Archive for the ‘Media Alerts’ Category
Reese Witherspoon’s Second Act: Big-Time Producer
From Oscar-winning actress to Emmy-winning producer: After taking charge of her career, she makes deals with HBO and Apple.
A few months ago, Reese Witherspoon realized everything had changed.
HBO’s glossy, seven-episode drama, “Big Little Lies” — which Ms. Witherspoon starred in and helped produce — won eight Emmy Awards, including the one for best limited series. From the Microsoft Theater stage in Los Angeles on Sept. 17, to swelling applause, Ms. Witherspoon spoke of how important it was to bring “women to the front of their own stories and make them the heroes of their own stories.”
Not long after that night, she found herself in demand.
“It opened a lot of doors for me,” Ms. Witherspoon said in an interview this past week. “People wanted to be in business with me as a producer in the TV space. My mission was to create television for other women, for other female storytellers that are actresses, other directors and other writers. I think it just clicked in people’s minds.”
Since then, Ms. Witherspoon has transformed herself from an actress increasingly frustrated with the roles she was being offered into a producer with a slate of projects that puts her in the company of series creators like Dick Wolf, Shonda Rhimes and Ryan Murphy.
Last month, HBO ordered a second season of “Big Little Lies,” with Ms. Witherspoon’s production company, Hello Sunshine, among the key companies behind the show. In addition, Apple has bought three Hello Sunshine projects as part of its push to compete with Netflix, Amazon and Hulu in streaming. That amounts to a third of Apple’s TV purchases to date.
One of the series — which is set to star Ms. Witherspoon and Jennifer Aniston as hosts of a fictional morning news show — marks one of the most expensive deals in TV history: With a 20-episode commitment, Apple has pledged roughly $240 million to make it, according to two people familiar with the series. Ms. Witherspoon’s other two Apple projects will star Octavia Spencer and Kristen Wiig.
Apple’s top TV executives, Zack Van Amburg and Jamie Erlicht, said in a statement that Ms. Witherspoon had “an extraordinary knack for being a step ahead of the zeitgeist.”
The rise of Hello Sunshine — with projects centered on strong, complicated women — syncs up perfectly with the #timesup movement, which counts Ms. Witherspoon as a major player, and gives evidence that the risk-averse Hollywood establishment may have learned something from the blockbuster success of “Wonder Woman” last year.
“People are desperate for this kind of storytelling about the female heroes that have always been in the shadows and now are coming into the light,” Ms. Witherspoon said.
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Reese is amongst a very star-studded line-up on the cover of this years Vanity Fair Hollywood issue, which has been released online today. Alongside her Big Little Lies co-star Nicole Kidman and A Wrinkle In Time co-star Oprah Winfrey, Reese is joined by Tom Hanks, Zendaya, Jessica Chastain, Claire Foy, Michael Shannon, Harrison Ford, Gal Gadot, Robert DeNiro, Michael B. Jordan and exiting Vanity Fair editor Graydon Carter – what a line-up!! The issue consists of the fold-out cover photoshoot, and a small blurb on each star. Find the photos in our Gallery and Reese text snippet below:
• Vanity Fair – Hollywood Issue 2018
• 2018 – Session #001
• On the Set > Vanity Fair (2018)
The 2018 Vanity Fair Hollywood Portfolio: 12 Extraordinary Stars, One Momentous Year
A super-stellar lineup, including Oprah Winfrey, Robert De Niro, Nicole Kidman, and Reese Witherspoon—plus, one special cameo—took advantage of their downtime during the shoot of a historic V.F. cover.
In the quarter-century since Vanity Fair launched the Hollywood Issue, show business has changed in fundamental ways, as have magazines. But a star-studded, foldout cover remains a surefire thrill. This year’s portfolio goes inside the cover’s creation, which took place in L.A. and New York as Annie Leibovitz photographed 12 of film and TV’s most iconic actors—with a non-actor corralled for the shoot for his last V.F. hurrah.
The films and TV shows represented by the actors in this year’s Hollywood Portfolio—which for the first time offers a behind-the-scenes look at the shoot—took the #MeToo movement in stride, offering strong women in leading roles, as well as strong men supporting them. Here we have Reese Witherspoon and Nicole Kidman summoning the women’s battle cry of Big Little Lies alongside Tom Hanks as Ben Bradlee, the indispensable sidekick to The Post heroine Katharine Graham. There’s also Claire Foy and Gal Gadot, embodiments of their formidable characters, the Queen and Wonder Woman, and one possible future female president in the mix. Movies have always thrived on relevance, and this year’s cover stars don’t hesitate to make a statement about the times we’re living in and the changes that need to happen.
REESE WITHERSPOON, actor, producer.
39 films, including A Wrinkle in Time (2018); one Academy Award.
