‘Unlocking Us’ podcast – Brené with Reese Witherspoon & Kerry Washington on Little Fires Everywhere
Reese Witherspoon and Kerry Washington are true creatives and storytellers, working to make timely art that is honest and vulnerable and truth-telling. Here’s part two of my conversation on Little Fires Everywhere. This episode covers how Reese and Kerry worked with a team of other creatives to bring Celeste’s words to life. We talked about the challenges and responsibilities of creating authentic, living, breathing characters with complex internal thoughts. We talked about motherhood and how it connects us, changes us, and changes as it goes. And we talked about creating art that honors ordinary, complicated people from completely different backgrounds, while connecting us all together.
The Hollywood Reporter are continuing their annual awards season ‘Roundtable’ series in the run-up to the Emmys, and they released their Drama Actress Roundtable this week. Unsurprisingly they include Reese, who has not one but three(!) TV shows in the running for Emmy nominations – Big Little Lies, The Morning Show and Little Fires Everywhere. Also included in the Roundtable are Jennifer Aniston (The Morning Show), Zendaya (Euphoria), Rose Byrne (Mrs America), Janelle Monae (Homecoming) and Helene Bonham-Carter (The Crown). The actresses sat down for a video call roundtable to discuss their careers, the industry and the Black Lives Matter protests and social unrest. The actresses also did individual photoshoots for the magazine, which were conducted remotely by Facetime.
Watch the roundtable interview below, and find the photoshoot and scans in our Gallery. Pick up a copy of the magazine today!
“I’m Not Settling for Lip Service”: Janelle Monae, Jennifer Aniston, Zendaya, Reese Witherspoon, Helena Bonham Carter, Rose Byrne and the Drama Actress Roundtable
Six top actresses get real about everything from dismantling systemic racism (“It can’t just be, ‘We’re going to march with you and do a hashtag'”) to fighting typecasting (“For the life of me, I could not escape ‘Rachel from “Friends”‘”).
The Hollywood Reporter’s Drama Actress Roundtable was set to take place two weeks before it actually did. But as the country hit a boil, erupting in protest following the killing of George Floyd, its early June timing no longer felt right.
The actresses — The Morning Show’s Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon (also of Little Fires Everywhere and Big Little Lies), Homecoming’s Janelle Monáe, Euphoria’s Zendaya, Mrs. America’s Rose Byrne and The Crown’s Helena Bonham Carter — collectively decided they needed the space and time to properly process what was happening around them. And with it, a chance to listen and learn.
Almost 20 Years After ‘Legally Blonde 2,’ Reese Witherspoon and Regina King Talk About Changing Hollywood
HBO’s “Watchmen,” Regina King plays Angela Abar, also known as the masked police detective Sister Night. A drama about the legacy of racial trauma, “Watchmen” shows us the way we live now through the lens of the eponymous 1986 graphic novel — a world in which costumed vigilantes are very much a real thing. Reese Witherspoon — who worked with King in “Legally Blonde 2” in 2003 — was in three shows recently: “Big Little Lies,” “The Morning Show” and “Little Fires Everywhere.” In the last one, set in upper-middle-class Shaker Heights, Ohio, in the ’90s, she plays Elena Richardson, an uptight white woman we would now call a Karen. Angela would arrest Elena for her white privilege.
Note: This conversation for Variety‘s Actors on Actors took place before the protests over police brutality swept through the United States — which is too bad, because “Watchmen,” which aired in the fall, was prescient about such things.
Reese Witherspoon: I feel like I met you when I was 23 years old.
Regina King: I know — we have grown children. We met each other on “Legally Blonde.” Remember when you got Sally Field to play that part? We were just fanning out. And you got to do that again on “Big Little Lies” with Meryl Streep. How do you do it, girl? Putting on your producer cap and your acting cap — are you wearing them simultaneously?
Witherspoon: Well, I try and make them an offer they can’t refuse. I knew I wanted to work with you too. I remember seeing you in “Jerry Maguire,” and I was like, “I’m going to work with her.” You had a spirit inside of you. You have won so many Emmys at this point. Do you have a favorite moment, or a moment that just sits in your heart, that you can never forget? Or the Oscar!
