Jennifer Aniston & Reese Witherspoon On Battling Ageism, ‘The Morning Show’, & Dealing With Sexual Harassment In Hollywood
Among the many highlights of Apple TV+’s addictive The Morning Show are the quick-witted (and emotionally fraught) verbal sparring matches between America’s sweethearts Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon. On a recent afternoon in a suite at Claridge’s, however, the glossy, impeccably well-groomed pair are virtually cheerleading for each other in between feminist rants. “The most ageist stuff I ever heard was from financial advisors who said to me, ‘Start saving money now because at 40 you’re not going to be making anymore money,” says Witherspoon, leaning in towards me conspiratorially. “I make more money now in my 40s than I’ve made in my entire career… I remember a [specific] guy telling me that, and guess what? I fired him!” She pulls away and laughs. “That’s not a joke,” chimes in Aniston, grinning. “You tell them, sister!” rejoins Witherspoon.
You get the sense that Aniston and Witherspoon have been waiting their entire lives for a project like Apple TV+’s landmark series – for which both actresses are nominated for Best Actress in a TV Series: Drama at the Golden Globes tonight. Set over 24 days, the catalyst for the plot is a decidedly Today-esque scandal: Mitch (Steve Carrell), the long-term host of a morning news programme in Manhattan, is accused of sexually harassing coworkers and abruptly fired – much to the horror of Alex (Aniston), his co-host for the last 15 years. Brought in as his replacement on the whim of the ambitious head of the news division, Cory (Billy Crudup), is the fiery, inexperienced reporter Bradley (Witherspoon), who has a habit of going rogue on live television, pushing Alex even closer to the edge.
Critics may have been divided over the first episodes of the series – but, taken as a whole, its 10 hour-long instalments represent a more nuanced depiction of the fallout from #MeToo than any other series since the Weinstein allegations cracked the foundations of Hollywood. Through subplots that involve a host of what first appear to be minor characters – including junior network staffers played brilliantly by Bel Powley and Gugu Mbatha-Raw – The Morning Show broaches numerous thorny issues, from the nuances of sexual coercion (notably, Powley’s Claire has a consensual relationship with a much older senior weatherman) to the potentially exclusionary nature of mainstream feminism (“’Cause America loves a good Cinderella story as long as she’s a white girl,” says one of the few TV hosts of colour after she’s passed over for the job in favour of Bradley).
Reese attended the Golden Globe Awards in Beverly Hills last night! Reese was nominated as a producer for Best Television Series – Drama for both Big Little Lies and The Morning Show – unfortunately she went home empty-handed (neither show won any awards), but this seems insignificant given the incredible year she’s had! Her power as a producer was highlighted by entertainment interviewers on the red carpet, and it was just fantastic to see this, and to hear Reese talking so proudly about her work. Be sure to watch the red carpet video interviews further down this post. On the red carpet, Reese re-united with her Big Little Lies co-stars Nicole Kidman and Shailene Woodley, her Walk The Line/Inherent Vice co-star Joaquin Phoenix (), and her friend and hopeful future co-star Charlize Theron. Reese and her The Morning Show co-star Jennifer Aniston presented the first two awards of the night for TV Comedy Actor and TV Movie/Limited Series Actor. Reese looked gorgeous in a white custom Roland Mouret gown, with Tiffany & Co. jewellery, Louboutin heels and a Jimmy Choo purse.
Find the first photos in our Gallery, plus screencaptures from the red carpet interviews:
The final episode of The Morning Show‘s first season was released today! ‘The Interview’ was a dramatic if somewhat predictable end to the season, with a fantastic performance by Reese. What did you all think of the show?
Reese Witherspoon’s Hello Sunshine Is One of the Few Women-Led Success Stories at 2020 Golden Globes
It’s been a banner year for Hello Sunshine: The Reese Witherspoon-founded production company behind HBO’s “Big Little Lies” and Apple TV+’s “The Morning Show” scored six Golden Globe nominations Monday morning. Hello Sunshine and its two shows about strong women served as a bright spot in the historically male-dominated Golden Globes, which this year snubbed female filmmakers in a variety of critical film categories.
Hello Sunshine, which Witherspoon founded in 2016, has quickly made a name for itself in prestige television. The studio says it is focused on telling stories and creating content that celebrates women, and, so far, Hollywood has recognized its efforts; “Big Little Lies’” three Golden Globe nominations Monday come on top of the five the show received last year. (The series was ineligible for this year’s Emmys as HBO likely pushed its Season 2 release date to avoid competing with its own “Game of Thrones”, but the previous year the show earned eight Emmys.)
