THE NEW YORK PUBLIC LIBRARY AND HBO KICK OFF #READINGISLIT, A NATIONAL CAMPAIGN TO CELEBRATE AND PROMOTE THE WRITTEN WORD
The New York Public Library is joining forces with HBO on #ReadingIsLit, a national campaign to celebrate the written word, the power of storytelling and encourage people to read, talk about, and enjoy all things literary.
The campaign will feature writers, performers, and creators from popular HBO programs sharing what they’re reading, what stories inspire them, and what books they recommend. Through videos, interviews, social media interactions and more, they’ll also encourage members of the public to visit their local libraries and sign up for library cards.
Participants in the online component — which will take place across HBO and New York Public Library social media channels — include Reese Witherspoon, Laura Dern, and Shailene Woodley from “Big Little Lies;” Thandie Newton from “Westworld;” Mark Duplass, co-creator of “Room 104;” and Damon Lindelof, co-creator of “The Leftovers.”
The New York Public Library will also share a host of information at nypl.org/readingislit and www.hbo.com/readingislit, including book recommendations from its team of expert librarians, information about applying for library cards, videos, and more.
Offline, the Library will offer special book displays at its 88 neighborhood branches in the Bronx, Manhattan, and Staten Island, featuring titles that have been adapted into HBO television shows and movies — such as the Song of Ice and Fire series (which became “Game of Thrones”), “Sharp Objects,” and “Fahrenheit 451” — as well as “read-alikes” chosen by librarians that should appeal to fans of HBO shows.
Reese appears on the cover of the June issue of Fast Company, a US business magazine. She is named one of their ‘100 Most Creative People in Business’ (#11 to be exact), and the magazine features an extensive new interview and a new photoshoot. See some behind the scenes videos on the magazine’s website, and find scans and photos from the shoot in our Gallery. It’s fantastic to see Reese recognised for her work like this!
How Reese Witherspoon is flipping the script on Hollywood The Hello Sunshine founder is channeling women’s voices into top-tier entertainment–and altering the dynamics of the entire industry along the way.
When Reese Witherspoon was 17, she had already appeared in four films. Still, she took an unlikely part-time job, as an intern in Disney’s post-production department. “I wanted to learn about editing, visual correction, and sound mixing,” she tells me 25 years later. Not long after, she worked as a production assistant on the 1995 Denzel Washington film Devil in a Blue Dress, helping with casting, among other things. Also: “I parked Denzel’s Porsche!”
That inquisitiveness, as well as nearly three decades in front of the camera, has made Witherspoon one of Hollywood’s most astute producers. She turned Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl into a $369 million worldwide hit in 2014 (that earned Rosamund Pike an Oscar nomination) and did it again, that same year, transforming Cheryl Strayed’s best-selling memoir, Wild, into a breakout success ($52 million plus Oscar nods for Witherspoon and costar Laura Dern). Then came HBO’s Big Little Lies, executive produced with costar Nicole Kidman; the cultural bellwether about female relationships and domestic abuse, based on a novel by Liane Moriarty, swept nearly every category for which it was nominated at the 2017 Emmys. After years of hearing from studio executives that there was no market for female-driven films, Witherspoon had succeeded to a degree that proved a hunger was there.
Her instinct for what women want is now being tested on multiple platforms through her 18-month-old storytelling company, Hello Sunshine. She and her team currently have shows in development at Hulu, NBC, and Apple TV (which has partnered on three projects, one rumored to be the biggest deal in history for a straight-to-series show), as well as a film at TriStar/Sony Pictures. But Witherspoon is also laying the foundation for a direct-to-consumer brand, one that is already beginning to speak to women through a website, social media, YouTube and Facebook videos, audiobooks, podcasts, and newsletters—whichever platform she and Hello Sunshine execs think best honors the story being told.
Reese Witherspoon Launches New Show ‘Meet My Mom’ on Facebook Watch
Reese Witherspoon is adding another show to her growing list of productions.
