Archive for the ‘Articles & Interviews’ Category
Reese Witherspoon Knows Rom-Coms Need an Image Makeover
Romantic-comedy heroines can seldom have it all. They’re either professionally successful and unlucky in love, or great with the kids and unfulfilled at work or in the bedroom.
But in “Home Again,” a comedy due Sept. 8, Reese Witherspoon is a walking empowerment meme, complete with a wardrobe of pristine white blazers: she’s a newly separated 40-year-old, the mother of two precocious girls who starts a promising career as an interior decorator and shacks up with a hot 27-year-old.
“It never would have even crossed my mind that she couldn’t be all those things,” the writer-director Hallie Meyers-Shyer said, adding, “That wasn’t my experience growing up.”
Ms. Meyers-Shyer, 30, is the daughter of two filmmakers: Nancy Meyers (“It’s Complicated”) and Charles Shyer (“Baby Boom”). She spent her formative years on movie sets, before making her directing debut with “Home Again.” (Nancy Meyers served as executive producer.)
“In certain ways, Hallie knows more about the movie business than I do,” Ms. Witherspoon said.
Ms. Witherspoon, 41, has lately taken a big leap as a filmmaker herself, starting a production company to focus on projects led by women, with hits like “Wild,” “Gone Girl” and, earlier this year, the HBO mini-series “Big Little Lies,” about mothers in wealthy Monterey, Calif., that starred Ms. Witherspoon and Nicole Kidman, among others. (A follow-up is being discussed with Liane Moriarty, the author of the novel on which it’s based, Ms. Witherspoon said.)
Speaking by phone from her Los Angeles home — and pausing briefly to greet Tennessee, the youngest of her three children — she spoke passionately about the changing roles for women on screen and how she wants to be a part of that change. These are edited excerpts from the conversation.
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Last night Reese attended the Los Angeles premiere of her new romantic comedy Home Again. She walked the red carpet with her daughter Ava, and posed with her director Hallie Meyers-Shyer, producer Nancy Meyers, and co-stars Lake Bell, Lola Flanery, Jon Rudnitsky, and Eden Grace Redfield. Reese wore a simple but striking red dress by Roland Mouret, with Christian Louboutin shoes. On the red carpet Reese chatted about what attracted her to the role, why she loves romantic comedies, her daughter Ava, her Emmy nomination, and her upcoming project with Jennifer Aniston. Reese looks so beautiful, and I love seeing her and Ava together! We have the first batch of HQ photos in our Gallery for you, and further down this post are some video interviews from the red carpet. This post will be updated with more coverage in the next few days too…
• “Home Again” Los Angeles Premiere x98
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Reese is gracing the cover of the September issue of Southern Living magazine! In the interview she talks about Draper James and her influences for this brand, her family life, and briefly about Big Little Lies and some of her favourite actresses work on screen. The interview is accompanied by a beautiful, laid back photoshoot showcasing items from Draper James.
Read the article and watch behind the scenes videos within this post, and find the photoshoot in our Gallery. We’ll have scans for you asap…
Reese Witherspoon’s Southern Charm
The Nashville native opens up to Julia Reed about family, her favorite hometown foods, and the Southern women who have inspired her every step of the way
What did you do for Mother’s Day?
We had lots of people over for lunch, including Laura Dern [Witherspoon’s close friend and costar in Wild and Big Little Lies] and her mom, [actress] Diane Ladd, who has become friends with my mom. It’s pretty cute—they really love each other and talk all the time. They’re even planning on taking a road trip together!
In my family, we say, “It doesn’t have to be true to be told.” At lunch, my mom was telling a story about when I moved out here and how she found my apartment and paid for it. I said, “Mom, you know none of that’s true, right?” I found my own apartment, and she did not do any of it! But most of the time, I don’t even bother to interrupt…I think there’s nothing better than a Southern person as they age. The stories get better and better and less and less true.
You often visit Nashville, where you’ve said you’re “so much more relaxed.” But Nashville is not nearly as relaxed—or sleepy— as it was when you were growing up there. How has it changed?
