Octavia Spencer Drama From Reese Witherspoon Nabs Apple Series Pickup
Octavia Spencer is officially headed to Apple.
The tech giant on Wednesday handed out a 10-episode series order to Are You Sleeping, a drama starring the Hidden Figures and Shape of Water actress and produced by Reese Witherspoon. The news comes four months after the iPhone maker put the project based on Kathleen Barber’s true-crime novel into development.
Are You Sleeping offers a glimpse into America’s obsession with true-crime podcasts. It challenges viewers to consider the consequences when the pursuit of justice is put on a public stage. Nichelle Tramble Spellman (The Good Wife, Justified) created the project, penned the script and will serve as showrunner. Witherspoon will executive produce alongside her Hello Sunshine partner Lauren Neustadter, with Chernin Entertainment’s Peter Chernin, Jenno Topping and Kristen Campo overseeing for the recently launched Chernin/Endeavor Content banner. Spencer and Tramble will also exec produce. Sarah Koenig (Serial) was a consultant on the project during its development but is no longer attached to the series.
All told, this is Witherspoon’s third series at Apple, joining the untitled morning show drama in which she will star opposite Jennifer Aniston and an untitled Kristen Wiig comedy series. The prolific producer also is an EP and stars in season two of HBO’s Big Little Lies and has Little Fires Everywhere set at Hulu. In addition to exec producing the latter, Witherspoon will also star opposite Kerry Washington in the limited series that landed at Hulu following a multiple-network bidding war.
Are You Sleeping joins an Apple roster that also includes Amazing Stories, See, a Ron Moore space drama, a Damien Chazelle drama and more.
For her part, Spellman is also set to co-write HBO’s controversial drama Confederate alongside her husband, Malcolm Spellman, and Game of Thrones creators David Benioff and D.B. Weiss.
Spencer is repped by WME; Spellman is with WME and Industry Entertainment; and Witherspoon is repped by CAA.
To celebrate the arrival of Spring, Draper James and Crate & Barrel have co-designed a new range of home decor essentials that “captures the modern, breezy spirit of Southern get-togethers as the season heats up”. Reese told People.com of the range that “this charming collection of outdoor accessories is perfect for your next backyard dinner party with friends and family or an afternoon picnic at the beach.” “Growing up in the South, I’ve learned to love presentation and entertaining, which is why I’m so excited for the Draper James [heart] Crate and Barrel co-branded collection. It perfectly captures the spirit of Southern get-togethers with a blend of modern style,” she added.
Last week Reese announced a new project she’s been working on – a Southern-themed lifestyle book! Whiskey In A Tea Cup will be released in the US on September 18th 2018, and you can pre-order your copy through the links on the book’s official site:
Academy award–winning actress, producer, and entrepreneur Reese Witherspoon invites you into her world, where she infuses the southern style, parties, and traditions she loves with contemporary flair and charm.
Reese Witherspoon’s grandmother Dorothea always said that a combination of beauty and strength made southern women “whiskey in a teacup.” We may be delicate and ornamental on the outside, she said, but inside we’re strong and fiery.
Reese’s southern heritage informs her whole life, and she loves sharing the joys of southern living with practically everyone she meets. She takes the South wherever she goes with bluegrass, big holiday parties, and plenty of Dorothea’s fried chicken. It’s reflected in how she entertains, decorates her home, and makes holidays special for her kids—not to mention how she talks, dances, and does her hair (in these pages, you will learn Reese’s fail-proof, only slightly insane hot-roller technique). Reese loves sharing Dorothea’s most delicious recipes as well as her favorite southern traditions, from midnight barn parties to backyard bridal showers, magical Christmas mornings to rollicking honky-tonks.
It’s easy to bring a little bit of Reese’s world into your home, no matter where you live. After all, there’s a southern side to every place in the world, right?
Reese Witherspoon to produce new podcast How It Is, hosted by Diane Guerrero
Reese Witherspoon has already begun taking over television, and now she’s moving into a whole new storytelling medium: podcasting.
EW can exclusively report that the Big Little Lies star is producing an original podcast, How It Is, which will focus on first-person stories from women about their lived experiences.
“How It Is will feature powerful, personal stories told by a diverse group of high-profile women,” Witherspoon’s media company, Hello Sunshine, said in a statement. “The episodes will present women — celebrities, activists and ordinary people with extraordinary insight — as experts on their own lives, claiming their power by telling their stories.”
Hosted by actress, author, and activist Diane Guerrero, the first season of How It Is will consist of five 30-minute episodes, featuring stories from Tarana Burke, Krista Tippett, Gabrielle Union, Glennon Doyle, Ellen Pao, Lena Waithe, and more. Some of the topics discussed in the first season include anger, power, and freedom.
