Reese Witherspoon, Kerry Washington to Star in ‘Little Fires Everywhere’ TV Series
A star-studded adaptation of Celeste Ng’s best-seller Little Fires Everywhere has sparked a frenzy among TV buyers.
Kerry Washington and Reese Witherspoon are set to star and exec produce the limited with multiple premium cable and streaming networks bidding. Sources tell The Hollywood Reporter that a parade of network execs took meetings Wednesday at Witherspoon’s Hello Sunshine offices this week in a bid to land the series.
Released last year, Witherspoon’s company snatched up the rights to Little Fires Everywhere shortly after its publication and brought it to ABC Signature Studios topper Tracy Underwood. The cable-focused arm of ABC Studios will exec produce the potential series, which has ignited a bidding war among those who have heard the pitch. Sources note that several outlets attempted to take the package off the table, but Witherspoon and those involved insisted on letting everyone hear the pitch as they mull the right home for the series. (In a rare move, network execs went to the Hello Sunshine offices rather than producers hopping from network to network.)
The book follows the events that transpire after the controversial adoption of a Chinese-American baby divides wealthy Shaker Heights, Ohio — and specifically a landlord and her mysterious tenant, single mother Mia. Liz Tigelaar (Casual, Life Unexpected) will pen the script, exec produce and serve as showrunner. Washington and her ABC Studios-based Simpson Street banner-topper Pilar Savone will exec produce. Witherspoon will also exec produce via her ABC Studios-based shingle alongside Hello Sunshine topper Lauren Neustadter. Author Ng will serve as a producer. The book was a September pick of Witherspoon’s book club and an instant best-seller, appearing on many year-end best-of lists for 2017.
Little Fires Everywhere is the latest TV venture for Witherspoon. The actress and prolific producer also has the upcoming second season of HBO’s Emmy-winning Big Little Lies due in 2019, and is set to star opposite Jennifer Aniston and exec produce an untitled morning show drama that landed at Apple with a two-season order. The Oscar winner and Emmy nominee’s Hello Sunshine is also exec producing Apple’s Kristen Wiig’s straight-to-series comedy and developing Octavia Spencer starrer Are You Sleeping for the tech giant. Witherspoon is repped by CAA, LBI Entertainment and Hansen Jacobson. Hello Sunshine is repped by CAA and Hansen Jacobson.
Hello Sunshine is dedicated to female authorship across all storytelling platforms, including film, television, books, social videos, and audio. The media company is founded by Academy and Emmy Award-winning actress, producer, and entrepreneur Reese Witherspoon.
We’re excited to connect women (and men) to narratives told from a distinctively female perspective. We want the growing Hello Sunshine community of creators and audience members to feel seen and heard. Whether our audience identifies with a character from our book pick or with the heroine (or villain) from our TV shows, or strikes up a conversation sparked by our videos, Hello Sunshine’s mission is to show women as the flawed and often complicated heroes of their own stories. Hello Sunshine – the story starts with you.
Our beautiful Reese graces the cover of the March issue of US Marie Claire magazine! In the interview they talked about the familiar themes of ambition, sexual harrassment, female empowerment, and of course A Wrinkle In Time. Accompanying the interview is a brand new and beautiful photoshoot – I particularly love the softness of the cover, it reminds me of 2003/2005 photoshoots. I love seeing Reese on another big magazine cover, and this one will be available to purchase on US news-stands from February 20th. Find snippets from the interview below, and high quality photos in our Gallery.
The award-winning actress, producer, and activist sits down with Marie Claire’s Editor-in-Chief to discuss her upcoming movie A Wrinkle in Time, diversity in the workplace, and the undeniable evolution of what it means to be a woman today.
I first fell in love with Reese Witherspoon when she strutted down the halls of Harvard Law School in 2001’s Legally Blonde as Elle Woods, proving so forcefully that a woman who cares about makeup and clothes can also be brilliant. I’ve followed Reese’s career ever since, from her Oscar-winning portrayal of June Cash in Walk the Line (2005) to her raw performance in Wild (2014), and I recently spent an entire Saturday binge-watching the Emmy- and Golden Globe-winning Big Little Lies. Reese produced the latter two projects, in addition to 2014’s Gone Girl, under the auspices of her relatively new production company, Hello Sunshine.
