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.
Coronavirus: Reese Witherspoon, Kerry Washington on canceled premiere, ‘social distancing’
Coronavirus has thrown a wrench into kickoff plans for Reese Witherspoon and Kerry Washington’s upcoming Hulu miniseries “Little Fires Everywhere.”
The series, based on the bestselling 2017 novel by Celeste Ng, has received rapturous reviews ahead of its March 18 release, with USA TODAY writing that “the two producer/stars not only meet but easily exceed towering expectations.”
“Fires” charts what happens when the delicate balance in the postcard-perfect suburb of Shaker Heights, Ohio, is thrown out of whack by the clash of two families. Set in 1998, the show watches white, rich, starkly blonde Elena Richardson (Witherspoon) and her husband, Bill (Joshua Jackson) cope with the arrival of artist and single mother Mia Warren (Washington) and her daughter Pearl (Lexi Underwood).
A splashy premiere was planned for Thursday night in Los Angeles, but has been canceled, like all major public events in Hollywood and beyond, in the wake of the coronavirus spread.
Today, the show soldiered on with its press day in Beverly Hills. Many of those interviews moved to phones (including this interview, at USA TODAY’s request). Media attending were asked by publicists to “please refrain from shaking hands/selfies/touching on-site. Additionally, should anyone feel they may be getting sick, we respectfully ask that the outlet send a different press member in your place.”
Witherspoon and Washington spoke jointly with USA TODAY, with more of the interview to follow next week.
Question: How are you feeling today about the coronavirus news?
Reese Witherspoon: I’m feeling everything that everyone out there is feeling: Confusion, stress. I’m trying to look for the most scientific facts and not listen to too much opinion. I feel flooded by opinion. (I’m) talking to friends who I find very grounding. But Kerry and I are similar in that we both have young children and older parents and (are) just navigating that thoughtfully.
Kerry Washington: As Reese said, (I’m) trying to gather the information that we need to get in order to take care of ourselves and our loved ones, but also remembering that your stress level can impact your immunity, and so to try and be calm as well.
Witherspoon: It’s never happened in my lifetime. Talking to my mother and hearing a historical perspective is interesting from her. But I think we’re all in new territory.
Q: What are your thoughts on the cancellation of tonight’s “Little Fires Everywhere” premiere?
Witherspoon: (It was) absolutely necessary. Social distancing is critical right now as we are trying to protect our most vulnerable.
Q: Is it true that the second season of “The Morning Show” is now on hiatus for two weeks?
Witherspoon: Yes that’s correct. We were filming. I shot yesterday and then Apple made the decision last night. And I think it was the right one.
Earlier in the week Reese jetted over to France to attend the Armani Prive Haute Couture Show during Paris Fashion Week. Reese was sitting next to her The Morning Show co-star Bel Powley (she played Claire), and was also pictured with actress Juliette Binoche, the designer himself Giorgio Armani, and his niece Roberta Armani. Reese looked striking in a black embellished jumpsuit by the brand.
German news show ZDF Leute Heute has a good report on Reese’s appearance including snippets from an interview on the red carpet – find screencaptures from that in our Gallery and watch the video here.
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.
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