King: They’re all special moments. What about you? I remember when you won the Oscar, and I might have had one drink three times at the Vanity Fair party, and it was such a pure moment. I remember standing at the table eating In-N-Out burgers with your Oscar there. It was so joyous, but you were still my girl.
Reese Witherspoon’s phone stopped ringing. Now she’s making the calls
Sitting next to Nicole Kidman in makeup on the set of “Big Little Lies,” Reese Witherspoon had questions. Loads of questions. What was it like to work with Stanley Kubrick? How did you do the musical numbers in “Moulin Rouge!”? Witherspoon loves movies. At age 44, she has been working on sets for three decades and enjoys nothing more than digging into film lore.
Kidman, though, had more existential musings she wanted to explore. “Do you ever think about dying, Reese?” Kidman would ask her costar. “Because I think about it all the time.”
“And she’s like, ‘Nope, I don’t think about it because I know where I’m going,’” Kidman relates over the phone from her Nashville home. “I wish I had her certainty. Reese doesn’t fear things, that’s for certain.”
Hearing Kidman’s story, Witherspoon laughs, chalking her faith up to her Episcopal upbringing in Nashville. She went to church every Wednesday and Sunday, singing her heart out in the church choir for nine years and loving every minute of it.
“I don’t have a lot of fear, that’s true,” Witherspoon says. “There’s a time and a purpose and a place, and I don’t fear death, because I know there’s heaven. I know it.”
We’re talking on the phone in early May, Witherspoon from her home in Pacific Palisades, where she’s been sheltering in place with her husband, Quibi exec Jim Toth; her college-student daughter, Ava; and younger sons, Deacon and Tennessee. The national protests against racism and police violence following the police killing of another black man, George Floyd, are weeks away. At this moment, all I’m wondering is how Witherspoon can be so certain about the afterlife. It’d be nice to feel sure of something right now.
“My daughter asked me that the other day, and I’m like, ‘I don’t know. I just know,’” Witherspoon says. “I believe deeply that there’s a higher power — and I don’t know what that is — but I just don’t fear dying. A lot of people have these repressive experiences with religion, and I didn’t. I felt this incredible acceptance and that everyone has a gift and we’re all God’s children and your purpose in the world is to find the gifts that God gave you.”
Unlike the entitled woman she played on the Hulu limited series “Little Fires Everywhere,” Witherspoon possesses a self-awareness about her privilege and position, knowledge forged through 30 years of working in Hollywood, seeing and experiencing inequities that made her push for equal-pay-for-equal-work agreements and to start her own media company, Hello Sunshine, to, among other things, tell stories about women – all kinds of women.
CBS Sunday Morning had a profile on Reese and Hello Sunshine on their show yesterday, with a new interview with Reese and her fellow company executives Sarah Harden and Lauren Neustadter. She talked about how her career as a producer has developed, betting on herself, and adapting media for the current coronavirus pandemic.
Reese Witherspoon is not just an Oscar-winning actress; she is also a major Hollywood influencer. Her media company, Hello Sunshine, has been behind stories that put a female perspective front-and-center, such as the TV series “Big Little Lies” and “Little Fires Everywhere.” Correspondent Rita Braver talks with Witherspoon and Hello Sunshine executives Sarah Harden and Lauren Neustadter about their philosophy, and how the coronavirus pandemic is affecting production.
Reese appeared on Jameela Jamil’s ‘I Weigh’ podcast today. This is an incredibly open interview with Reese talking about the media interest in her life, her mental health, and being in therapy, and then the more general topics of females in science/healthcare, representation of race/gender/other minorities, and why she turned to producing. It’s almost an hour long and worth listening to all of it:
What started with a social media post has become a movement, and now a podcast. On I Weigh, Jameela Jamil challenges society’s definition of worth through weight by asking different thought-leaders, performers, activists, influencers, and friends about how they are working through their past shames to find where their value truly lies. With hilarious and vulnerable conversations, I Weigh will amplify and empower diverse voices in an accessible way to celebrate progress, not perfection.
Reese Witherspoon joins Jameela to talk about how instagram helped her control her own narrative, struggling with postpartum depression, the red carpet advice Meryl Streep once shared, how “funny doesn’t sag,” and building her own media company.
