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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"
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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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Reese and her Big Little Lies co-stars grace the cover of US Elle magazine this month! As part of the magazine’s ‘Women In TV’ issue, the four female co-stars – Reese, Nicole Kidman, Shailene Woodley and Zoe Kravitz – each have their own individual cover, and inside are new interviews and photos with them all. For now, we have a HQ cover for you in our Gallery and Elle has posted some snippets from the interviews on their website – link below. The magazine hits American news-stands on January 17th.
Reese looks gorgeous on this cover! We may need to have a new layout up soon … 🙂
Reese Witherspoon, Zoë Kravitz, Nicole Kidman, and Shailene Woodley Spill Their Secrets
Take two megawatt executive producers, Reese Witherspoon and Nicole Kidman. Add a pair of Hollywood’s most zeitgeisty twentysomethings, Shailene Woodley and Zoë Kravitz. Throw in a blockbuster novel about a group of upper-middle-class mothers of kindergartners roiled by sexual violence, class issues, ageism, and…murder! (That’d be Liane Moriarty’s 2014 Big Little Lies.) The result is an HBO miniseries that, even in this big-budget, high-minded small-screen era, we’ve never seen before: a seven-part thriller that looks like a movie, feels like a movie—and packs enough woman power to populate the Oscars’ front row—but grips like only episodic TV can.
For more on ELLE’s Women in TV honorees, pick up the February issue on newsstands nationwide January 17.
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Reese Witherspoon, Nicole Kidman reveal the genesis of Big Little Lies
It began with a manuscript. In 2014, a friend slipped Reese Witherspoon an early galley of Liane Moriarty’s Big Little Lies. The Australian author has a knack for spinning a compelling tale — her previous book, The Husband’s Secret, had hit No. 1 on the New York Times best-seller list a year earlier — and this one was no exception.
“Liane’s writing is so enthralling, I was hanging on every word. I read it in one night,” says Witherspoon of the story of a wealthy seaside enclave where not everything is as perfect as it seems and the combined community secrets lead to a mysterious murder.
Her producing partner, Bruna Papandrea, called Nicole Kidman — a longtime friend since the women were teenagers — and said simply: “I’ve found the thing for us all to do together.” Kidman (who also read the book in a single sitting) happened to be leaving the next day for Australia, and while there she met Moriarty for coffee. “I said to her, ‘If you give us the rights to the book, we can get it made,’” says Kidman.
Within 18 months, a staggering number of A-listers were heading into production. Witherspoon and Kidman were joined by Shailene Woodley in the lead roles, with Laura Dern, Zoë Kravitz, Alexander Skarsgård, and Adam Scott also in the cast. David E. Kelley (Ally McBeal) signed on as an executive producer and wrote all seven episodes. Jean-Marc Vallée — fresh off his Oscar-nominated film Wild — agreed to direct every installment, too. (He’d been planning to direct only the pilot but had a hard time saying no to his Wild leading lady. “This is all Reese’s fault,” he says with a laugh. “I was about to take a vacation, and I was so tired. But then I read it, and I couldn’t abandon it after I started.”)
All that talent shows: The series has its fair share of humor and dark drama — and then even darker drama — yet the actresses never miss a step. “I sometimes felt like I was watching a class in acting,” says Witherspoon of her costars.
Big Little Lies premieres on Feb. 19 at 9 p.m. ET on HBO. Check out the trailer above.
Reese is on the cover of the new issue of People magazine, in a feature about her festive plans. The magazine features festive photos taken to promote Draper James, and in the interview Reese talks about what she plans to give her kids for Christmas, her holiday traditions, and New Years Resolutions. Find scans from the magazine in our Gallery – and be sure to pick up a copy yourself! Merry Christmas, Reese fans!
Reese Witherspoon on What She’s Giving Her Kids for Christmas (and What She Really Wants!)
Reese Witherspoon‘s got a list, and she’s checking it twice!
The star, 40, is gearing up for the holidays by making sure all her family’s favorite things are under the Christmas tree, especially for her three children: daughter Ava, 17, son Deacon, 13 (from her first marriage to actor Ryan Phillippe), as well as son Tennessee, 4 (with her husband of five years, agent Jim Toth).
“My kids already have fond memories of our Christmas traditions,” says Witherspoon, wearing the Winter Deer Skirt ($195) from her clothing line Draper James in the photo below. “They’re definitely not grown up. They still love presents.”
So what’s she getting for them? For Ava, she’s turning to her teenage daughter to guide her. “She wants blue jeans and a cool coat,” she says. “I told her to tell me exactly what to buy. I don’t want to guess!”
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