Lately, Nashville has experienced a lot more commerce, a lot of growth, and a lot of new ideas, which is awesome. And you can’t throw a rock without hitting some new culinary surprise. I like Hattie B’s Hot Chicken. Edley’s Bar-B-Que has great fried okra, one of my favorite foods. City House and Rolf and Daughters are really good, and Josephine is great for brunch. Five Daughters Bakery has the best doughnuts, and if we want a meat ’n’ three, we go to Swett’s Restaurant.
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Reese Witherspoon Reveals Her Favorite Fashion Trend
The actress talks cowboy boots and prairie dresses for the fall season.
These looks remind me so much of the clothes I wore growing up in the South. I was always dressing in prairie skirts and cowboy boots when I was little. I loved to watch Little House on the Prairie and play cowgirl. My favorite childhood memories are rooted in country music, doing square dances in cowboy boots. I learned to clog- and line-dance before I learned the fox-trot. I’m very influenced by country singers like Loretta Lynn, and, of course, Dolly Parton is my biggest idol. And I loved all the gorgeous long, flowing lace dresses Sissy Spacek wore when she played Loretta Lynn in Coal Miner’s Daughter. Western is such a huge style in Nashville. There was a famous designer named Nudie, and everyone from Johnny Cash to Dolly Parton wore his suits. The clothes have real Western flair. It’s so cool to see the look being recognized now as a global fashion trend. Maybe it’s about returning to a time and place that people find comforting and when everything seemed simpler. But it’s always been a part of my life. I mean, you’re talking to the girl who wore cowboy boots to her own wedding reception. I switched out my gown and heels for a short dress and cowboy boots because they’re comfortable and fun to dance in. I do love the look of a pretty dress or a floor-sweeping skirt with cowboy boots. It’s feminine and a little rugged, which encapsulates my personality.
I remember being in fifth grade and begging my grandmother to buy me a prairie skirt, and when she finally did I wore it every day with white cowboy boots. I’m definitely a dress-or-denim-skirt-and-cowboy-boots sort of girl. Every time I put on a pair, I feel like I’m back home. It’s so funny because my daughter just walked into my room wearing an off-the-shoulder vintage prairie dress—she’s so on trend. Except that she was wearing sneakers, and I was like, “I wish you had some boots on.” I have so many pairs of cowboy boots; I buy them new from Betty Boots when I’m in Nashville. And I buy every single one of my kids cowboy boots, and they wear them until they fall off. I also wear mine until they’re threadbare. They look better when the leather is worn-out, then I resole them. The intricate stitching and detail on Western shirts are so pretty and add a little something, as do tasseled bags and purses. And I love cowboy hats, obviously. They’re beautiful, and they give a prairie dress or skirt that something extra. The best versions are those that aren’t overly embellished. I can wear a cowboy hat with anything—you have to own it. For an easy and chic way to incorporate a bit of Western into your wardrobe, I like the idea of a chambray shirt over a dress. We work a different iteration of the chambray and Western shirt into our Draper James collection [Witherspoon’s fashion label, which she launched in 2015] each season. For us down South, it’s the perfect layering piece because it’s so hot. Our Draper James chambray shirts and jeans are made in Blue Ridge, Georgia, by these wonderful women who have been making blue jeans for 40 years. It’s an honor to be part of that tradition. I think there’s a mood for wanting to celebrate classic Americana right now. The whole Western look is very romantic, and there’s no beating that wearability and durability factor.
This article originally appeared in the September 2017 issue of Harper’s BAZAAR, on newsstands now.
Nicole Kidman, Reese Witherspoon and ‘Big Little Lies’ Stars Detail Show’s ‘Tricky’ Journey
A version of this story on “Big Little Lies” first appeared in the Down to the Wire issue of TheWrap’s Emmy magazine.
Four lead women in “Big Little Lies,” the HBO miniseries based on Liane Moriarty‘s book, all landed Emmy nominations, Nicole Kidman and Reese Witherspoon in the lead category and Laura Dern and Shailene Woodley in supporting. (Zoë Kravitz, the last of the main actresses, was left out.)
Dern, Woodley and actors/executive producers Kidman and Witherspoon described the rare experience of making the miniseries, which starts with a murder investigation and then slowly unveils victim, murderer and motive over 10 episodes. Alexander Skarsgard, who plays Kidman’s emotionally and physically abusive husband, was also nominated — but these conversation were about the women at the center of the miniseries.
