Coronavirus: Reese Witherspoon, Kerry Washington on canceled premiere, ‘social distancing’
Coronavirus has thrown a wrench into kickoff plans for Reese Witherspoon and Kerry Washington’s upcoming Hulu miniseries “Little Fires Everywhere.”
The series, based on the bestselling 2017 novel by Celeste Ng, has received rapturous reviews ahead of its March 18 release, with USA TODAY writing that “the two producer/stars not only meet but easily exceed towering expectations.”
“Fires” charts what happens when the delicate balance in the postcard-perfect suburb of Shaker Heights, Ohio, is thrown out of whack by the clash of two families. Set in 1998, the show watches white, rich, starkly blonde Elena Richardson (Witherspoon) and her husband, Bill (Joshua Jackson) cope with the arrival of artist and single mother Mia Warren (Washington) and her daughter Pearl (Lexi Underwood).
A splashy premiere was planned for Thursday night in Los Angeles, but has been canceled, like all major public events in Hollywood and beyond, in the wake of the coronavirus spread.
Today, the show soldiered on with its press day in Beverly Hills. Many of those interviews moved to phones (including this interview, at USA TODAY’s request). Media attending were asked by publicists to “please refrain from shaking hands/selfies/touching on-site. Additionally, should anyone feel they may be getting sick, we respectfully ask that the outlet send a different press member in your place.”
Witherspoon and Washington spoke jointly with USA TODAY, with more of the interview to follow next week.
Question: How are you feeling today about the coronavirus news?
Reese Witherspoon: I’m feeling everything that everyone out there is feeling: Confusion, stress. I’m trying to look for the most scientific facts and not listen to too much opinion. I feel flooded by opinion. (I’m) talking to friends who I find very grounding. But Kerry and I are similar in that we both have young children and older parents and (are) just navigating that thoughtfully.
Kerry Washington: As Reese said, (I’m) trying to gather the information that we need to get in order to take care of ourselves and our loved ones, but also remembering that your stress level can impact your immunity, and so to try and be calm as well.
Witherspoon: It’s never happened in my lifetime. Talking to my mother and hearing a historical perspective is interesting from her. But I think we’re all in new territory.
Q: What are your thoughts on the cancellation of tonight’s “Little Fires Everywhere” premiere?
Witherspoon: (It was) absolutely necessary. Social distancing is critical right now as we are trying to protect our most vulnerable.
Q: Is it true that the second season of “The Morning Show” is now on hiatus for two weeks?
Witherspoon: Yes that’s correct. We were filming. I shot yesterday and then Apple made the decision last night. And I think it was the right one.
Earlier in the week Reese jetted over to France to attend the Armani Prive Haute Couture Show during Paris Fashion Week. Reese was sitting next to her The Morning Show co-star Bel Powley (she played Claire), and was also pictured with actress Juliette Binoche, the designer himself Giorgio Armani, and his niece Roberta Armani. Reese looked striking in a black embellished jumpsuit by the brand.
German news show ZDF Leute Heute has a good report on Reese’s appearance including snippets from an interview on the red carpet – find screencaptures from that in our Gallery and watch the video here.
As posted about last night, Reese attended the Screen Actors Guild Awards in Los Angeles yesterday, where she was nominated for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series for Big Little Lies, and her The Morning Show co-stars Jennifer Aniston, Steve Carell and Billy Crudup were nominated for their performances. Congratulations to Jennifer who picked up the Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Drama Series SAG for The Morning Show! Watch Jennifer’s win in the video below, which has a few brief shots of Reese. No other wins for Reese’s shows unfortunately, but it looks she had a fun night anyway – she was snapped with her Big Little Lies co-stars Meryl Streep, Nicole Kidman, Zoe Kravitz and Laura Dern, and her friend Michelle Williams, amongst others! Reese looked absolutely stunning in a black and silver embellished dress by Celine, with Harry Winston jewellery, and a Tyler Ellis purse – I love this look on Reese!
We have over 150 gorgeous HQ photos in our Gallery for you:
Reese made another appearance at the TCA Winter Tour today, this time to preview The Morning Show! She was joined by Jennifer Aniston, Billy Crudup, producer and director Mimi Leder, and producer Michael Ellenberg. They talked about how the show has been received, the culture portrayed within the show, and season 2. Read reports from the panel below.
We’ll have a full set of pictures for you asap, but for now here’s a preview: HQ photos have been added to the Gallery:
‘The Morning Show’ Team on Steve Carell’s Season 2 Future, Season 1 Criticism
Although the first season of “The Morning Show” ended on Steve Carell’s former news anchor character, Mitch Kessler, who was fired at the top of the season amid sexual misconduct allegations, finally feeling the weight of what he did, there is no guarantee the second season will see him learn, grow or be around at all.
Although executive producer Michael Ellenberg said at the Television Critics Assn. press tour panel for the Apple TV Plus drama “certainly picks up where we ended” in terms of the fallout that will have to come after anchors Alex Levy (Jennifer Aniston) and Bradley Jackson (Reese Witherspoon) outed their network for knowing more about the allegations against Mitch earlier than they had led on, when it comes to Mitch himself, Ellenberg said they are still discussing if he will be back onscreen, as Carell’s original deal was only for the first season and they do not have a new one in place.
Aniston, who also executive produces, pointed out that although the show is “of course” about #MeToo, its messages are more widespread than that. “Gender dynamics, power dynamics, abuse of power — and not just sexual abuse of power but just power struggles in general,” are all story areas “The Morning Show” endeavors to explore.
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:
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