The Hollywood Reporter are continuing their annual awards season ‘Roundtable’ series in the run-up to the Emmys, and they released their Drama Actress Roundtable this week. Unsurprisingly they include Reese, who has not one but three(!) TV shows in the running for Emmy nominations – Big Little Lies, The Morning Show and Little Fires Everywhere. Also included in the Roundtable are Jennifer Aniston (The Morning Show), Zendaya (Euphoria), Rose Byrne (Mrs America), Janelle Monae (Homecoming) and Helene Bonham-Carter (The Crown). The actresses sat down for a video call roundtable to discuss their careers, the industry and the Black Lives Matter protests and social unrest. The actresses also did individual photoshoots for the magazine, which were conducted remotely by Facetime.
Watch the roundtable interview below, and find the photoshoot and scans in our Gallery. Pick up a copy of the magazine today!
“I’m Not Settling for Lip Service”: Janelle Monae, Jennifer Aniston, Zendaya, Reese Witherspoon, Helena Bonham Carter, Rose Byrne and the Drama Actress Roundtable
Six top actresses get real about everything from dismantling systemic racism (“It can’t just be, ‘We’re going to march with you and do a hashtag'”) to fighting typecasting (“For the life of me, I could not escape ‘Rachel from “Friends”‘”).
The Hollywood Reporter’s Drama Actress Roundtable was set to take place two weeks before it actually did. But as the country hit a boil, erupting in protest following the killing of George Floyd, its early June timing no longer felt right.
The actresses — The Morning Show’s Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon (also of Little Fires Everywhere and Big Little Lies), Homecoming’s Janelle Monáe, Euphoria’s Zendaya, Mrs. America’s Rose Byrne and The Crown’s Helena Bonham Carter — collectively decided they needed the space and time to properly process what was happening around them. And with it, a chance to listen and learn.
Almost 20 Years After ‘Legally Blonde 2,’ Reese Witherspoon and Regina King Talk About Changing Hollywood
HBO’s “Watchmen,” Regina King plays Angela Abar, also known as the masked police detective Sister Night. A drama about the legacy of racial trauma, “Watchmen” shows us the way we live now through the lens of the eponymous 1986 graphic novel — a world in which costumed vigilantes are very much a real thing. Reese Witherspoon — who worked with King in “Legally Blonde 2” in 2003 — was in three shows recently: “Big Little Lies,” “The Morning Show” and “Little Fires Everywhere.” In the last one, set in upper-middle-class Shaker Heights, Ohio, in the ’90s, she plays Elena Richardson, an uptight white woman we would now call a Karen. Angela would arrest Elena for her white privilege.
Note: This conversation for Variety‘s Actors on Actors took place before the protests over police brutality swept through the United States — which is too bad, because “Watchmen,” which aired in the fall, was prescient about such things.
Reese Witherspoon: I feel like I met you when I was 23 years old.
Regina King: I know — we have grown children. We met each other on “Legally Blonde.” Remember when you got Sally Field to play that part? We were just fanning out. And you got to do that again on “Big Little Lies” with Meryl Streep. How do you do it, girl? Putting on your producer cap and your acting cap — are you wearing them simultaneously?
Witherspoon: Well, I try and make them an offer they can’t refuse. I knew I wanted to work with you too. I remember seeing you in “Jerry Maguire,” and I was like, “I’m going to work with her.” You had a spirit inside of you. You have won so many Emmys at this point. Do you have a favorite moment, or a moment that just sits in your heart, that you can never forget? Or the Oscar!
King: They’re all special moments. What about you? I remember when you won the Oscar, and I might have had one drink three times at the Vanity Fair party, and it was such a pure moment. I remember standing at the table eating In-N-Out burgers with your Oscar there. It was so joyous, but you were still my girl.
Reese Witherspoon’s phone stopped ringing. Now she’s making the calls
Sitting next to Nicole Kidman in makeup on the set of “Big Little Lies,” Reese Witherspoon had questions. Loads of questions. What was it like to work with Stanley Kubrick? How did you do the musical numbers in “Moulin Rouge!”? Witherspoon loves movies. At age 44, she has been working on sets for three decades and enjoys nothing more than digging into film lore.
Kidman, though, had more existential musings she wanted to explore. “Do you ever think about dying, Reese?” Kidman would ask her costar. “Because I think about it all the time.”
“And she’s like, ‘Nope, I don’t think about it because I know where I’m going,’” Kidman relates over the phone from her Nashville home. “I wish I had her certainty. Reese doesn’t fear things, that’s for certain.”