Her mom once told her that if you wanted a job done right, you’d have to do it yourself. So, realizing the alarming and persistent dearth of meaty roles for women, Reese set out to create her own opportunities, lifting up other women along the way. With 23 producing projects in the works, it’s kind of a miracle she’s running lifestyle brand Draper James and a killer book club on Instagram. When I heard she’d landed a role in Ava DuVernay’s adaptation of one of my all-time favorite books, A Wrinkle in Time, I volunteered to interview her myself.
Anne Fulenwider: You’ve talked about how you’re proud of your ambition. Where do you get that from?
Reese Witherspoon: I get a lot of support from my husband [Jim Toth, an agent at CAA], who cares deeply about equality and always tells me,“Why wouldn’t you call the person in charge of a company and have a personal relationship with them?” He’s encouraged me to be outspoken. Oprah has encouraged me before I ever met her to be the best version of myself, through her book clubs, the people I saw on her show. [She’s been] an incredible advocate for me as a businesswoman.
Reese Witherspoon’s Second Act: Big-Time Producer From Oscar-winning actress to Emmy-winning producer: After taking charge of her career, she makes deals with HBO and Apple.
A few months ago, Reese Witherspoon realized everything had changed.
HBO’s glossy, seven-episode drama, “Big Little Lies” — which Ms. Witherspoon starred in and helped produce — won eight Emmy Awards, including the one for best limited series. From the Microsoft Theater stage in Los Angeles on Sept. 17, to swelling applause, Ms. Witherspoon spoke of how important it was to bring “women to the front of their own stories and make them the heroes of their own stories.”
Not long after that night, she found herself in demand.
“It opened a lot of doors for me,” Ms. Witherspoon said in an interview this past week. “People wanted to be in business with me as a producer in the TV space. My mission was to create television for other women, for other female storytellers that are actresses, other directors and other writers. I think it just clicked in people’s minds.”
Since then, Ms. Witherspoon has transformed herself from an actress increasingly frustrated with the roles she was being offered into a producer with a slate of projects that puts her in the company of series creators like Dick Wolf, Shonda Rhimes and Ryan Murphy.
Last month, HBO ordered a second season of “Big Little Lies,” with Ms. Witherspoon’s production company, Hello Sunshine, among the key companies behind the show. In addition, Apple has bought three Hello Sunshine projects as part of its push to compete with Netflix, Amazon and Hulu in streaming. That amounts to a third of Apple’s TV purchases to date.
One of the series — which is set to star Ms. Witherspoon and Jennifer Aniston as hosts of a fictional morning news show — marks one of the most expensive deals in TV history: With a 20-episode commitment, Apple has pledged roughly $240 million to make it, according to two people familiar with the series. Ms. Witherspoon’s other two Apple projects will star Octavia Spencer and Kristen Wiig.
Apple’s top TV executives, Zack Van Amburg and Jamie Erlicht, said in a statement that Ms. Witherspoon had “an extraordinary knack for being a step ahead of the zeitgeist.”
The rise of Hello Sunshine — with projects centered on strong, complicated women — syncs up perfectly with the #timesup movement, which counts Ms. Witherspoon as a major player, and gives evidence that the risk-averse Hollywood establishment may have learned something from the blockbuster success of “Wonder Woman” last year.
“People are desperate for this kind of storytelling about the female heroes that have always been in the shadows and now are coming into the light,” Ms. Witherspoon said.
Reese Witherspoon’s Hello Sunshine Names Sarah Harden CEO
Former Otter Media president Sarah Harden, who had been serving as interim CEO of Reese Witherspoon’s Hello Sunshine banner since June, is joining the company full-time in the top position.
“From the moment I met Sarah Harden, I have been in awe of her vast understanding of business development and digital media brands around specific communities,” said Witherspoon. “Sarah is a force of nature. Not only does she believe that women should have every opportunity to succeed in media, she actually makes it happen. There have been so many ideas that I have wanted to execute over the past seven years. Sarah simply put her head down, did the work and made them happen. She leads with the motto ‘less talk, more progress.’ She elevates every idea, conversation and collaboration. I’m thrilled to have her lead this talented Hello Sunshine team.”
Witherspoon formed Hello Sunshine in 2016, in partnership with Otter Media, the joint venture formed between The Chernin Group and AT&T. The media company focuses on on telling female-driven stories across all platforms.
