Reese attended the Upfront Summit in LA on January 29th/30th, to talk about Hello Sunshine with her CEO Sarah Harden.
The annual Upfront Summit hosts more than 1,000 top investors, entrepreneurs, and leaders for an invitation-only event in Los Angeles. Forget what you think you know about tech conferences – with two days of compelling content, conversation, and connection, our Summit showcases the best of technology, innovation, and creativity, from established global brands to bleeding edge disruptors. We take on meaningful subjects with true thought-leaders. And it’s a lot of fun – it is LA, after all.
Reese Witherspoon and Sarah Harden discuss creating their media company Hello Sunshine and developing projects that put marginalized creative voices and storytelling at the forefront – how it was started, the untraditional power structure at the head of the company, and how they’re architecting the business for the next 20 years.
They also discuss how much they love data and books, about the journey of Reese’s Book Club, and what it takes to change and diversify the media landscape.
As posted about last night, Reese attended the Screen Actors Guild Awards in Los Angeles yesterday, where she was nominated for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series for Big Little Lies, and her The Morning Show co-stars Jennifer Aniston, Steve Carell and Billy Crudup were nominated for their performances. Congratulations to Jennifer who picked up the Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Drama Series SAG for The Morning Show! Watch Jennifer’s win in the video below, which has a few brief shots of Reese. No other wins for Reese’s shows unfortunately, but it looks she had a fun night anyway – she was snapped with her Big Little Lies co-stars Meryl Streep, Nicole Kidman, Zoe Kravitz and Laura Dern, and her friend Michelle Williams, amongst others! Reese looked absolutely stunning in a black and silver embellished dress by Celine, with Harry Winston jewellery, and a Tyler Ellis purse – I love this look on Reese!
We have over 150 gorgeous HQ photos in our Gallery for you:
Reese made another appearance at the TCA Winter Tour today, this time to preview The Morning Show! She was joined by Jennifer Aniston, Billy Crudup, producer and director Mimi Leder, and producer Michael Ellenberg. They talked about how the show has been received, the culture portrayed within the show, and season 2. Read reports from the panel below.
We’ll have a full set of pictures for you asap, but for now here’s a preview: HQ photos have been added to the Gallery:
‘The Morning Show’ Team on Steve Carell’s Season 2 Future, Season 1 Criticism
Although the first season of “The Morning Show” ended on Steve Carell’s former news anchor character, Mitch Kessler, who was fired at the top of the season amid sexual misconduct allegations, finally feeling the weight of what he did, there is no guarantee the second season will see him learn, grow or be around at all.
Although executive producer Michael Ellenberg said at the Television Critics Assn. press tour panel for the Apple TV Plus drama “certainly picks up where we ended” in terms of the fallout that will have to come after anchors Alex Levy (Jennifer Aniston) and Bradley Jackson (Reese Witherspoon) outed their network for knowing more about the allegations against Mitch earlier than they had led on, when it comes to Mitch himself, Ellenberg said they are still discussing if he will be back onscreen, as Carell’s original deal was only for the first season and they do not have a new one in place.
Aniston, who also executive produces, pointed out that although the show is “of course” about #MeToo, its messages are more widespread than that. “Gender dynamics, power dynamics, abuse of power — and not just sexual abuse of power but just power struggles in general,” are all story areas “The Morning Show” endeavors to explore.
Reese attended the Television Critics Association Winter Tour on Friday, to preview her upcoming Hulu series Little Fires Everywhere. Reese’s co-star/co-executive producer Kerry Washington, and writer and co-executive producer Liz Tigelaar joined her for the panel. They talked about developing roles for women, the complexity of the characters and storylines, and how producing their own projects opens up more opportunities for them. Reese wore a chic black outfit by Michael Kors for the panel.
Witherspoon, Washington team in front of and behind camera
Tired of others influencing her career choices, Reese Witherspoon launched her own production company eight years ago. She has been calling the shots on both sides of the camera ever since, often in collaboration with other high-profile actresses.
“I didn’t see a place to exist within the industry that we had,” she said. “There just wasn’t a spectrum of storytelling for women that I felt like was representative of the world that we walk through.”
Her company Hello Sunshine generates most of what Witherspoon does when she isn’t working with streaming services like Hulu. Starting in March, it airs “Little Fires Everywhere,” based on Celeste Ng’s 2017 bestseller, with Witherspoon and Kerry Washington playing mothers living in Ohio in the late 1990s. Both women were executive producers as well.
Jennifer Aniston & Reese Witherspoon On Battling Ageism, ‘The Morning Show’, & Dealing With Sexual Harassment In Hollywood
Among the many highlights of Apple TV+’s addictive The Morning Show are the quick-witted (and emotionally fraught) verbal sparring matches between America’s sweethearts Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon. On a recent afternoon in a suite at Claridge’s, however, the glossy, impeccably well-groomed pair are virtually cheerleading for each other in between feminist rants. “The most ageist stuff I ever heard was from financial advisors who said to me, ‘Start saving money now because at 40 you’re not going to be making anymore money,” says Witherspoon, leaning in towards me conspiratorially. “I make more money now in my 40s than I’ve made in my entire career… I remember a [specific] guy telling me that, and guess what? I fired him!” She pulls away and laughs. “That’s not a joke,” chimes in Aniston, grinning. “You tell them, sister!” rejoins Witherspoon.
You get the sense that Aniston and Witherspoon have been waiting their entire lives for a project like Apple TV+’s landmark series – for which both actresses are nominated for Best Actress in a TV Series: Drama at the Golden Globes tonight. Set over 24 days, the catalyst for the plot is a decidedly Today-esque scandal: Mitch (Steve Carrell), the long-term host of a morning news programme in Manhattan, is accused of sexually harassing coworkers and abruptly fired – much to the horror of Alex (Aniston), his co-host for the last 15 years. Brought in as his replacement on the whim of the ambitious head of the news division, Cory (Billy Crudup), is the fiery, inexperienced reporter Bradley (Witherspoon), who has a habit of going rogue on live television, pushing Alex even closer to the edge.
Critics may have been divided over the first episodes of the series – but, taken as a whole, its 10 hour-long instalments represent a more nuanced depiction of the fallout from #MeToo than any other series since the Weinstein allegations cracked the foundations of Hollywood. Through subplots that involve a host of what first appear to be minor characters – including junior network staffers played brilliantly by Bel Powley and Gugu Mbatha-Raw – The Morning Show broaches numerous thorny issues, from the nuances of sexual coercion (notably, Powley’s Claire has a consensual relationship with a much older senior weatherman) to the potentially exclusionary nature of mainstream feminism (“’Cause America loves a good Cinderella story as long as she’s a white girl,” says one of the few TV hosts of colour after she’s passed over for the job in favour of Bradley).
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.
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.”
‘From Book To Script To Screen,’ Reese Witherspoon Is Making Roles For Women
Actor Reese Witherspoon became famous in her 20s after starring in films like Election and Legally Blonde, but by the time she entered her 30s, the film landscape had shifted. DVD sales had shrunk and smaller, female-centered movies were in short supply. It was nearly impossible to find good leading roles for women.
Witherspoon began asking different movie studios what projects they were developing for women. “With the exclusion of one studio, everybody said ‘Nothing. Nothing with a female lead,’ ” she says.
So Witherspoon decided to start a production company and began adapting books with complex female characters into films and TV shows. The idea was to create better parts for women — and to help female authors get their stories sold.
Witherspoon’s company spearheaded the adaptation of Gone Girl, Wild and Big Little Lies, among other titles. Looking back, Witherspoon describes her shift into producing as “betting on myself.”
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