Hearing Kidman’s story, Witherspoon laughs, chalking her faith up to her Episcopal upbringing in Nashville. She went to church every Wednesday and Sunday, singing her heart out in the church choir for nine years and loving every minute of it.
“I don’t have a lot of fear, that’s true,” Witherspoon says. “There’s a time and a purpose and a place, and I don’t fear death, because I know there’s heaven. I know it.”
We’re talking on the phone in early May, Witherspoon from her home in Pacific Palisades, where she’s been sheltering in place with her husband, Quibi exec Jim Toth; her college-student daughter, Ava; and younger sons, Deacon and Tennessee. The national protests against racism and police violence following the police killing of another black man, George Floyd, are weeks away. At this moment, all I’m wondering is how Witherspoon can be so certain about the afterlife. It’d be nice to feel sure of something right now.
“My daughter asked me that the other day, and I’m like, ‘I don’t know. I just know,’” Witherspoon says. “I believe deeply that there’s a higher power — and I don’t know what that is — but I just don’t fear dying. A lot of people have these repressive experiences with religion, and I didn’t. I felt this incredible acceptance and that everyone has a gift and we’re all God’s children and your purpose in the world is to find the gifts that God gave you.”
Unlike the entitled woman she played on the Hulu limited series “Little Fires Everywhere,” Witherspoon possesses a self-awareness about her privilege and position, knowledge forged through 30 years of working in Hollywood, seeing and experiencing inequities that made her push for equal-pay-for-equal-work agreements and to start her own media company, Hello Sunshine, to, among other things, tell stories about women – all kinds of women.
The size-inclusive collection features embroidered eyelet one-pieces with ruffled necklines replete with Southern charm (Reese did have a hand in them, after all), high-waisted bikinis covered in sweet daisies, gingham galore, and breezy coverups. Plus, a percentage of proceeds will be donated to Girls Inc, an organization that, like Lands’ End and Draper James, believes in empowering future generations of women to be body positive and bold.
In an exclusive interview with OprahMag.com, Reese Witherspoon explains to us why this message is so vital.
“Body positivity stems from inclusivity, which is why it was so important for us to offer a range of sizes, from XS-3X, in the Draper James x Lands’ End collection. This is something that is extremely close to my heart, and something I’m extremely proud that we have accomplished.”
When asked how she, herself, models that confidence for her 20-year-old daughter, Ava (who is practically her mini-me) and fans, she says, “In my daily life, I try to do something every day that helps me appreciate the function of my body—whether that’s yoga or running outside—rather than solely its appearance. It’s a mindset I strive to keep and I encourage my daughter, and all young women, to work toward.”
Reese and Kerry Washington can be seen on the cover of the latest issue of Emmy magazine, promoting Little Fires Everywhere. The magazine has a gorgeous new photoshoot, and in the interview Reese, Kerry, their director and producing partners, and author Celeste Ng talk about how the book was developed into a show and how they dealt with some of the cultural issues within it. The magazine will be available on US news-stands on March 24th.
For Reese Witherspoon, Kerry Washington and their production partners, Little Fires Everywhere was — first and last — a passion project, sparking ardent confessions up and down the call sheet.
Kerry Washington was getting in touch with her inner pyromaniac last fall, and it was… fun.
Washington was on the set of Little Fires Everywhere, the new Hulu limited series in which she stars with Reese Witherspoon, and her character, an artist named Mia Warren, wielding dual lighters, was creating new art from the ruin of past art — setting fire to a big, ripped-up photo of Witherspoon’s character, a tightly wound mom named Elena Richardson.
“It was a cool moment,” Washington says. “Everybody wanted to watch the shooting of this scene. But we could only have a few people there, for safety reasons, and most of those people were firemen, who were giving us lectures about the fastest way off the lot.”
Playing With Fires: Reese Witherspoon and Kerry Washington join forces for Hulu’s Little Fires Everywhere
In the Cleveland suburb of Shaker Heights, Elena Richardson (Reese Witherspoon) is sitting down to dinner with her husband and four kids in the meticulously decorated dining room of her spacious home. Across town, single mom Mia Warren (Kerry Washington) is also sitting down to a meal with her daughter…at Lucky Palace, the Chinese restaurant where she recently landed a waitressing job. Mia and young Pearl (Lexi Underwood) are new to the city, and they don’t intend to stay long — certainly not long enough for the smoke to clear.
