‘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.
Variety, PBS SoCal Takes ‘Actors on Actors’ Virtual with Jennifer Aniston, Zendaya, Chris Evans
Variety and PBS SoCal have announced the actor lineup and schedule for Season 12 of “Variety Studio: Actors on Actors.”
The new season of the Emmy-winning series was filmed entirely from actors’ homes and includes one-on-one conversations between stars from potential contending shows in this year’s Emmy race. The first two episodes will premiere on PBS SoCal on Friday, July 17, at 8 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. with episodes three and four premiering on Friday, July 24, at 8 p.m. and 8:30 pm. All episodes will stream on pbssocal.org and on the free PBS Video app following their premieres.
The conversations include Jennifer Aniston (“The Morning Show”) with Lisa Kudrow (“Space Force,” “Feel Good”); Henry Cavill (“The Witcher”) with Patrick Stewart (“Star Trek: Picard”); Kieran Culkin (“Succession”) with Dan Levy (“Schitt’s Creek”); Russell Crowe (“The Loudest Voice in the Room”) with Nicole Kidman (“Big Little Lies”); Claire Danes (“Homeland”) with Damian Lewis (“Billions”); Daveed Diggs (“Snowpiercer”) with Anthony Mackie (“Black Mirror,” “Altered Carbon”); Chris Evans (“Defending Jacob”) with Paul Rudd (“Living with Yourself”); Anne Hathaway (“Modern Love”) with Hugh Jackman (“Bad Education”); Nicholas Hoult (“The Great”) with Paul Mescal (“Normal People”); Regina King (“Watchmen”) with Reese Witherspoon (“Little Fires Everywhere”, “Big Little Lies”, “The Morning Show”); Sandra Oh (“Killing Eve”) with Kerry Washington (“Little Fires Everywhere”); Tessa Thompson (“Westworld”) with Ramy Youssef (“Ramy”); and Zendaya (“Euphoria”) with Mj Rodriguez (“Pose”).
“Variety is excited to debut the 2020 ‘Actors on Actors’ Emmy Edition directly from the safety of the homes of this season’s top Emmy-award contending talent,” said Variety group publisher and chief revenue officer, Michelle Sobrino-Stearns. “Our partnership with PBS SoCal on Variety’s three-time Emmy winning series takes our viewers inside the biggest television shows of the past year through these candid one-on-one conversations.”
Variety’s Actors on Actors issue will hit newsstands on June 23 with clips appearing on Variety.com starting June 22nd. “Variety Studio: Actors on Actors” will air on PBS stations across the nation starting in July, and on the WORLD Channel (check local listings).
Reese recently took part (via video) in a tribute to director/producer Lynn Shelton, who recently passed away. Lynn was an executive producer for Little Fires Everywhere, and directed episodes of that series plus The Morning Show. Watch the tribute below – Reese comes in at about 35 minutes. You can donate to support The Shelton/Seal Family Fund for Northwest School for Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Children here: northwestschool.com/donate/the-shelton-seal-fund/
Lynn Shelton Tribute with Marc Maron, Emily Blunt, and More Set for YouTube
Marc Maron, Emily Blunt, and many more are set to appear during the star-studded streaming telecast of “Her Effortless Brilliance: A Celebration of Lynn Shelton Through Film and Music.” The Lynn Shelton tribute will air live tonight at 9pm ET/6pm PT on YouTube and will continue to be free to stream on the platform afterwards. Viewers can watch the live stream in the embedded video below.
Shelton’s longtime friend Megan Griffiths directed the tribute and produced it alongside Mel Eslyn, the Duplass brothers, and Adam Kersh. Among the actors slated to speak are Blunt, Kaitlyn Dever, Rosemarie DeWitt, Mark and Jay Duplass, Jeff Garlin, Joshua Leonard, Sean Nelson, Michaela Watkins, and Reese Witherspoon. Musicians scheduled to perform include Maron, Andrew Bird, Ben Gibbard of Death Cab for Cutie, Laura Veirs, and Tomo Nakayama.
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.
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