REESE WITHERSPOON I found the manuscript and sent it to Nicole, and we decided to do the project together. She met with Liane Moriarty first and got the rights, and then we got David Kelly. And then Jean-Marc Vallee came on.
NICOLE KIDMAN For me, it was the complication of the women, and the strength of their stories, and the fact that it focused on the female relationships and was told primarily through the female point of view. That’s why the book was so appealing. And it seemed to warrant being told, because amidst the entertainment of it, underneath were issues that were incredibly topical and relevant and real.
WITHERSPOON We had to decide, Is it a miniseries or a movie? And we decided it would be better to do this for television. If we had done it as a two-hour movie, it might have been about two of the women, not all five.
KIDMAN I think it would be strange if Reese and I produced something that was all men. Don’t we have enough of those? So it was very important for us to throw our weight behind finding these great female roles, and calling our friends and people we admire. That was the glorious part of it.
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Reese held a Facebook live chat following a screening of her new movie Home Again yesterday – she chatted about her co-stars and character:
The Hollywood Reporter have published a fantastic interview with Reese in which she talks in depth about her entire career – from the early days of advertising campaigns, to her 90’a movies Fear, Twilight, Election, moving onto Legally Blonde, Sweet Home Alabama and Vanity Fair, Oscars days of Walk The Line, her low patch of 2008-2012, then moving into producing Wild and Gone Girl, and the process of Big Little Lies. This is a must-listen!
‘Awards Chatter’ Podcast — Reese Witherspoon (‘Big Little Lies’)
‘America’s Sweetheart’ reflects on becoming an A-list superstar, hitting a terrible slump during which she was declared a ‘has-been’ and then reinventing herself as an actress/producer and Oprah-like champion of great books.
“I won the Oscar and I felt really confused about what to do next,” Reese Witherspoon confesses, in reference to her 2006 best actress victory for playing June Carter Cash in Walk the Line, as we sit down at the Formosa Recording Studio in Santa Monica to record an episode of The Hollywood Reporter’s ‘Awards Chatter’ podcast. “I had paralysis — Oscar-induced paralysis,” she adds, along with her trademark giggle. “You don’t know what to do!” For Witherspoon, who had been on Hollywood’s A-list since 2001’s Legally Blonde, it marked the beginning of several years of personal and professional frustration, during which some began to write her off. “Someone in The New Yorker said that I was ‘a has-been’ or my career was over, and I remember thinking — how old was I in 2012, like 36? — I was like, ‘Wow, that’s brutal!’ That really bugged me.” But what no one, including Witherspoon, could have known — or even imagined — at that time was that her best days still were ahead of her, and that by 2017, she not only would have re-established herself as one of the most popular and respected actresses in the business (picking up an Oscar nom for 2014’s Wild and an Emmy nom for 2017’s Big Little Lies), but also as an Oscar- and Emmy-nominated producer (for those same two projects) wielding influence in the literary community not unlike that of Oprah Winfrey.
Listen to the podcast here
Witherspoon was born in New Orleans to a father who served in the Air Force and a mother who was a delivery nurse. The family moved around, but ultimately settled in Nashville, where their precocious young “type A” daughter soon began taking acting lessons and appearing in advertisements and commercials, landing a local agent at the age of 12. At 14, during the summer before starting high school, she found her first starring role in a movie, Robert Mulligan’s 1991 film The Man in the Moon. Even before the film’s release, her screen test went viral, and she quickly became in-demand. Throughout high school, she would work during the summers. She then starred in 1996’s Freeway, turning in a performance that “got a lot of attention,” during a gap-year before enrolling at Stanford; but she then spent just seven months at Stanford before irresistible film offers led her to move to Los Angeles and focus full-time on her career.
As a young-adult actress, Witherspoon gave memorable performances in strong films like Gary Ross’ Pleasantville (1998), as a nineties girl who finds herself in the fifties, and Alexander Payne’s Election (1999), as an ambitious and calculating high school student who “became a political archetype.” Then, in 2001, she played Elle Woods, a material girl who pursues her ex all the way to Harvard Law School, in Robert Luketic’s Legally Blonde. The $11 million movie had a $20 million opening weekend and made her, at just 23, and already a mother of a 1-year-old, a huge star. “I loved that character” and “underdog story,” she reflects, while also remembering the baggage that came with its success. “That’s when paparazzi started for me,” she says. “That’s when I started getting chased by 10 or 15 people.”
