Reese Witherspoon talks Apple TV+ drama ‘Surface,’ how new ‘Top Gun’ inspired ‘Legally Blonde 3’
If you’re missing “Big Little Lies,” Reese Witherspoon is here to help.
The actress and producer, featured in two seasons of the addictive HBO drama, is back behind the camera as executive producer of Apple TV+’s “Surface” (first three episodes streaming Friday, then weekly).
Created by Veronica West (Hulu’s “High Fidelity”), the sumptuous psychological thriller follows a San Francisco woman named Sophie (Gugu Mbatha-Raw) who suffers a traumatic head injury after falling off a boat in an apparent suicide attempt. With support from her therapist (Marianne Jean-Baptiste) and attentive husband James (Oliver Jackson-Cohen), Sophie attempts to heal and piece her memories back together.
But with the arrival of a mysterious man from her past (Stephan James), she begins to realize that she’s not being told the full truth of what happened to her – or even who she is.
“It reminded me of ‘Big Little Lies,'” Witherspoon, 46, says of the script. “It’s this very affluent community, but there’s this mystery lying underneath it all. It’s unsettling, and as an audience member, you don’t know who to trust. At the end of every episode, there’s a moment where you’re like, ‘Oh my god, that is completely not what I expected.'”
The project reunites Witherspoon and Mbatha-Raw, who co-starred in Ava DuVernay’s 2018 sci-fi adventure “A Wrinkle in Time” and, a year later, Season 1 of Apple’s “The Morning Show.” The British actress was drawn to the challenge of playing a character like Sophie who’s essentially a “clean slate,” with a backstory that only becomes more apparent as the eight-episode first season progresses.
Mindy Kaling has provided some updates on Legally Blonde 3 (which she is co-writing) in recent interviews:
Kaling, who is co-writing the film’s script with “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” co-creator Dan Goor, told Entertainment Tonight, “I love this project. I am so excited about it.”
“It is going, you know, a little more slowly than we like, but [it’s] just because we really want it to be good,” she added.
MORE: Mindy Kaling will co-write ‘Legally Blonde 3,’ and Elle Woods approves
The former “Office” star said of Reese Witherspoon’s film series, “I think of it like Reese’s ‘Avengers.’ Elle Woods is like her Captain America, and so you don’t want to be the person that messes up that story. So for me, we are just taking our time because we want it to be really good.”
“We don’t want to be responsible for ruining what’s basically Reese’s Avengers franchise,” Kaling says, speaking to TIME for The 100 Most Influential Companies of 2022. Witherspoon committed to a third entry in the franchise in 2018 and personally asked Kaling to write the screenplay. And while Kaling says the script is not yet complete, she did tease some of the questions she and Goor are exploring. “What is Elle Woods like at 42?” she asks. “Does she end up becoming all the things she wanted? How does that personality manifest in a grown woman? Has she become more cynical? Her brightness and her cheerfulness really worked when she was 22, but how has life changed her perspective on things?”
Twenty years after first uniting on “Legally Blonde,” and Reese Witherspoon and Jennifer Coolidge are clocking some of the best performances of their career. As Bradley Jackson on the award-winning Apple TV+ series “The Morning Show,” Witherspoon (who also executive produces alongside co-star Jennifer Aniston) is as fearless and riveting as ever. Coolidge, meanwhile, is showing us exactly what she’s made of with her turn on Mike White’s HBO series, “The White Lotus.” Her Tanya is as left-of-center as we’d expect from the iconic comedic performer, but also shows new dramatic shades that make us love her even more.
In conversation with managing editor Benjamin Lindsay, the two longtime actors walk through their acclaimed careers, offer advice and wisdom they’ve learned along the way, and even tease the upcoming “Legally Blonde 3,” as produced by Witherspoon’s production company Hello Sunshine.
MGM President Pamela Abdy shared some brief new details on Legally Blonde 3 in a recent interview:
What can you tell me about Legally Blonde 3?
It’s really happening. Mindy Kaling and Dan [Goor] are writing it now for Reese [Witherspoon] to star. Reese and Lauren Neustadter are producing with Marc Platt. We’re all developing it together. What does Elle Woods look like at 40? Elle is a mom with a thriving career. We’re looking forward to seeing the script come in sometime in the first quarter.
Is Luke Wilson returning?
It’s definitely our hope that he will return when we are ready to make it.
Reese appeared on The View on September 15th whilst promoting The Morning Show. Reese looked smart in a purple dress by Gabriela Hearst with jewellery from Raven Fine Jewelers. It was another good interview – she chatted about the sale of Hello Sunshine and her mission to “re-center the world around women’s stories”, the infamous script she read 10 years ago that inspired her to start her own production company, the new season of The Morning Show and how it incorporates the real-world and the “new normal” coming from the pandemic, what made morning shows a good topic for a drama series, why Legally Blonde resonates with so many people, the fun she and Mindy Kaling are having working on Legally Blonde 3, her first appearance on The View, and her advice to new mothers. The videos are below and screencaptures are in our Gallery.
That’s all the coverage from Reese’s talk show appearances, but don’t forget to check out the promotional video interviews here for more interviews, and we’ll have screencaptures from these in our Gallery in time.
Reese appeared on Good Morning America on September 15th to promote The Morning Show. She chatted about Legally Blonde‘s 20th anniversary, where season 2 of The Morning Show picks up, TikTok, her kids going back to school, and the success and sale of Hello Sunshine.
Reese appeared on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon on Friday, to promote The Morning Show. They talked about her business, Legally Blonde 1 & 3 (her 9 year old son has just watched the first one!), Friends, and the new season of The Morning Show. Watch the interview below, and find screencaptures in our Gallery:
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