Archive for the ‘Articles & Interviews’ Category
Reese covers the December issue of US Glamour magazine, as one of their Women Of The Year. The cover, photoshoot and interview are now available for us all – read the interview below, and see the photos in our Gallery. We’ll have scans for you asap.
Reese and the other honorees (Caitlyn Jenner, Victoria Beckham, Misty Copeland, Elizabeth Holmes, Cecile Richards, the women of Charleston, and the U.S. women’s national soccer team (TheWrap.com)) will be honoured at an awards ceremony in New York City on November 9th.
Reese Witherspoon on How She’s Shaking Up Hollywood, and Why She Feels Like Gloria Steinem Told Her to Do Legally Blonde
Reese Witherspoon is a Woman of the Year because… “She’s making movies, telling stories, giving women opportunities—all because she wants her daughter to have an example of what it’s like to be a responsible human.”
—comedian and 2011 Woman of the Year Chelsea Handler
Just a few years ago, Reese Witherspoon was pitching a new movie to seven studio heads and requested an extra 30 minutes with each executive to ask one question: What do you have in the works for women? “Only one studio was developing something for a woman in the lead,” Witherspoon, 39, recalls. “They said, ‘We’re happy if you bring us something, but it’s not a part of our development.’ ” Stunned, Witherspoon started obsessing over the deficit—bringing it up at dinner parties and business meetings, to a chorus of women saying, “We know!” Yeah, I’ll bring you something, she decided.
So in 2012, Witherspoon cofounded a production company, Pacific Standard, with producer Bruna Papandrea; the duo began buying up books and scripts with female protagonists to turn into films and TV series. And by 2015, Witherspoon found out just how winning her company’s by-and-about-women formula could be. Wild and Gone Girl, its first two films, featured women not as sidekicks or arm candy but as leading ladies who go through unique personal journeys. Stars Rosamund Pike, Laura Dern, and, yes, Witherspoon herself were all nominated for Oscars—and the films banked more than $400 million worldwide at the box office. With her producing and acting credits, Witherspoon landed on Forbes’ list of highest-paid actresses and on Time’s 100 Most Influential People list. Now she’s breaking into a full-on sprint toward equality: Pacific Standard has 32 projects in the works that put women front and center. “Reese gave me the opportunity with Hot Pursuit where I was producing, where I was a main character, where I got to play a strong, Latina woman,” says Sofía Vergara. “It’s amazing, Reese is such a tiny little thing, but she’s such a strong woman—she knows what she wants, and she gets what she wants.”
With her producing business booming, Witherspoon felt she could take on another new challenge this year: a fashion brand. She launched Draper James, a Southern-inspired clothing and home line, with a flagship store in Nashville. Lest you think she’s superhuman, though, she hasn’t taken an acting gig in over a year, so she could spend time with her husband, Jim Toth, and three kids, Ava, 16, Deacon, 12, and Tennessee, 3. (And yes, they are the cutest.)
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Reese Witherspoon on Her Production Company: “We Support New Female Voices in Film”
With such hits as ‘Gone Girl’ and ‘Wild,’ the actress and partner Bruna Papandrea’s Pacific Standard is breaking down the boys’ club barrier.
This story first appeared in the Oct. 30 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.
Reese Witherspoon is known for her lovable comedic characters in Legally Blonde and Sweet Home Alabama and her critically acclaimed work in last year’s Wild and 2005’s Walk the Line, which earned her a best actress Oscar. But it’s her work behind the scenes as a producer through her Pacific Standard banner, which she and Bruna Papandrea founded in 2012, that has made her a true industry force. “One of the best parts of our job is we’re buying books and helping authors navigate the process of getting a book all the way to the screen,” says Witherspoon, 39, who will receive the 29th American Cinematheque Award on Oct. 30.
After the successes of Gone Girl and Wild, are publishers flocking to you at Pacific Standard?
When we bought Gone Girl, we could barely get anyone to read it. But there’s been such an incredible response to our company and what we’re trying to accomplish. Cheryl Strayed went from selling 1.5 million [copies of Wild] before the film was announced to selling 6 million books in two years. That’s huge for an author.
Did you and Bruna know you would work well together right away?
I really wanted a partner, not an employee. It’s a self-funded company, and we purposely chose not to be at one studio because we wanted to be able to take material everywhere. I met with her, and I’m sure she didn’t have any idea if I wanted to just develop material for myself or if I had real perspective about other stories or business acumen. Then I sent her Wild, and she said it was amazing and wanted to start this company. The next project we got within a month was Gone Girl.
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Reese Witherspoon’s Draper James Maps Out Southern Plan
Draper James has opened its first store, a 3,000-square-foot flagship in Nashville, designed to resemble a Southern home.
The fashion and home brand that Reese Witherspoon launched online in May has a south-of-the-Mason-Dixon-line aesthetic, paying tribute to the bright colors and floral prints favored by Southern women.
