Reese Witherspoon’s Hello Sunshine Is One of the Few Women-Led Success Stories at 2020 Golden Globes
It’s been a banner year for Hello Sunshine: The Reese Witherspoon-founded production company behind HBO’s “Big Little Lies” and Apple TV+’s “The Morning Show” scored six Golden Globe nominations Monday morning. Hello Sunshine and its two shows about strong women served as a bright spot in the historically male-dominated Golden Globes, which this year snubbed female filmmakers in a variety of critical film categories.
Hello Sunshine, which Witherspoon founded in 2016, has quickly made a name for itself in prestige television. The studio says it is focused on telling stories and creating content that celebrates women, and, so far, Hollywood has recognized its efforts; “Big Little Lies’” three Golden Globe nominations Monday come on top of the five the show received last year. (The series was ineligible for this year’s Emmys as HBO likely pushed its Season 2 release date to avoid competing with its own “Game of Thrones”, but the previous year the show earned eight Emmys.)
As for “The Morning Show,” the Apple TV+ tentpole scored three Golden Globe nominations Monday. The recognition could help Apple TV+ and Hello Sunshine maintain their momentum and keep “The Morning Show,” which has already announced a Season 2, in the cultural zeitgeist, especially if voters decide to turn those nominations into awards in January.
Hello Sunshine is working on several upcoming shows, including Hulu’s “Little Fires Everywhere,” Amazon Prime Video’s “Daisy Jones & The Six,” and Starz’s “Kin,” among others.
“When I’m awakened by shaking and my husband’s much too loud and excited voice at 5 AM, it must be a good day,” Witherspoon said in a statement. “I’ve been blessed to work with talented actors and creative teams throughout my career, but this year really takes the cake because I had the honor of working with two amazing groups of people on both ‘Big Little Lies’ and ‘The Morning Show!’ I can’t say enough about each actor, writer, producer creator and member of the hardworking crews that brought these stories to life. Acting is my first love and it was always my dream when I began producing and started Hello Sunshine that we would create smart and compelling stories with strong female voices at the center, but to have people actually enjoy the work we do is truly all I could have hoped for! I’m grateful to the HFPA and to my partners HBO and Apple, David E. Kelly and Kerry Ehrin, Nicole, Laura, Shailene, Zoe, Meryl, Jen, Steve, Billy, Mark, Gugu, Karen, and everyone who had a hand in bringing ‘Big Little Lies’ and ‘The Morning Show’ to life!”
And while the Hello Sunshine team has reason to celebrate, the Golden Globe nominations were especially kind to its distribution partner HBO. Monday’s announcements reaffirmed HBO’s hot streak, as the television studio received 11 Golden Globe nominations, far more than any of its peers; not even the Golden Globes’ snubbing of the divisive Season 8 of “Game of Thrones” slowed the studio down. (Only Kit Harington received a nomination on behalf of the show, in the Drama TV Series acting category.)
As new streaming services enter the market, it has become increasingly important for large entertainment companies to invest in original content. HBO, which received nominations for “Chernobyl,” “Barry,” “Big Little Lies,” and “Catherine the Great,” excels at this, and the power players behind events such as the Golden Globes and Emmys have taken note. The in-house success also bodes well for WarnerMedia’s upcoming HBO Max streaming service, which is slated to launch in May.
Reese has made it onto Forbes’ 2019 World’s 100 Most Powerful Women (#90). Back in June she was listed on America’s Self-Made Women (#77) Power List. Read about how she’s made the lists below:
The World’s 100 Most Powerful Women
In 2019, women around the globe took action, claiming leadership positions in government, business, philanthropy and media. These trailblazers are not to be messed with.
Last December, leader of House Democrats Nancy Pelosi met with President Trump in the Oval Office to discuss a possible government shutdown. During the contentious 15-minute exchange, Pelosi challenged the President, interrupted his interruptions and made clear she would not back down. “Mr. President,” she said, “please don’t characterize the strength that I bring to this meeting.”
A year later, Pelosi has proven why those who misjudge her do so at their peril. As Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, the 79-year-old is second in line for the presidency and the first woman to hold the speakership in American history. She is also the first to return to that role in more than 60 years (her first appointment went from 2007 until 2011, when the Democrats lost control of the House). And she’s the engineer of the country’s fourth-ever impeachment proceedings.
To coincide with receiving the Sherry Lansing Leadership Award and being named on the 2019 Women in Entertainment Power 100 from The Hollywood Reporter, Reese is featured on the cover of the December 11th issue of the magazine. Inside is a fantastic and in depth new interview, and a new photoshoot. Reese talks about how her career has developed, and there are some great quotes from co-stars and executives that have worked with her along the way. We’ll have scans for you as soon as we can!