As for “The Morning Show,” the Apple TV+ tentpole scored three Golden Globe nominations Monday. The recognition could help Apple TV+ and Hello Sunshine maintain their momentum and keep “The Morning Show,” which has already announced a Season 2, in the cultural zeitgeist, especially if voters decide to turn those nominations into awards in January.
Hello Sunshine is working on several upcoming shows, including Hulu’s “Little Fires Everywhere,” Amazon Prime Video’s “Daisy Jones & The Six,” and Starz’s “Kin,” among others.
“When I’m awakened by shaking and my husband’s much too loud and excited voice at 5 AM, it must be a good day,” Witherspoon said in a statement. “I’ve been blessed to work with talented actors and creative teams throughout my career, but this year really takes the cake because I had the honor of working with two amazing groups of people on both ‘Big Little Lies’ and ‘The Morning Show!’ I can’t say enough about each actor, writer, producer creator and member of the hardworking crews that brought these stories to life. Acting is my first love and it was always my dream when I began producing and started Hello Sunshine that we would create smart and compelling stories with strong female voices at the center, but to have people actually enjoy the work we do is truly all I could have hoped for! I’m grateful to the HFPA and to my partners HBO and Apple, David E. Kelly and Kerry Ehrin, Nicole, Laura, Shailene, Zoe, Meryl, Jen, Steve, Billy, Mark, Gugu, Karen, and everyone who had a hand in bringing ‘Big Little Lies’ and ‘The Morning Show’ to life!”
And while the Hello Sunshine team has reason to celebrate, the Golden Globe nominations were especially kind to its distribution partner HBO. Monday’s announcements reaffirmed HBO’s hot streak, as the television studio received 11 Golden Globe nominations, far more than any of its peers; not even the Golden Globes’ snubbing of the divisive Season 8 of “Game of Thrones” slowed the studio down. (Only Kit Harington received a nomination on behalf of the show, in the Drama TV Series acting category.)
As new streaming services enter the market, it has become increasingly important for large entertainment companies to invest in original content. HBO, which received nominations for “Chernobyl,” “Barry,” “Big Little Lies,” and “Catherine the Great,” excels at this, and the power players behind events such as the Golden Globes and Emmys have taken note. The in-house success also bodes well for WarnerMedia’s upcoming HBO Max streaming service, which is slated to launch in May.
The penultimate episode of The Morning Show‘s first season was released on Friday. ‘Play The Queen’ was a dramatic, fast paced episode with lots of twists and manipulations. I’m intrigued to see how things go for Bradley and her decisions…
To coincide with receiving the Sherry Lansing Leadership Award and being named on the 2019 Women in Entertainment Power 100 from The Hollywood Reporter, Reese is featured on the cover of the December 11th issue of the magazine. Inside is a fantastic and in depth new interview, and a new photoshoot. Reese talks about how her career has developed, and there are some great quotes from co-stars and executives that have worked with her along the way. We’ll have scans for you as soon as we can!
How Reese Witherspoon Took Charge of Her Career and Changed Hollywood
Tired of dreadful scripts and degrading magazine spreads, the Oscar-winning actress, producer, entrepreneur and activist built an empire on her own taste and work ethic. Now she plots projects all over Hollywood and responds to critics of her paychecks: “Does it bother people when Kobe Bryant or LeBron James make their contract?”
“You ready for your eyes to roll back in your head?”
The warning comes an hour or so into lunch at L.A.’s members-only San Vicente Bungalows, once Reese Witherspoon has fished her phone from the depths of her designer purse and slid it across the table. There, on her screen, is an illustration that ran four years ago in Time magazine, accompanying a trend piece headlined “Hollywood’s New Domestic Divas.”
The Oscar-winning actress, who at the time had just launched her retail company, Draper James, is in the center, outfitted preposterously with a vacuum, an apron and an evening gown. She’s flanked by Gwyneth Paltrow, holding a strawberry shortcake her Goop devotees wouldn’t dare touch, and Jessica Alba, wielding an iron, despite her Honest company’s focus on diapers and baby wipes. Blake Lively and Lauren Conrad are pictured as well; with a mixing bowl (Lively had a lifestyle site) and cleaning supplies (Conrad’s Little Market sells everything but). They, too, are in formal-wear.
The passage of four years has not dulled Witherspoon’s outrage. She wondered: Where was George Clooney and his tequila? Or Mark Wahlberg and his burger joints? “What? Men are entrepreneurs but how dare we be anything more than actresses?” she asks, as a pair of attentive waiters clear the remains of her club sandwich. “We, as women, are expected to stay in our lane — that was the inference, and I had sleepless nights over it. I remember calling one of these other women going, ‘What are we doing about this?’ ”
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