Archive for the ‘Articles & Interviews’ Category
Vogue.com interviewed Reese towards the end of last month, in the run-up to the finale of Big Little Lies; here is what they talked about:
Reese Witherspoon on Who She Initially Wanted to Play on Big Little Lies—and What She Thinks About Those Critics Who Dismiss the Show as Just Another Soap Opera
We only have a few days to go until the finale of HBO’s Big Little Lies airs—why, oh why are there only seven episodes?—but we can already anticipate the massive void we’ll be feeling once the show wraps up on Sunday. Thankfully, Reese Witherspoon is here to help us cope. As Madeline Martha Mackenzie, Witherspoon’s character has become a fan favorite for her type-A personality and wicked one liners (“I love my grudges; I tend to them like little pets,” she says in an early episode). We spoke on the phone with the star and executive producer of the hit TV show, and talked about who she initially thought she would play, whether or not Ed and Madeline have a good marriage, and what she thinks about those (mostly male) critics who dismiss the show as just another soap opera.
Some spoilers ahead for those who aren’t caught up.
What drew you to Liane Moriarty’s book? Why were you excited to bring it to the screen?
I thought the book was really well plotted. I loved all the characters, I thought they were really dynamic women and very truthful in their struggles and the way that they communicated with each other. I thought it was a unique opportunity to have five really talented, diverse women on screen together, which is something that doesn’t happen that often.
Did you always want to play Madeline, or did you ever consider playing any of the other roles?
I didn’t know who I was going to play. Nicole [Kidman] really wanted to play Celeste, but I don’t know, I thought for a minute I might have played Renata. But then I was in a meeting with David Kelley and Nicole and I said I didn’t know who I was going to play and they looked at me like I was crazy. They said, “You’re Madeline!” And I said, “I am? What do you mean?” And they were like, “You are very clearly Madeline.” And I thought, “Is this an insult? I don’t know.” But then I kind of started thinking how I would do this. I started talking to Nicole, she was very helpful when I was creating the character. We added a lot of stuff that wasn’t in the book.
I haven’t read the book, but I know that David E. Kelley rewrote a lot of Madeline for you. I know the affair with her play’s director, for example, wasn’t in the book. What was behind the decision to add that?
Well, we talked about it. I just felt like everybody sort of has a secret in the show. All five of us have a secret. We’re all hiding something from each other and I felt like Madeline needed something she was hiding as well; it added a new conflict for her to resolve. It was just something interesting to play instead of just being a busy body.
On that note, do you think Madeline and Ed have a good marriage?
I don’t think of it in terms of good and bad. I think they have an active marriage, they are working on their marriage. There are aspects that are really positive and there’s parts of it there are really difficult. I don’t know what “good” is, but there’s a lot of love there, for sure.
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Over the past few days I’ve reverted to working on the Movies section of our Gallery, and have updated the Penelope section. Some of the photos have been replaced with HQ versions, but best of all we have HQ photos from a promotional shoot Reese did for the film, plus gorgeous HD screencaptures from the film! This is one of my favourite Reese films – it’s charming and sweet, and Reese is hilarious in her small part as Penelope’s friend Annie … it’s a very watchable, fun movie.
To stick with the Penelope theme, within this post are videos of Reese’s co-stars talking about her, a couple of interviews with Reese about the film (it was the first that she produced through her former and first production company, Type A Films), and trailers.
Enjoy the updates 🙂
Annie: “I was just thinking … I might get a little work done myself … for my ears, they just kind of stick out up here a little on the top – I mean I’m no Penelope!”
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‘Big Little Lies’ Feels Crazy Truthful to Reese Witherspoon
Yes, even Reese Witherspoon has felt judged as a parent. The actress, producer, newly-named Elizabeth Arden brand ambassador and mom of Ava, 17; Deacon, 13; and Tennessee, 4, is fascinated by just how opaque and unreadable kids can be and how hard moms and dads try to seem absolutely perfect.
“Have you ever gotten a call that your kid bit someone at school? I have. You feel awful. You feel like there is something wrong. It’s interesting how we stigmatize people,” she tells Yahoo Style.
She explores the disparaging, cutting and very juicy side of motherhood (and fatherhood) in Big Little Lies, which has exploded as this season’s must-see show. The HBO miniseries delves into the inner lives of a multitude of multidimensional women, showcasing a bully (Laura Dern), a cheater (Witherspoon), a domestic abuse victim (Nicole Kidman), and a single mom raising a child of rape (Shailene Woodley).
Witherspoon was instrumental in bringing Liane Moriarty’s bestseller to the screen. She, along with Kidman, produced it and the project resulted in a bidding war. That’s because while much of Hollywood was busy lamenting the dire lack of roles for women of a certain age, or any age, Witherspoon was busy creating them.
Her production house, Pacific Standard, is now a part of the content company Hello Sunshine, a joint venture with Peter Chernin and AT&T whose sole mission is to tell female-driven stories on TV, film, and digital platforms.
