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).
‘From Book To Script To Screen,’ Reese Witherspoon Is Making Roles For Women
Actor Reese Witherspoon became famous in her 20s after starring in films like Election and Legally Blonde, but by the time she entered her 30s, the film landscape had shifted. DVD sales had shrunk and smaller, female-centered movies were in short supply. It was nearly impossible to find good leading roles for women.
Witherspoon began asking different movie studios what projects they were developing for women. “With the exclusion of one studio, everybody said ‘Nothing. Nothing with a female lead,’ ” she says.
So Witherspoon decided to start a production company and began adapting books with complex female characters into films and TV shows. The idea was to create better parts for women — and to help female authors get their stories sold.
Witherspoon’s company spearheaded the adaptation of Gone Girl, Wild and Big Little Lies, among other titles. Looking back, Witherspoon describes her shift into producing as “betting on myself.”
Last Tuesday, Reese and Jennifer Aniston attended a screening of The Morning Show at the Paley Center in New York City – they screened the first episode of the show, then took part in a Q&A. Reese wore a dress by Andrew Gn, with Wolford tights, jewellery by Lana, and YSL heels. During the event, Reese spoke about what she admires most about female morning show hosts, and wanting to explore female anger on screen. Find some video interviews from the red carpet below, and photos in our Gallery.
Reese attended the New York City premiere of The Morning Show yesterday evening, and looked fabulous! She posed on the black carpet with her co-star Jennifer Aniston, and the two-some were joined by the rest of their co-stars and crew during the night too. Reese looked sleek in a sequinned black and gold dress by Celine, with Christian Louboutin heels and jewellery by Taffin. Reese and Jennifer talked to reporters at the event about social media, morning shows, and the work they put into this series. We have the first high quality photos in our Gallery for you, and video interviews from the red carpet below.
Check back for more from the event and The Morning Show promotion throughout the week! Reese will be appearing on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon tonight.
Reese and Jennifer Aniston attended the Variety x Apple TV+ Collaborations event on Friday to promote the launch of AppleTV+ and talk about The Morning Show. Find high quality photos in our Gallery, and video snippets from the conversation below:
Apple TV+ Stars, Creators Preview New Series at Variety Collaborations Event
The casts and creative teams behind six of Apple’s forthcoming original series appeared at the Variety & Apple TV+ Collaborations event on Friday, offering behind-the-scenes info on the nascent streamer’s shows.
In a series of panels presented at Avra Beverly Hills, the audience of entertainment-industry awards voters learned firsthand how many of the shows came to be, how the stars felt diving into their complex roles, and a even a few plot tidbits ahead of the launch of Apple TV+ on Nov. 1.
‘The Morning Show’: How the #MeToo Movement Led to Big Changes on Apple’s Flagship Drama
Since it was first announced in November 2017, many rumors have popped up about “The Morning Show.” The Jennifer Aniston- and Reese Witherspoon-starring drama would be a family-friendly look at morning talk shows. It would steer away from topical, controversial content. It would only be available to people with Apple devices.
None of this is true, and as we approach its November 1 release date, the curtain over the biggest Apple TV+ series in the inaugural lineup is slowly being drawn back. During a press conference Sunday afternoon [13th October] — fittingly held at a Hollywood hotel that hasn’t even opened yet — Aniston and Witherspoon joined co-star Steve Carell and producers Kerry Ehrin, Michael Ellenberg, and director Mimi Leder to discuss the series’ veiled development.
Speaking to the show’s mature and timely content — which is very much a part of the hourlong drama — the group addressed how the #MeToo movement affected their story.
“The show existed before #MeToo happened,” Aniston said. “The show was always going to be pulling a curtain [back] on the New York media world and the morning talk shows. [But] once #MeToo happened, the conversation drastically changed and we just incorporated it [into the show.]”
When it earned a two-season, direct-to-series order from Apple in late 2017, “The Morning Show” was developed under writer and executive producer Jay Carson. But the #MeToo movement picked up steam shortly thereafter, and Apple soon signed Ehrin to an overall deal and hired her as the series’ new showrunner. Carson reportedly left amicably due to creative differences.
“We all sat and thought about what the tone would be,” Aniston said. “We wanted it to be raw, honest, vulnerable, and messy — and not black-and-white, obviously. As we were all stumbling along trying to figure out what is this narrative and what’s happening, this show was writing itself as we went along — well, the news was helping us.”
To promote the November premiere of The Morning Show, Reese can be seen on the cover of the new issue of Harper’s Bazaar magazine! The magazine features a brand new photoshoot themed around ‘facing your fears’, and Natalie Portman interviews Reese about The Morning Show and some of her other upcoming producing work. In the behind the scenes video, Reese talks about her favourite books, including Wild. Find all the content within this post!
From boldly addressing the nuances of #MeToo on her new Apple TV+ drama, The Morning Show, to canoodling with a five-foot python for BAZAAR, the 43-year-old actress and producer takes risks without even wobbling in her stilettos. Friend Natalie Portman talked to the star about how she makes it all look so easy.
NATALIE PORTMAN: Hi! I’m so happy to talk to you for Harper’s BAZAAR’s Daring issue. Was it scary to be shot with a spider on your face?
REESE WITHERSPOON: The spider didn’t scare me, but there was a snake at the photo shoot that did. This is going to sound weird, but I like insects and spiders. I was kind of a tomboy growing up. It grosses everybody out, but I like to pick up bugs.
NP: What, if anything, are you actually afraid of?
RW: I get scared of being on really tall buildings and looking down.
NP: And you did that too for your Bazaar shoot! I’m impressed. Speaking of impressed, I watched the first three episodes of The Morning Show last night. It’s wonderful!
Reese Witherspoon’s Book Club Is Keeping Hello Sunshine on Top
Reese Witherspoon doesn’t sleep. At least that’s the consensus of her Hello Sunshine team. Since 2016, Witherspoon has been the face and founder of Hello Sunshine, an integrated media and production company focused on women, and she hasn’t taken a break since.
Through prestige dramas and high-profile ensembles (Big Little Lies, The Morning Show), Hello Sunshine has been highlighting “female authorship and agency” within all parts of storytelling around the clock. The foundation of this rapidly growing company is a community nearly a million and a half strong: Reese’s Book Club.
“She doesn’t sleep a lot, judging by the time stamps,” jokes Charlotte Koh, Hello Sunshine’s head of digital media and unscripted. Witherspoon’s Santa Monica office is filled with career memories: hiking boots from Wild, a print of Johnny and June Carter Cash, photos of herself with costars, and neat stacks of books. It makes sense that the woman known for portraying Tracy Flick and Elle Woods uses every last minute of her day.
Witherspoon is across town filming the upcoming Hulu miniseries adaptation of Celeste Ng’s Little Fires Everywhere (September 2017’s book club pick). Lauren Neustadter, Hello Sunshine’s head of film and TV, witnesses daily the actress’s commitment to reading: “If they’re changing the lighting or they’re moving the camera, you have 20 minutes. [She’ll] be like, ‘Okay, I need to knock out this manuscript. I’ve got this script. I have a book to read.’ ” Neustadter estimates that Witherspoon can take a book down in as little as 48 hours—necessary for keeping up with her community.
The book club was not something that the company started for Witherspoon; she was already doing it on her own.
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