The store, whose windows are meant to look like a front porch, was designed to feel like a “Southern home, rooted in tradition,” said interior designer Mark Sikes, who is also working on Witherspoon’s private home.
“There’s a lot of shared references,” said Draper James chief executive officer Andrea Hyde, referring to the actress’ house and the store.
“We have a genuine story and such a large megaphone,” Hyde said. “Reese is a world-class storyteller. To bring this all to one place and tell the story in one building is wonderful.”
“I grew up in Nashville and it’s been such a direct inspiration for the brand,” said Witherspoon. “It just felt like the right place for our flagship.”
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Reese Witherspoon’s Draper James collection has Southern charm
The rugged Danner hiking boots with red laces that Reese Witherspoon donned in the film “Wild,” displayed in a Lucite box in one corner of her Beverly Hills office, would never make the cut for the actress’ latest endeavor: a genteel line of Southern-inspired women’s apparel, accessories and home accents.
The line, called Draper James, was introduced in May at Draperjames.com, selling out many dress styles almost immediately. In early October, the company announced it had raised $10 million in venture capital for expansion, and later this month, a flagship bricks-and-mortar store is to open in Nashville, where Witherspoon grew up and owns a home.
No wonder Witherspoon is all smiles as she rushes into the office on teetering blue suede Manolo Blahnik pumps, a few minutes late for an interview and unaware that one leg is streaked with dirt from the car door. She carries Saint Laurent’s navy Sac De Jour handbag in one arm and in the other a Draper James carryall emblazoned with the phrase “Totes Y’all” that has sold out three times. Also in tow is the 39-year-old’s lookalike 16-year-old daughter Ava, who helps with the company’s social media postings and schleps another tote and garment bag, filled with new Draper James designs.
Items printed with cheeky Southern expressions are among the top sellers.
“People really enjoy humor, that we don’t take ourselves too seriously,” says Witherspoon. “Southern people are literally always joking around and teasing each other. It’s part of our culture.”
The actress-entrepreneur oohs and aahs as she unpacks a stack of jewel-toned sweaters, some embellished with pearls. Flipping through a rack of feminine dresses and Chanel-like tweed skirts and jackets, she remarks that her favorite floral fit-and-flare dress is missing, because she gave it to Taylor Swift when she attended the singer’s L.A. concert a couple days earlier.
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Reese Witherspoon Talks About Her Southern Lifestyle Site Draper James
Reese Witherspoon may dazzle the general populace–People Magazine recently named her the Best Dressed Person of 2015–but venture investors weren’t star-struck when the actress first pitched them on her idea for Southern-lifestyle startup Draper James.
In fact, Forerunner Ventures founder Kirsten Green–an investor in Bonobos Inc., Birchbox Inc. and Dollar Shave Club Inc.–said she initially put Ms. Witherspoon’s celebrity status in the “con category.”
“Founding a company is the hardest thing you can possibly do. It takes an enormous amount of sheer will, and with celebrities who have so many things they could spend their time doing, you question whether you can count on them being there,” Ms. Green said.
After a series of meetings with the star of “Walk the Line” and the “Legally Blonde” movies and questioning a handful of Hollywood executives who knew her well, Ms. Green said she was convinced Ms. Witherspoon would be deeply involved for the duration. Ms. Green quickly decided to lead a $10 million round to bankroll the startup’s expansion.
The infusion comes a few months after Draper James launched its e-commerce site and marks the latest in a series of celebrity led consumer Internet startups to capture venture cash and confidence.
The Wall Street Journal spoke with the actress-turned-startup founder about her responsibilities as creative director and what it means to dress Southern. The following interview has been edited for length and clarity.
What prompted you to launch Draper James?
About three years ago when I was traveling between Atlanta and Nashville, I started noticing how much was happening culturally in the South with museums, music venues and restaurants. At that same time I was approached by two Northeast brands to represent them. I don’t know the Hamptons, but I do know the South and I realized there was a white space to tell that story.
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Reese Witherspoon on Portraying Hillary Clinton, Finding Great Roles for Women
Reese Witherspoon offered plenty of encouragement to fellow producers on Saturday morning by stressing the need to focus on the female audience — as demonstrated by her recent producing efforts, “Wild,” “Gone Girl” and “Hot Pursuit.”
“Women make up 50 percent of the population,” she said. “We should make up 50% of the movies we see.”
Speaking at the Producers Guild of America’s 7th annual “Produced By” conference on the Paramount lot, Witherspoon said the success of her Pacific Standard company stems partly from Hollywood knowing what to expect from the shingle. Witherspoon noted that she and partner Bruna Papandrea created the banner out of frustration with a lack of interesting roles for actresses.
“It is great to have specificity because people know what to send you,” Witherspoon noted. “We are looking for great female parts.”
But Witherspoon also noted that Pacific Standard wants to succeed on the basis on story. “The films we make are not chick flicks,” she insisted. “‘Wild’ is just about a human being.”
