced films that include Gone Girl and Wild, as well as the upcoming HBO series Big Little Lies. OddLot co-produced and co-financed the Oscar-nominated Hell Or High Water, and debuted Landline at Sundance where it was acquired by Amazon. OddLot’s other films include Rabbit Hole, The Way, Way Back and Drive.
OddLot, a division of Madison Wells Media, also has the TV series Genius, about the world’s most brilliant innovators, with Ron Howard set to direct a pilot that has Geoffrey Rush playing Albert Einstein.
Metzler is repped by WME and Grandview, Benjamin by CAA, and Witherspoon by CAA and LBI Entertainment.
December 9, 2016 • Category: Pacific Standard
, Role Rumors
Comments Off on Reese Witherspoon, Naomi Watts Team for ‘Penguin Bloom’ Adaptation
Reese Witherspoon, Naomi Watts Team for ‘Penguin Bloom’ Adaptation
Reese Witherspoon, Naomi Watts and Bruna Papandrea are teaming up for an adaptation of the best-selling Australian book Penguin Bloom.
The story follows Sam Bloom, a Sydney-based mother of three who, following an accident, becomes paralyzed from the chest down and receives help from an unlikely source — a magpie named Penguin that helps the family adjust to Sam’s new condition.
New York Times best-selling author Bradley Trevor Greive wrote Penguin Bloom, which features photographs from Sam’s husband, Cameron.
Watts is set to star in the feature, which also is being produced by Aussie-based producer Emma Cooper.
Penguin Bloom will film in Australia. The production is still looking for a screenwriter and a director.
Even though Witherspoon and Papandrea have gone separate ways as producing partners under their Pacific Standard banner, which is responsible for hits like Gone Girl and Wild, the duo are still set to produce a number of projects they have in development. This includes an adaptation of Jessica Knoll’s Luckiest Girl Alive.
Watts will next be seen in Colin Trevorrow’s The Book of Henry and will star opposite Brie Larson in the adaptation of The Glass Castle.
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