In her former role as President of Otter Media, Harden oversaw the growth of the digital media venture and its companies Fullscreen, Rooster Teeth, Crunchyroll, and Gunpowder & Sky and the formation of Otter’s initial partnership with Hello Sunshine. Before that, Harden served as EVP at the Chernin Group, where she focused on video-centered initiatives including the acquisitions of Crunchyroll, Rooster Teeth, McBeard and the formation of Otter Media.
“Having the opportunity to launch and build Hello Sunshine with Reese Witherspoon is a dream come true,” said Harden. “And to be able to do it at this particular time and with the backing of the same incredible partners in the Chernin Group and AT&T that I have had the privilege of representing in my role at Otter is about as good as it gets.”
Said Jesse Jacobs, President of the Chernin Group: “Sarah has been a force in optimizing Otter’s incredible growth since its inception, and we are thrilled that she is joining Hello Sunshine as CEO. Sarah has always been a champion for women, and her passion for building a modern, female-focused media company makes her the perfect executive for this role. “
In addition, Charlotte Koh has been named as Head of Digital Media & Programming for Hello Sunshine. She’ll be responsible for developing and producing unscripted, social and editorial content across the company’s digital distribution channels. Most recently, Koh was Head of Video at HuffPost and previously the first Head of Originals at Hulu. Prior to Hulu, Koh was SVP Business Development at Marvel Studios and Creative Executive at Fox Searchlight.
Koh joins the Hello Sunshine executive team which also includes Lauren Levy Neustadter, Head of Film and TV.
January 25, 2018 • Category: Hello Sunshine, Producing •
Comments Off on Reese Witherspoon-Zendaya Thriller ‘A White Lie’ Lands At TriStar Pictures
Reese Witherspoon-Zendaya Thriller ‘A White Lie’ Lands At TriStar Pictures
TriStar Pictures has secured worldwide distribution rights to the Zendaya-starring psychological thriller A White Lie, beating out six buyers in a competitive deal. Zendaya is producing the project with Reese Witherspoon and Lauren Neustadter via their Hello Sunshine label.
Monica Beletsky penned the script, which is based on Karin Tanabe’s 2016 novel The Gilded Years. The film is inspired by the true story of African American Anita Hemmings who, passing as white, became the first Black woman to attend Vassar College, the country’s most exclusive school for women.
Hannah Minghella and Nicole Brown will oversee the project for TriStar .
Zendaya is repped by CAA, Monster Talent, and Skrzyniarz & Mallean. Hello Sunshine is repped by CAA and attorney Gretchen Rush. Tanabe is repped by Aevitas Creative Management. Beletsky is repped by CAA and Gang Tyre Ramer & Brown.
Kristen Wiig to Star in Reese Witherspoon-Produced Comedy Series for Apple
Kristen Wiig is set to star in a comedy ordered to series at Apple that boasts Reese Witherspoon among its executive producers, Variety has confirmed.
The 10-episode, half-hour comedy is inspired by Curtis Sittenfeld’s upcoming short story collection “You Think It, I’ll Say It.” It marks Wiig’s first regular television role since she left “Saturday Night Live” in 2012. She will also serve as an executive producer on the show.
Colleen McGuinness created the series and will serve as showrunner and executive producer. Witherspoon will executive produce via her Hello Sunshine banner along with Lauren Neustadter and Wiig. Sittenfeld will serve as a consulting producer. This also marks Apple’s first half-hour scripted comedy order.
Wiig has embarked on a successful film career since leaving “SNL,” including starring in, co-producing, and co-writing the box office hit comedy “Bridesmaids,” for which she earned an Oscar nomination for best original screenplay. Her other recent film credits include “The Martian,” “Downsizing,” and “Ghostbusters.”
This marks the third project Witherspoon and Hello Sunshine have set up at Apple. She and Jennifer Aniston will also star in a currently untitled morning show drama for the streamer, and she will executive produce “Are You Sleeping,” co-produced by Chernin Entertainment with Octavia Spencer attached to star. She will also appear in a second season of the critically-acclaimed HBO series “Big Little Lies,” which she also executive produces.
In addition to the three Witherspoon projects, Apple is also prepping a reboot of “Amazing Stories” from executive producer Steven Spielberg, Ron Moore’s untitled space race drama, the drama “See” from Steven Knight and Francis Lawrence, and the docuseries “Home” from Matt Tyrnauer and Matthew Weaver.
Wiig is repped by UTA and Jackoway Tyerman. Witherspoon is repped by CAA, LBI Entertainment, and Hansen Jacobson. McGuinness is repped by WME and Hansen Jacobson.
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