“It’s my entire life. It’s so fulfilling to me. It’s all been leading to this place where I took control of my career,” Witherspoon says. “It came out of a frustration, of seeing the kind of roles for women that were so flimsy. Buying books that have complex and real interior lives of women is my life’s work. I’m a storyteller, but I’m passionate that women have stories that need to be told.”
For years, she’s been diligently optioning, producing, and releasing projects with women at their core: 2014’s Gone Girl, starring Rosamund Pike as spectacularly manipulative Amy Dunne, generated $168 million domestically. The same year, Witherspoon and her friend Laura Dern earned Oscar nominations for the soul-searching saga Wild. In the pipeline is the date-rape thriller Luckiest Girl Alive.
Big Little Lies, meanwhile, is set in glitzy Monterey, Calif., but peel back the lush exteriors of waves, beaches, and pristine landscaping, and you’ll see the ugly underbelly of the posh town and its denizens — led by Witherspoon’s insufferable but also oddly tender grudge-bearer Madeline. The role fits her like a proverbial glove, but when Witherspoon read Moriarty’s book and realized it would make for delicious television, she didn’t know what part she’d play, just that she wanted in.
“You don’t know why people like a show. I responded to the truth, a real truthful look at how women feel about parenthood. Sometimes there’s maternal ambivalence. Women are not good or bad. I like that complexity of character,” she says. “I don’t think you ever know if things are going to work or not work. But there’s something interesting about five dynamic roles for women in which they talk about sex and marriage and relationships the way that women really talk about sex and marriage and relationships.”
Reese Witherspoon and Laura Dern, Wildly Close
The actresses, who star in HBO’s “Big Little Lies,” developed a tight friendship after playing “sort-of awful people” and then mother and daughter.
A mutual friend introduced Reese Witherspoon and Laura Dern in front of a restaurant in the Brentwood Country Mart complex in Santa Monica, Calif. They were already aware of each other; it was 2011, and both were movie stars of many years. They had also each played antiheroines in back-to-back late-1990s Alexander Payne films to unforgettable effect: Ms. Dern as Ruth Stoops in “Citizen Ruth” and Ms. Witherspoon as Tracy Flick in “Election.” But it was merely a quick hello.
They reunited in 2014 to play mother and daughter in “Wild,” a film based on Cheryl Strayed’s memoir that garnered them both Oscar nominations. A friendship blossomed quickly — playing family, as luck would have it, made them so. They now star (and spar) as rival Monterey power mothers in the new HBO mini-series “Big Little Lies,” of which Ms. Witherspoon is also an executive producer.
Speaking by telephone and email, Ms. Witherspoon and Ms. Dern talked about their fast-tracked friendship, multiple collaborations and conversations with their mothers (Ms. Dern’s is the actress Diane Ladd). This conversation has been edited and condensed.
REESE WITHERSPOON I was with Howell outside a restaurant. Howell Caldwell’s our friend who’s a first assistant director, who’d worked with Laura, and he’s this big, funny guy from Texas, and he’s like: “You gotta meet Laura Dern. You’re gonna love her, you’re gonna love her mom.” Her mom is, like, the quintessential Southern mom, and I have a real Southern mother, too. He said, “You guys are gonna be best friends.” And I remember thinking: “Could I be best friends with her? I don’t know.”
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Reese is currently in new Zealand where she is filming A Wrinkle In Time, and she sent a video message and then phoned in to NZ radio station The Edge, where she chatted about the country and the movie.
Watch her message here, and listen to her radio interview here.
Reese Witherspoon on New Zealand: ‘You can’t capture it in pictures’
Reese Witherspoon says her Instagram feed, full of pictures taken on her trip to New Zealand, doesn’t do the country’s beauty justice.
“It’s the most beautiful country in the world – I’ve made a lot of movies all over the world, but this is my favourite place I’ve ever shot,” she told radio station The Edge on Friday.
“You can’t capture it in pictures. I would say to anybody who comes to New Zealand, don’t just bring your iPhone – you need a major, amazing camera.”
Witherspoon, who won an Oscar for her role in Johnny Cash biopic Walk the Line, is in New Zealand shooting Disney film A Wrinkle in Time with co-stars Oprah Winfrey, Mindy Kaling (The Office), Chris Pine (Star Trek), Storm Reid (12 Years a Slave) and Zach Galifianakis (The Hangover).
“We are making a movie,” she told hosts Jay-Jay, Dom and Randell. “I know it looks like I’m just having fun with my girlfriends.”
In the film, New Zealand stands in for the planet Uriel, a mountainous utopia populated by centaurs.
“We needed sort of magical locations because it’s about going to other universes,” said Witherspoon.
She promised to come back for a proper holiday.
“The food is wonderful, the landscapes are gorgeous, but most importantly the people have been so kind and so friendly, and have opened up their homes. We have all been just so touched by what a beautiful experience it has been.”
Though she wouldn’t tell what it’s like flying across the seas on Oprah’s private jet, she did reveal just where she keeps her Oscar.
“I keep it in my living room, and anyone who picks it up has to do a speech.”
Murder roils oceanfront town in HBO’s ‘Big Little Lies’
Looking for bare-knuckle politics? There’s no need to go all the way to Congress. Just visit your local school.