Fresh from the starting gate, Reese Witherspoon radiated poignant yearning in The Man in the Moon. Only 15 at the time, Witherspoon was a natural on-screen, but a lot of naturals turn unnatural with time; not our Reese. Her special gift is for clear carbonated comedy, most memorably as Legally Blonde’s Elle Woods, whose bunny fluff conceals a snap-crackle-and-pop brain. Rom-coms aplenty followed, girded by dramatic triumphs: country madonna June Carter in Walk the Line and scary momster Madeline Martha Mackenzie in HBO’s smash mini-series Big Little Lies.
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Preview: Oprah Winfrey hosts panel on impact of Time’s Up campaign
Some of the most prominent women in Hollywood open up to Oprah Winfrey about the impact of the Time’s Up campaign on raising awareness of sexual harassment in the workplace, and what they’d like to see in the future, in a revealing discussion to be broadcast on CBS’ “Sunday Morning” January 14.
Actresses America Ferrera, Natalie Portman, Tracee Ellis-Ross and Reese Witherspoon, producer Shonda Rhimes (“Scandal”), Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy, and attorney Nina Shaw gathered with Winfrey in Pasadena, California, earlier this week to talk about the efforts to bring change to how women are treated in the entertainment industry and around the world.
“There’s moments that you have to evaluate whether silence is going to be your only option,” says Witherspoon. “And certain times that was our only option. But now is not that time.”
Witherspoon talks about the fact that she was sexually assaulted by a director when she was just 16.
There is no playbook for these times, Winfrey notes, especially when it comes to how people should talk about the topic — or to each other.
“How do we as a society have a mature, nuanced conversation about how men and women should be relating to each other?” Winfrey asks. “Because there’s so many men and women now who are uncomfortable in their workplaces because of all that’s been uncovered and aren’t just really sure how to be. What do we say to them?”
“We’re humans. We’re all humans,” replied Portman. “And I think it’s treating people as fellow humans … it’s not because you have a daughter that you respect a woman, it’s not because you have a wife or a sister. It’s because we’re human beings, whether we’re related to a man or not. We deserve the same respect.”
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Reese and her Big Little Lies co-stars and crew are named as one of Entertainment Weekly’s ‘Entertainers of the Year’ in their Best of 2017 issue. The show itself is also listed as one of the best of the year. We have scans in our Gallery and the issue is on news-stands now.
Big Little Lies cast and crew on their surprise hit of 2017
When Reese Witherspoon and Nicole Kidman first got together to discuss bringing Liane Moriarty’s best-selling novel Big Little Lies to television, they never predicted the critical love, awards, and audience adulation that would follow (including a recently announced season 2).
“This never happens! It’s been simply extraordinary,” says Kidman. “It’s been such a surprise because as much as we believed in it, we didn’t know whether it would connect.”
In fact, viewers flipped from the start over the story of three mothers (Kidman, Witherspoon, and Shailene Woodley) who become entwined when their small children are placed in the same class at a private school in tony Monterey, California. Each mother had a compelling story line: There’s Kidman’s Celeste — beautiful, with a seemingly perfect life and handsome husband (Alexander Skarsgård) — who hides her domestic-abuse truth; Witherspoon’s Madeline, a feisty ringleader who must contend with her ex-husband and his perfect new wife (Zoë Kravitz); and Jane (Woodley), a young single mom hiding a big secret, who ends up tangling with alpha mom Renata (Laura Dern).
Having TV veteran David E. Kelley write the entire series and director Jean-Marc Vallée behind the camera for all seven episodes gave Big Little Lies a sense of cohesion — to say nothing of the beautiful vistas, the aspirational real estate, the infectious soundtrack — that resulted in the feeling that this was one long feature film.
“I was just going to do the first couple,” says Vallée. But he quickly found he had become too emotionally engaged. “I felt like I couldn’t abandon it—or these women.” Us either.
Big Little Lies will return for a season 2 on HBO.
Reese and her A Wrinkle In Time female co-stars grace the cover of the latest issue of US current affairs magazine Time! The magazine has a new photoshoot of Reese, Oprah Winfrey, Mindy Kaling and Storm Reid, with an accompanying article about the making of the film. It’s a great read and the start of what is likely to be a big promotional campaign for the film, which will be released in the US on March 9th. The scans, photoshoot, and new stills from the feature have been added to our Gallery.
Pick up a copy of the magazine on news-stands if you can!
• Time – December 29th 2017 x8
• 2017 – Session #017 x1
• A Wrinkle In Time > Stills x2 more
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How Reese Witherspoon Plans to Promote Female Directors and Writers Next Year
Reese Witherspoon is planning to take her mission to help women up a notch in 2018.
While at a holiday-themed event at the Tiffany & Co. Fifth Avenue flagship store — she’s a spokesperson for the jewelry company — the 41-year-old actress and mother of three said that women helping other woman is her top priority come the New Year.