In a nice moment of light relief, Reese is gracing the cover of the April issue of Vanity Fair magazine! The article focuses on Reese’s love of books and her success in turning books into well-received movies and TV series with strong female leads – including Little Fires Everywhere. It’s a long but good read, and always really nice to see Reese being celebrated and acknowledged in this way. The magazine also has a gorgeous new photoshoot! Read the interview below or at Vanity Fair, and find the photoshoot in our Gallery. We’ll have scans for you when the magazine is released on news-stands.
In recent years, Reese Witherspoon has turned her literary obsession into an empire. Her latest brilliant book adaptation: Little Fires Everywhere, which debuts March 18 on Hulu.
I first met Reese Witherspoon three years ago at Parnassus Books, the store I co-own in Nashville. She’d come to interview me for Hello Sunshine, her media company, and when the interview was finished, our events manager asked Witherspoon if she’d be willing to have her picture taken with one of our shop dogs, Mary Todd Lincoln, a dappled, silky dachshund who’d been photographed with any number of celebrities in the past. It’s Nashville, after all; it’s the kind of thing we do here. Witherspoon took the little dog and tucked her into an open space in the bookshelf behind her, then proceeded to run the gamut of human emotion: joy, surprise, eagerness, love, suffering, hope—spinning out a master class of acting in less than a minute. The amazing part was not how good Witherspoon was at this—she’s a very good actor—the amazing part was how she managed to shine the enormous light of her talent onto a nine-pound dog. In frame after frame, the viewer’s eye skips the movie star and goes straight to the dachshund, which first appears coy, then knowing, then resplendent. If Oscars were given to pups, everyone would have agreed that this was Mary Todd Lincoln’s year.
March 15, 2020 • Category: Hello Sunshine, News & Gossip, Producing •
Comments Off on Sony, Elizabeth Gabler & Reese Witherspoon Set Scribe For ‘Where The Crawdads Sing’: ‘Beasts Of The Southern Wild’s Lucy Alibar
Sony, Elizabeth Gabler & Reese Witherspoon Set Scribe For ‘Where The Crawdads Sing’: ‘Beasts Of The Southern Wild’s Lucy Alibar
Oscar-nominated Beasts of the Southern Wild scribe Lucy Alibar has been set to adapt the 3000 Pictures/Hello Sunshine film adaptation of Delia Owens’ New York Times bestselling novel Where the Crawdads Sing.
Published by the Penguin Random House imprint G.P. Putnam’s Sons in August 2018., the novel has been a publishing juggernaut, on the bestseller list for 75 weeks with 4.5 million copies sold. Reese Witherspoon and Lauren Neustadter will produce for Hello Sunshine. Witherspoon’s endorsement of the Owens’ first novel on her Reese’s Book Club in September 2018 helped put sales of the book into overdrive.
Gabler and Erin Siminoff will oversee for Gabler’s newly launched Sony Pictures label, 3000 Pictures. That shingle is the partnership among Gabler, HarperCollins\ and Sony Pictures designed to source literary material, mainly from the HarperCollins catalog, for all platforms.
Alibar got an Oscar nomination for Best Adapted Screenplay for co-writing with director Benh Zeitlin 2012’s Beasts of the Southern Wild, an adaptation of her play Juicy and Delicious. She most recently adapted her original play Christmas and Jubilee Behold the Meteor Shower into Troop Zero. That Escape Artists-produced film stars Viola Davis Jim Gaffigan, Allison Janney, and McKenna Grace and it premiered at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival.
She seems a strong fit for Where the Crawdads Sing, which centers on a young woman named Kya. Abandoned by her family, Kya raises herself all alone in the marshes outside of her small town. When her former boyfriend is found dead, Kya instantly is branded by the local townspeople and law enforcement as the prime suspect for his murder. Equal parts haunting crime thriller and coming-of-age story, Where the Crawdads Sing explores the universal yearning for connection, formative first loves and an inner strength one can summon, no matter the obstacles.
“Delia Owens has created a heroine whose strength, perseverance and courage embodies the female character driven stories we are so excited to tell,” Witherspoon said. “We’re thrilled to have Lucy join the team of incredible women who are bringing Kya’s story to life on screen.”
Alibar is represented by Gersh, Manage-ment and Jackoway Austen; Owens is with CAA and Russel Galen of Scovil Galen Ghosh Literary Agency. Hello Sunshine is repped by CAA and Hansen Jacobson.
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