Speaking to a capacity crowd of more than 500 at the Paramount Theater, Witherspoon also addressed the question of whether she’d ever portray Hillary Clinton. She responded by saying that she’s been asked to do so several times and wryly pointed out that she portrayed a young version of Clinton as Tracy Flick in 1998’s “Election.”
“When I did meet Hillary Clinton she said, ‘Everybody talks to me about Tracy Flick in ‘Election,’” Witherspoon added.
Asked by moderator Will Packer if they believed they had made any mistakes with “Wild,” Witherspoon responded: “Shooting 55 locations in 30 days was probably not the best way to start, but we were determined.”
Both producers noted that they were also pregnant at the time. Papandrea said being a mother is not a disadvantage.
“I make better decisions because when I’m leaving my children, I want to do something I love,” she said.
Harper’s Bazaar UK start our year off with a bang with Reese on the cover of their January issue! She looks beautiful in a new photoshoot for the magazine, and talks to them about the production of Wild.
The magazine is available on newsstands tomorrow – pick up a copy!!
‘I would have fired myself a couple of times during rehearsals because I was so scared, oh my God. I got my shit together, but it took me a while.’ – Reese Witherspoon
Reese Witherspoon is Bazaar’s January Cover Star
Far from the cliché of the all-American blonde, Reese Witherspoon is a sophisticated, intelligent star who revels in making tough choices, in work and in life.
Reese Witherspoon is doing what she does best: playing up for the camera. In this case, that means dancing to hip-hop on the Bazaar photo-shoot, dressed in an A-line Michael Kors skirt that jiggles about her like a starched crinoline. Here she goes again, dipping, bopping and shimmying. Watching her from the sidelines, I have to say she’s fantastically entertaining, her face a rolling cartoon strip of perky expressions. Photo-shoots don’t come easily to all actresses but Reese is, as you might expect, handling herself like a pro.
In keeping with the shoot’s vague premise – a 1950s Beverly Hills housewife going about her day – Witherspoon cranes her neck to look past the assembled crew here in the kitchen towards the front porch. Suddenly, she’s the picture of wifely anticipation, her ears pricked up as if her imaginary husband were just now pulling into the driveway and about to barrel through the door with a cheery ‘Honey, I’m home.’
It’s impressive to see and gratifying to have one’s expectations borne out. Because isn’t this the Witherspoon we know and love? Bright, breezy and boundlessly energetic, the seasoned crowd-pleaser who has been at it since the age of 14, the Southern gal with a gift for comedy. Yes, it is, to an extent. But getting the full measure of this 38-year-old, we’d better not reduce her to that. There is a cautionary tale being told here about Hollywood and the media, and Witherspoon is the one telling it. It goes something like this: ‘Don’t put me in that box. Or any box, for that matter. People are complex, on-screen and off. Can’t we do justice to that?’ It’s a word that comes up time and again in discussions with and about her: complex.
Reese Witherspoon Talks ‘Weak’ Female Characters And One Thing Women Should Focus On In 2014
What does it take to get to the top — without losing your center? Our “Making It Work” series profiles successful, dynamic women who are standouts in their fields, peeling back the “hows” of their work and their life, taking away lessons we can all apply to our own.
Reese Witherspoon attended a young women’s conference at her teenaged-daughter’s school in Los Angeles, Calif. last month and was in good company: she brought along her own mother, her good friend Mindy Kaling and joined notable women like Maria Shriver and Lisa Leslie for a day of events and discussions.
Witherspoon said of her 14-year-old daughter Ava, “I don’t need to teach her much. She has a lot of self-confidence. I came from a very long line of very strong, hard-working women. So I think she gets a lot of inspiration from her grandmothers on both sides.”
But Witherspoon’s children must certainly garner a healthy dose of inspiration from their own mother, too. Witherspoon won an Academy Award for her performance as June Carter (another fierce woman) in 2005’s “Walk The Line” and currently has four films in post-production, including the smash bestsellers “Gone Girl” and “Wild.” Witherspoon has two children with actor Ryan Phillippe and a toddler with new husband and agent Jim Toth. She might have won Hollywood’s heart in “Legally Blonde,” but she has since proven herself as an extremely talented actor, singer and producer.
The Huffington Post spoke with Witherspoon, 37, about accomplishing everything you want, taking on the challenging role of Cheryl Strayed in “Wild” and what the most important thing women can do in 2014 is.
How do you define success and do you consider yourself successful by that measure?
I think more and more for me, it’s about finding balance between work and family and finding time for myself. I think it’s sort of 30/30/30 — or trying to be at least. Right now it’s sort of like 50/20/5 [laughs]. I think it takes time. You just learn, as you get older, to carve out time for yourself and still accomplish everything that you want. And I’m still in the process of having huge goals and things that I want to accomplish. But I’m trying to do those things while still maintaining a little balance.
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