“We are proud to bring these powerful and relatable stories from a wide variety of incredible women to life and to be expanding the Hello Sunshine brand to the podcast medium where we look forward to connecting with listeners on important topics and compelling stories,” said Sarah Harden, CEO of Hello Sunshine. The company is expected to introduce more female-centric podcasts to its slate in the future.
How It Is debuts April 25. The podcast will be available for download on Apple Podcasts.
Congratulations to Reese for her inclusion on eminent business magazine Fortune’s World’s Top 50 Greatest Leaders list:
The World’s 50 Greatest Leaders Our annual list of the thinkers, speakers, and doers who are stepping up to meet today’s challenges.
Though it seems unlikely, Tim Cook and Indira Jaising have something in common besides membership in Fortune’s 2018 ranking of the World’s Greatest Leaders. Cook (No. 14) is the wealthy CEO of Apple, the most valuable publicly traded company on earth; Jaising (No. 20) is an Indian lawyer who cofounded an NGO called Lawyers Collective, which promotes human rights issues. Yet they share this trait: Both have multiplied their organizations’ effectiveness by harnessing the power of unbundling. Following their example is a new imperative for the best leaders.
The Hollywood Reporter rounds-up details on the latest Big Little Lies season 2 cast additions (besides Meryl Streep). Keen-eyed Reese fans will remember Mo McRae as Jimmy, the journalist in Wild who was adamant that Cheryl was a “female hobo”.
Douglas Smith (The Alienist) will play Corey Brockfield, an off-beat surfer and aspiring marine biologist who becomes Jane’s co-worker.
Crystal Fox joins the cast in a series regular role of Elizabeth Howard, Bonnie’s mother. She’s described as having passed on her outward zen to her daughter but ultimately reveals herself to be controlling and emotionally abusive.
Martin Donovan will recur as Martin Howard, Bonnie’s father.
Mo McRae (Pitch) joins the cast as a recurring guest star, playing Michael Perkins, a new second-grade teacher at Otter Bay Elementary School who tries to cultivate global and social consciousness in his students but Renata becomes furious when his lesson on global warming causes her daughter to have a panic attack.
Reese and her A Wrinkle In Time co-stars and director can be seen on the cover of the March 21st issue of UK Stylist magazine – with a fantastic new book-themed interview and photoshoot! Read the interview below, find the photoshoot in our Gallery, and pick up a copy if you can….
Oprah Winfrey and Reese Witherspoon on the importance of feminist storytelling
Ava DuVernay, Reese Witherspoon, Oprah Winfrey and Mindy Kaling on rewriting the story books and the power of the written word.
“I recently got hate-tweeted by the President,” begins Oprah Winfrey, looking like the most relaxed woman in the USA. “Since then, I’ve been asked, ‘What are you going to do about it?’ Well, did you see that meme a couple of years ago: ‘Ain’t nobody got time for that’? I don’t have time for that. I’m not going to focus one minute of my energy on that. I’m going to stay in the light.”
“Things I don’t have time for: that,” laughs Reese Witherspoon, sitting opposite her. Mindy Kaling interjects: “If you’ve been to the Promised Land, which is where Oprah lives, and you think about whether she is going to spend time thinking about a tweet or if she’s going to live her life, you would understand why she doesn’t have time for that.”
As storytellers go, Oprah Winfrey is one of the greats (and yes, her home in Montecito, California, is called The Promised Land). But she’s also a long-time supporter of other storytellers, having launched the influential Oprah’s Book Club back in 1996 via her incredibly successful TV show.
In fact, in this room there’s a power quadrant of women who are determined advocates of books – Reese Witherspoon via her monthly Instagram book club and adapting numerous titles for the big and small screen (Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn, Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty, Are You Sleeping by Kathleen Barber) through her production company Hello Sunshine; Mindy Kaling, author of New York Times bestsellers Why Not Me? and Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?; and Ava DuVernay, the director of A Wrinkle In Time, in which all three star.
The trio play Mrs Which (Winfrey), Mrs Whatsit (Witherspoon) and Mrs Who (Kaling), three celestial beings and superheroes who guide a young woman of dual heritage across space to search for her father. It’s based on the book of the same name, which was finished in early 1960 but initially rejected by many publishers for being, as hypothesized by the author Madeleine L’Engle, a sci-fi novel with a female protagonist and blurring the lines between a children’s and adult’s book. Finally published in 1962, it went on to become a classic. As I write, the film is second in the US box-office charts to Black Panther – proof, should Hollywood need it, that films telling diverse and fantastical stories, that are told by all voices, are both necessary and profitable.
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