“My production company Hello Sunshine is all based on telling stories about women by women,” she told PEOPLE. “So we want to create more opportunity and hire more female directors and more female writers.”
This year, the star famously produced and starred in the female-led HBO show Big Little Lies, which earned her several accolades already. Next up, in 2018, she’s starring alongside other powerful women such as Oprah Winfrey and Mindy Kaling in A Wrinkle in Time, due out Mar. 9. “There’s a beautiful young woman at the center of the story, and it’s an epic story about good versus evil,” she explained.
She also announced plans to produce Luckiest Girl Alive, a movie version of Jessica Knoll’s book (and a favorite of book clubs across the nation).
In the meantime, she’s excited for a few moments to relax during the holidays, and is looking forward to “food, always food! I like gingerbread houses, cookies, chocolates … things like that.”
She’s also shopping for some special gifts, and considers herself quite the gift-giver. “I take a lot of time to think about what people really want and really like,” said Witherspoon. “For a go-to hostess gift, I like monogrammed napkins or a beautiful box of chocolates.”
For daughter Ava, she wants to get her something “really beautiful and simple, like a piece from Tiffany & Co. It’s like an heirloom. My mom gave me earrings from there when I was young, and I still have them.”
One thing she won’t be doing this holiday season? Making any New Year’s resolutions.
“I don’t believe in New Year’s resolutions,” she said. “I think you sort of have to keep striving to be the best version of yourself at all moments. Sometimes you fail and sometimes you succeed. And I think it’s important to always try and do your best.”
Reese graces the cover of the Winter issue of American home magazine Domino. The magazine has a brand new photoshoot and gives us a look at Reese’s Hello Sunshine offices in Santa Monica – I love the picture of Johnny & June Cash in there! In the interview Reese talks about her Hello Sunshine studio space and the roles she is creating through the brand. Scans from the magazine have been added to our Gallery for you:
We caught up with Witherspoon in the brand new studio of her cross-platform multimedia company, Hello Sunshine, to talk about her drive to empower women through female-driven narratives. “Women need to be at the forefront of telling their own stories,” says the superstar actress and entrepreneur, who also shared how her team designed a positive, collaborative space.
The Domino Winter Issue is on newsstands December 1. Pick up your copy soon and subscribe now!
• Domino (US) – Holiday 2017 x9
December 9, 2017 • Category: "A Wrinkle in Time"
, "Big Little Lies"
, "Untitled Morning Show TV Project"
, Articles & Interviews
, Awards & Nominations
, Gallery Updates
, Media Alerts
, News & Gossip
Comments Off on The Hollywood Reporter’s 2017 Women in Entertainment Power 100
The Hollywood Reporter’s annual Women In Hollywood feature was released this week, which included their Power 100 list – Reese was of course featured within it! Read their brief interview with her below and find a scan from the magazine in our Gallery. The special collectors issue is on sale now and has Jennifer Lawrence on the cover.
The Hollywood Reporter’s 2017 Women in Entertainment Power 100
Meet the dynamos who rocked Hollywood by creating groundbreaking TV and ‘Wonder’-ful films, scoring piles of awards and historic paydays and making room for more women to rise as the industry’s dark side was brought to light (thanks in part to three pioneers on this list) in a watershed that has already changed entertainment — and the world. Take that, Harvey!
HOW THR PICKS THE POWER 100 This year’s list spotlights 16 standout industry leaders who dominated the 2017 entertainment and media landscape and groups the rest by their role in the Hollywood ecosystem — from the film forces (working mostly on the big screen) to the reps (agents, et al). Honorees are listed alphabetically within each category.
CATEGORY Power Squad
Witherspoon scored big in 2017 with HBO’s acclaimed Big Little Lies (she starred and produced), for which she and fellow producer Nicole Kidman won an Emmy for outstanding limited series. “It showed me that audiences want to see a more accurate depiction of the female experience,” says Witherspoon, who launched her women-focused media brand Hello Sunshine in November 2016. She continues to buy book properties (including deals for A White Lie, with Zendaya attached, and Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine, in which Witherspoon would also star) and will hit the big screen in March in Ava DuVernay’s A Wrinkle in Time. And in a deal that has Friends fans fawning, she recently sold a new series to Apple in which she’ll star opposite Jennifer Aniston.
Best thing to come out of the Weinstein scandal “Female solidarity.”
How I’ve helped women coming up in Hollywood “Call them, email them, work with them, and support them on social media.”
Hollywood woman I’d switch jobs with for a day Dana Walden
The three guests at my dream dinner party would be “Oprah, Mindy Kaling, Ava DuVernay and my mom.”
I wish men in Hollywood knew “What it feels like to be the only one in the room.”
Last show I binged Catastrophe, Westworld
TV or film character I most identify with “The squirrel in Ice Age constantly chasing an acorn.”
How I’d spend an extra day “Sleep!”
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