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Home Again: Reese Witherspoon explains the state of the modern rom-com
Reese Witherspoon isn’t quite sure how to categorize her next big-screen venture. “It’s about that very particular post-divorce time, and the insecurity and guilt that comes with it — so it isn’t really a romantic comedy,” she says. But first-time writer-director Hallie Meyers-Shyer (daughter of director Nancy Meyers) may have it sussed: “It’s a modern rom-com,” she says. “I noticed women were feeling comfortable getting divorced earlier in life, and I wanted to explore that trend.”
Witherspoon plays Alice, a 40-year-old mother of two who moves home to L.A. after her marriage falls apart. Somehow she finds herself boarding three aspiring filmmaker brothers in her guesthouse. “Together the three of them make the perfect man,” laughs Meyers-Shyer. Alice adapts nicely to live-in child care, tech support, and a relationship with the brother in his late 20s (Pico Alexander). “It’s kind of beautiful to see a May-December romance the other way around,” Witherspoon says. “It’s good to put that out there and challenge social arrays.”
The older-woman-younger-man romance isn’t the only love story in the movie. With the daughter of two Hollywood heavyweight moviemakers at the helm (father Charles Shyer produced and got an Oscar nomination for writing Private Benjamin and is also the writer-director of the Father of the Bride movies), Home Again is in part an ode to the filmmaking industry. “There’s a great love of cinema present in the film,” says Witherspoon. “Hallie is very respectful of the real craftsmanship and the sincerity of people’s artistry.” For Meyers-Shyer’s part, injecting the warm, sumptuous glow of old Hollywood was entirely intentional. “That’s exactly the quality I wanted the movie to have,” says the first-time director who grew up on movie sets watching her parents at work and learning that the position in the director’s seat was earned not awarded. “I wanted it to feel like a place you wanted to be. Hollywood is really the heart of Los Angeles and it’s based around an art form. There’s that bright reality TV thing that people picture when they think of L.A. now, so I was trying to do my part in showing L.A. as a sort of oasis and bringing back that idea of going west to follow your dreams.”
That dreamlike, candle-lit essence trickles over into the movie’s plot at times and yet, the most unlikely element of the story — a middle-aged mom taking in three jobless strangers — was actually born from reality. “When a friend of mine was growing up in L.A. her mother took in these three guys,” says Meyers-Shyer. “I love it when people tell me, ‘Oh I wish that that could actually happen; it seems like wish fulfillment,’ and I’m like, ‘Well, actually it did happen to somebody I know.’ I just thought it was very interesting and bohemian and it would fit in nicely with the character I had created.”
Still, following the true rom-com tried-and-tested formula, there had to be a male lead with enough charm to melt the best of intentions. “Casting Pico Alexander’s part was really tough,” says the writer-director. “It’s a part of a young movie star and I really wanted someone who embodied old-school Hollywood for that character. While I was writing it I pictured a young Jack Nicholson — those are some very hard shoes to fill, but Pico sent in a self tape and he just leapt off the screen.”
Nonetheless, despite the dewy backdrop and the attractive male suitor, the romantic fling isn’t the crux of the story. “That’s what makes it a modern romantic comedy,” says Witherspoon, finally giving in to that label. “It’s not about a woman finding love; it’s about a woman finding the best version of herself — and that’s very modern.”
Home Again opens Sept. 8.
Big Little Lies (2019)
Season 2 available now on HBO
Genre: HBO TV Series - Drama
News / Info / Photos / Official Site
The Morning Show (2019)
Season 1 available now on AppleTV+
Role: Bradley Jackson
Genre: Apple TV+ Series - Drama
News / Info / Photos / Official Site
Little Fires Everywhere (2020)
Season 1 airing now on Hulu - new episodes on Wednesdays
Role: Elena Richardson
Genre: Hulu TV Series - Drama
News / Info / Photos / Official Site
Sing 2 (2020)
To be released December 25th 2020
Genre: Animation, comedy, musical
News / Info / Photos /
Legally Blonde 3 (202?)
Role: Elle Woods
News / Info /
Photos / Official Site
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