Reese Witherspoon and Alexander Payne: A Starry, Starry Night in Chicago
It was certainly a starry night in Chicago on June 23 when three major cinematic forces came together for a brilliant evening of food and film. Nestled in the back of the Ritz Carlton, Academy Award-winning director and screenwriter Alexander Payne moderated an intimate post-dinner Q&A with Academy Award-winning actress Reese Witherspoon at the annual Gene Siskel Film Center benefit, which also honored Ms. Witherspoon with the Gene Siskel Film Center’s Renaissance Award.
While Witherspoon and Payne are clearly powerhouses of modern cinema, The Gene Siskel Film Center of the School of the Art Institute has been a guiding light of film programming for 40 years, “presenting independent and international cinema, film festivals, cutting edge programs, premieres, retrospectives and classic films. Recognized internationally for its original film programming, the Film Center annually presents approximately 1,500 screenings and 100 guest artist appearances to more than 80,000 film enthusiasts.” Proceeds from the benefit will support the Gene Siskel Film Center’s programs, including lecture series and discussions with visiting scholars and filmmakers.
Early in the evening, current programming director of the Gene Siskel Film Center, Barbara Scharres, was highlighted for her tremendous accomplishments in eclectic, meaningful and visionary programming. Later, Robert Downey Jr. and Gwyneth Paltrow congratulated Reese in a playful video that played before a packed room of Gene Siskel Film Center supporters. The evening concluded with the president of the School of the Art Institute, Walter Massey, and Chairman of the GSFC Advisory Board, Ellen Sandor, presenting Ms. Witherspoon with the Renaissance Award.
The previously announced ‘An Evening With Reese Witherspoon Hosted By The Gene Siskel Film Center’ took place in Chicago last night, and Reese accepted her award looking chic in a little navy blue dress. Election director Alexander Payne presented the award to her, and Reese told reporters before that he “was a big champion for me early on, and said, ‘That’s the girl I want in my movie,’ so I’ve always had a soft spot in my heart for him. And we’ve subsequently become very close friends.”
Reese gave an interview to the Chicago Sun Times for the event, and you can read that below. Over 50 photos from this event – most of which are HQ – have been added to our Gallery for you!
Congratulations to Reese on this wonderful honour!
Reese Witherspoon: “My full-time job is being a mother”
Being pregnant was no obstacle for Reese Witherspoon as far as Cannes is concerned. Though she’s five months along in her pregnancy, Reese was her typically bright and energetic self when she appeared at the fabled French film festival to promote her new film, MUD, starring Matthew McConaughey as a fugitive on the run looking to meet up with his long lost love (Witherspoon). Along the way, he meets up with two young boys anxious to learn about the world. Witherspoon posed playfully with McConaughey along the Croisette, signed autographs for fans, and generally looked radiant while her husband/agent/prospective father of her child Jim Toth was at her side. “This is such a beautiful and happy time in my life and I was very pleased to be able to come to Cannes and support the film,” Witherspoon said. “I play a kind of messed-up country girl in the film but I loved the fact that the story was set in the place where I grew up and was about these two boys learning about the world. I remember what it was like riding dirt bikes and getting into mischief with my brother, and I thought it was a beautiful story that took me back home in a way.”
The 36-year-old Witherspoon was sporting a serious baby bump in her black Versace dress and pink stilettos as she was seen making the rounds of various receptions at the prestigious film festival.
Witherspoon grew up as a part of an affluent family in Tennessee. Her father was distinguished surgeon and her mother was a top surgical nurse and later teaching nurse. She was famously married to actor Ryan Philippe for nine years until their 2008. She admits to having suffered for a time until meeting Hollywood agent Jim Toth two years ago. They were married in March of last year. She has two children from her former marriage to Ryan Philippe, Ava, 12, and Deacon, 9.
The excellent Cannes Film Festival official website have posted their videos from today’s Mud photocall, press conference and premiere, as well as an interview with the cast and director. Unfortunately embedding is not available, so hop on over to the official Mud page at the Cannes website to watch them all.
Back when she was in Rio earlier in the month, Reese gave an interview to a media website/TV show called Omelete. They talked about a variety of things including where Reese keeps her Oscar, whether she wants to go back to Stanford to study, her new film Mud, and more. Watch it below…
O Omelete esteve no Rio de Janeiro para entrevistar a atriz Reese Witherspoon, que veio ao Brasil divulgar Guerra É Guerra. Ela fala da sua participação na comédia romântica de ação, do seu Oscar, de seus projetos futuros e do que anda lendo ultimamente, entre outras curiosidades.
This Means War is aMcG directed action-packed romantic comedy which sees best friends Tuck and Frank, played by Tom Hardy and Chris Pine, waging an epic battle against each other when they find out that they’re both dating the same woman.
Reese Witherspoon plays Lauren, the woman who gets both men in a tizzy, and as they decide to leave it up to Lauren to choose one of them, the pair use their CIA skills to sabotage each other’s dates with her.
Speaking about Tuck and Frank’s extreme measures to try and win the heart of the girl they love, Chris said: “There’s the unspoken code amongst guys that if a woman does come between you there’s certain rules you have to abide by.
This Means War for Chris Pine and Reese Witherspoon
“I think for these two guys who live by a code of rules and ethics it kind of throws them when they meet a beautiful girl.”
One of the lines from the film sees Lauren making reference to Tuck’s small hands, but both Chris and Reese claim not to know what it means.
Chris laughed: “I had to ask McG literally 20 times what that means and it was never answered, but I laugh at it whole heartedly.
Reese added: “We figured we had to say that because the British people have the best sense of humour and can take the p**s.”
Untitled TV Project with Jennifer Aniston
Little Fires Everywhere
Untitled Producing Project with Kristin Wiig
Are You Sleeping
Luckiest Girl Alive
Tiny Beautiful Things
Barbie origins project
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