Witherspoon and her media company Hello Sunshine, which focuses on telling female-driven stories, announced her newest show, “Meet My Mom,” which debuts Thursday (10th) on Facebook Watch. The five-episode, short form series centers on a chat between a celebrity and his/her mom, with the “Big Little Lies” star and her mother Betty kicking off the first episode.
“As a child, it’s sometimes hard to see your mom as an individual with her own life,” Witherspoon said in a statement. “But ‘Meet My Mom’ is the chance to get to know the real person behind the mom and find out what really makes her tick. I’m excited to bring this concept to the Facebook community and to hear from all of the other wonderful, hard-working moms out there.”
The rest of the series will stream throughout May and feature “Westworld’s” Leonardo Nam, YouTube star Lilly Singh, Olympic figure skater Adam Rippon, and model Ashley Graham in conversations with their families. “Meet My Mom” can be seen on the Facebook site, mobile app, and its TV apps.
This is just the latest project Witherspoon has taken on, as she also has the TV adaptation “Little Fires Everywhere” in the works, which she and Kerry Washington will both executive produce and star in. Meanwhile, Witherspoon and Jennifer Aniston will topline a still-untitled morning show drama for Apple. Witherspoon will executive produce Apple’s “Are You Sleeping,” co-produced by Chernin Entertainment, with Octavia Spencer attached to star. She is also set to appear in the second season of the critically-acclaimed HBO series “Big Little Lies,” which she executive produces.
Martina Navratilova Documentary to Be Produced by Reese Witherspoon
Reese Witherspoon’s Hello Sunshine is developing its first feature-length documentary about tennis legend Martina Navratilova in partnership with Glenn Greenwald and Suzanne Gilbert.
The documentary will explore Navratilova’s achievements as a social justice pioneer told through Greenwald’s personal lens as a gay child growing up in Reagan-era Florida. The documentary will examine Navratilova’s impact on him as his childhood hero, how people find role models, and what people seek when they feel isolated, judged, or cast aside by society.
“The issues raised by Martina’s legacy resonate now more than ever, which is why it’s so important to tell her story to new generations of engaged young people who may not be aware of the vital role she played in shaping expectations around female identity and LGBT equality,” said Charlotte Koh, head of digital media and programming for Hello Sunshine.
Koh is also producing the project. “Having producers Glenn and Suzanne reframe Martina’s impact on society through the lens of Glenn’s personal coming-of-age journey creates a fresh, intimate, and relatable film for a wide audience,” she added.
Navratilova is regarded as one of the best tennis players of all time. She won 18 singles titles, 31 major women’s doubles titles, and 10 major mixed doubles titles.
“As monumental as Martina’s on-court achievements were, they pale in comparison to her role as a pioneer and trailblazer on questions of feminism, women’s athletics, equality for gay and lesbians across the planet, transgender visibility, immigrant rights, and the right of political dissent,” Greenwald said. “I’m excited to be partnering with Reese and Hello Sunshine to explore her truly enduring legacy, her remarkable courage directly or indirectly inspiring millions of people who lacked any other role models.”
Greenwald plans to feature materials and memories shared by fans all across the world that demonstrate Navratilova’s impact on various social and political initiatives.
Greenwald’s work with Edward Snowden was chronicled in the documentary “CitizenFour,” which won the Academy Award in 2015, and the film “Snowden” in 2016.
Witherspoon founded Hello Sunshine in 2016 with the goal of promoting female authorship and storytelling. It’s developed a Hulu limited series from Witherspoon and Kerry Washington, based on Celeste Ng’s “Little Fires Everywhere”; an untitled morning show series produced by and starring Jennifer Aniston and Witherspoon, which was given a two-season order by Apple; a film for Fox 2000 based on the novel “Something in the Water”; and “A White Lie,” a psychological thriller for TriStar Pictures.
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.
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.
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