That’s where the moms of HBO’s Big Little Lies (Sunday, 9 p.m. ET/PT) take out the big guns — verbally, at least — when the arrival of a new family and an accusation of bullying disrupts a California seaside community where beautiful family facades aren’t as sturdy as they appear.
The fighting is vicious, but sometimes hilarious, especially when local firebrand Madeline Martha Mackenzie (Reese Witherspoon) and no-nonsense businesswoman Renata Klein (Laura Dern) go at it.
“I always say there’s girl politics,” Witherspoon says, “but I don’t think we’ve seen as much of the girl-politicking and mother-politicking world on film. This is how women really speak to each other: candidly, raw. They say filthy, dirty, disgusting things to each other. Then, they smother each other in love and admiration. It’s a very interesting thing to see, and I think we worked really hard on making that grounded and natural.”
Maternal power runs through the seven-episode miniseries, with the five women at its center expressing deep love but also darker emotions when it comes to their children, husbands and jobs in beautiful Monterey. And that’s before a mysterious murder — a future incident that plays in the background as the story recounts the days leading up to it — rocks the community like a tidal wave.
The star-studded drama, based on the instant (and durable) 2014 bestseller by Liane Moriarty, digs into the lives of the women, all with first-graders attending a model public school, and shows how outward appearances can deceive.
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February 17, 2017 • Category: "Big Little Lies"
, Articles & Interviews
Comments Off on LA Times: Nicole Kidman and Reese Witherspoon on bringing the female-driven ‘Big Little Lies’ to life
Nicole Kidman and Reese Witherspoon on bringing the female-driven ‘Big Little Lies’ to life
She had learned not to get excited. Australian author Liane Moriarty had gone through the process of having a book optioned for a movie or TV series before and had endured the realities of it getting lost in Hollywood development purgatory.
Moriarty, though, had never done business with Reese Witherspoon and Nicole Kidman.
“When I met with Nicole, she was like, ‘No, no, no. If we option it, get excited. We don’t option things just for the sake of it. We don’t have time for that,’ ” Moriarty said by phone when recalling her midmorning coffee meeting with Kidman in a Sydney suburb about 18 months ago.
“She kept her word.”
Moriarty’s 2014 bestseller “Big Little Lies” is now a seven-episode limited series on HBO. And it boasts the Oscar-winning actresses as leads and executive producers.
It continues in the HBO tradition of drawing marquee feature film stars to the small screen. And it serves as a bit of an antidote to the premium network’s recent tent-pole attraction, “Westworld,” and the unusual religious drama “The Young Pope.”
“Not since ‘Big Love’ have we had a drama that is this female-centric,” said Casey Bloys, HBO’s president of programming. “The issues they get into on the show are things people deal with in life, and it was nice to have this framework to put these stories forward.”
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Reese and her Big Little Lies director Jean-Marc Vallee appear on the cover of the new issue of Variety magazine, to promote their new TV series. Inside is an extensive interview about the production and planning of the show, the characters, and the casting; accompanying this is a sleek new photoshoot with the two. Read the interview and watch a behind the scenes video below, and find the first photos from the spread in our Gallery. We’ll have scans for you asap…
‘Big Little Lies’: Inside Reese Witherspoon’s Twisty Foray Into Television
Blame it on the weather. It was unseasonably cold in Monterey, Calif., when, deep into the 88-day shoot for “Big Little Lies” — after 10 straight days of late nights — the unthinkable happened: The usually unflappable Reese Witherspoon lost her temper. Faced with a difficult emotional scene, she yelled at director Jean-Marc Vallée.
Recalling the incident a few months later over tea at the Langham Huntington Hotel in Pasadena, the two — who share an easy, effortless camaraderie — laugh at the memory. “I’m so sorry!” she tells him, sheepishly hiding her face in her hands. In his French-accented lilt, Vallée says, “I felt so sad because I knew it wasn’t her.”
But back in that fraught moment on the set, he turned to her and said, “Great! Let’s do it,” pushing her to channel her frustration into her performance. Vallée reports that Witherspoon — perfectly cast as the fast-talking, multitasking mother of two, Madeline Martha Mackenzie, in HBO’s new limited series about the tragic fallout of secrets in a small town — nailed the scene. (Based on the bestseller by Liane Moriarty, the seven-episode series debuts Feb. 19.)
Witherspoon, who serves as executive producer along with co-star Nicole Kidman, handpicked her “Wild” director for this creative reunion. (The 2014 film, based on Cheryl Strayed’s memoir, chronicles a woman’s journey of self-discovery as she hikes the Pacific Crest Trail.) “I feel safe with Jean-Marc — more safe than I’ve ever felt with anybody, because he’s my brother, he’s my partner; I know he’s always going to demand the best, but I’m always going to bring my best,” she says. “We hold each other to those standards. We don’t have any artifice between us.”
It’s not simply the cliché about finishing each other’s sentences (and, yes, they do) but about completing each other’s vision. They may disagree (see above), but starting with “Wild” and now with “Big Little Lies,” they’ve formulated a chemistry that brings out the best in both of them.
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