Hulu’s eight-episode limited series Little Fires Everywhere is based on Celeste Ng’s best-selling 2017 novel about a tight-knit (and uptight) Midwestern community in the ’90s and what two very different moms bring out in each other. “They have this commonality between them, which is that they believe they’re doing what’s best for their children,” says showrunner Liz Tigelaar, who worked on the Apple TV+ series The Morning Show that starred Witherspoon as an impulsive TV reporter. “Through the story, that notion gets unraveled in both of them. They each hold up a mirror to the other, and the results change their lives, the lives of their families, and the lives of the people in the town.”
Because, as the title suggests, this story ends with fire — or rather, that’s where it starts. Both the book and the series open with a house fire, one that seems to point to Elena’s problem child, Izzy (Megan Stott), as the person holding the match. But nothing’s quite as it seems. Slowly, we get to know the rest of Elena’s children — Lexie (Jade Pettyjohn), the overachiever with a thing for cardigans, Trip (Jordan Elsass), the archetypal jock who just needs to find the right girl to reveal his heart of gold, and Moody (Gavin Lewis), the sensitive guy destined to live in the friend zone. Then there’s Pearl Warren, the new girl, who finds herself deeply entangled in the lives of all of the Richardsons. It’s a story about the simplest of human interactions, and how those interactions can provoke larger conversations about racism and classism. That’s what made Ng’s novel a success and why Witherspoon selected it as the fourth pick in her book club.
In a nice moment of light relief, Reese is gracing the cover of the April issue of Vanity Fair magazine! The article focuses on Reese’s love of books and her success in turning books into well-received movies and TV series with strong female leads – including Little Fires Everywhere. It’s a long but good read, and always really nice to see Reese being celebrated and acknowledged in this way. The magazine also has a gorgeous new photoshoot! Read the interview below or at Vanity Fair, and find the photoshoot in our Gallery. We’ll have scans for you when the magazine is released on news-stands.
In recent years, Reese Witherspoon has turned her literary obsession into an empire. Her latest brilliant book adaptation: Little Fires Everywhere, which debuts March 18 on Hulu.
I first met Reese Witherspoon three years ago at Parnassus Books, the store I co-own in Nashville. She’d come to interview me for Hello Sunshine, her media company, and when the interview was finished, our events manager asked Witherspoon if she’d be willing to have her picture taken with one of our shop dogs, Mary Todd Lincoln, a dappled, silky dachshund who’d been photographed with any number of celebrities in the past. It’s Nashville, after all; it’s the kind of thing we do here. Witherspoon took the little dog and tucked her into an open space in the bookshelf behind her, then proceeded to run the gamut of human emotion: joy, surprise, eagerness, love, suffering, hope—spinning out a master class of acting in less than a minute. The amazing part was not how good Witherspoon was at this—she’s a very good actor—the amazing part was how she managed to shine the enormous light of her talent onto a nine-pound dog. In frame after frame, the viewer’s eye skips the movie star and goes straight to the dachshund, which first appears coy, then knowing, then resplendent. If Oscars were given to pups, everyone would have agreed that this was Mary Todd Lincoln’s year.
Reese Witherspoon and Kerry Washington on Going ‘Toe-to-Toe’ in ‘Little Fires Everywhere’
In Little Fires Everywhere, series stars Kerry Washington and Reese Witherspoon play two strong-willed women and mothers, who come from vastly different backgrounds and social spheres, and whose lives become inexorably intertwined through a web of deceit, secrets and self-deception.
While their roles called for a few scenes of heated confrontation, both stars seemed to enjoy the experience of facing off against one another on screen. ET’s Kevin Frazier sat down with the pair during a junket for the Hulu drama, and they opened up about shooting some of their more intense showdowns.
“It was so much fun,” Washington recalled excitedly. “I felt a little nervous when we did it because I felt the pressure. Because people were crowding around the monitor like it was a major fight. Like it was Vegas.”
“Once we got started it felt so good to be in a scene with a scene partner who is so talented and adept and courageous in the work,” Washington added. “I mean she’s a phenom so it was really fun.”
Based on the bestselling novel of the same name by Celeste Ng, Little Fires Everywhere is a tale of intrigue and domestic strife, and both Washington and Witherspoon’s characters find themselves in direct conflict — with neither willing to concede ground and both strengthened by their staunchly held belief in their moral integrity.
“I feel like it was such a good [dynamic] cause it was such an equal match,” Witherspoon shared. “We really went toe-to-toe and we both had these fierce ideologies that our characters were so really dug in about.”
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