How Reese Witherspoon Took Charge of Her Career and Changed Hollywood
Tired of dreadful scripts and degrading magazine spreads, the Oscar-winning actress, producer, entrepreneur and activist built an empire on her own taste and work ethic. Now she plots projects all over Hollywood and responds to critics of her paychecks: “Does it bother people when Kobe Bryant or LeBron James make their contract?”
“You ready for your eyes to roll back in your head?”
The warning comes an hour or so into lunch at L.A.’s members-only San Vicente Bungalows, once Reese Witherspoon has fished her phone from the depths of her designer purse and slid it across the table. There, on her screen, is an illustration that ran four years ago in Time magazine, accompanying a trend piece headlined “Hollywood’s New Domestic Divas.”
The Oscar-winning actress, who at the time had just launched her retail company, Draper James, is in the center, outfitted preposterously with a vacuum, an apron and an evening gown. She’s flanked by Gwyneth Paltrow, holding a strawberry shortcake her Goop devotees wouldn’t dare touch, and Jessica Alba, wielding an iron, despite her Honest company’s focus on diapers and baby wipes. Blake Lively and Lauren Conrad are pictured as well; with a mixing bowl (Lively had a lifestyle site) and cleaning supplies (Conrad’s Little Market sells everything but). They, too, are in formal-wear.
The passage of four years has not dulled Witherspoon’s outrage. She wondered: Where was George Clooney and his tequila? Or Mark Wahlberg and his burger joints? “What? Men are entrepreneurs but how dare we be anything more than actresses?” she asks, as a pair of attentive waiters clear the remains of her club sandwich. “We, as women, are expected to stay in our lane — that was the inference, and I had sleepless nights over it. I remember calling one of these other women going, ‘What are we doing about this?’ ”
December 7, 2019 • Category: Hello Sunshine, Producing •
Comments Off on ‘Truth Be Told’: How the Apple TV+ Drama Came to Be, From Pitch to Screen
Truth Be Told is a new crime-drama series for AppleTV+ that Reese executive produced through Hello Sunshine. Below is an interview with some of the other producers about how the show was developed – there is only a brief mention of Reese, but still an interesting look at the work put in.
‘Truth Be Told’: How the Apple TV+ Drama Came to Be, From Pitch to Screen
In Apple TV+’s “Truth Be Told,” Octavia Spencer plays Poppy Parnell, a true-crime podcaster who is compelled to reopen the murder case that made her a national sensation and comes face to face with the man she may have mistakenly helped to put behind bars. Relitigating the murder case via her podcast, Parnell contends with nearly 20 years of family secrets, deceit, and the San Francisco Bay Area’s powerful in order to get to the truth.
The series, which is created by Nichelle Tramble Spellman (“The Good Wife”) and premieres today, came about after general conversations on the value of true crime between executive producers Jenno Topping, Reese Witherspoon and Lauren Neustadter. Witherspoon recommended that Topping and Neustadter consider Kathleen Barber’s 2017 novel, “Are You Sleeping.”
“We read it and loved it, and especially loved its potential in terms of an adaptation,” Topping said. “Lauren then got involved as well. We had just done ‘Hidden Figures’ with Octavia, and together we found Nichelle and it just became a happy party.”
Besides the novel, Bay Area native Spellman’s attraction to the project started with the opportunity to explore the phenomena of podcasting and revisiting criminal cases. She also relished the idea of setting a series in the city where she was born and raised. The original story was set in Illinois, a state unfamiliar to Spellman.
“I’m a Bay Area girl, and I really wanted to show the diversity that I remembered,” she said. “Much of what I was fond of has kind of disappeared, or been altered after all the money that came in from Silicon Valley spread through San Francisco and then into the East Bay. So the series is a little bit of a love letter to how things used to be.”
Following on from our initial update, in the past week we’ve completed our set of HD screencaptures from Reese’s recent TV talk/documentary show Shine On With Reese! I really enjoyed this series – I enjoyed seeing Reese’s affection for her friends and her enthusiasm and curiosity around female leadership. I also liked her unashamed confidence in herself! The series is on Netflix now, and is a must see 🙂 Enjoy the 5,000+ gorgeous HD screencaptures from the series in our Gallery:
Over the past few days we’ve added over 2,500 HD screencaptures from the first 5 episodes of Reese’s TV talk series/documentary Shine On With Reese! I’m really enjoying this show – I love hearing Reese interview these women, and you can see how some of them have really influenced her career path (particularly Dolly Parton!).
Join Reese on the press tour for The Morning Show as she visits her old stomping grounds in London Town. Reese tells us stories about her time living in London while she shows us her favorite spots all over the city, from her favorite chocolate shop to a funky London boutique.
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