How Reese Witherspoon went from A-list actor to bankable producer of Big Little Lies
Reese Witherspoon took control of her career as a teen and is still calling the shots as a producer of successful films and TV shows including Big Little Lies.
It pays not to underestimate Reese Witherspoon.
The Oscar-winning actor, mother of three and super producer of Foxtel’s Big Little Lies has been finding a way to go after what she wants since her teenage years.
Enrolled to study at prestigious Stanford University, the then 18-year-old was largely taking on college at the urging of her mother Betty.
Having played small roles in movies since the age of 14, Witherspoon had already set her heart on a career in showbiz, but was being thwarted by her more sensible mother determined her daughter would get a tertiary education.
That was until Hollywood kept calling.
“I called my mother and I said, ‘Mum, they want me to be in a movie and it pays more than my tuition.’ I could barely afford my tuition, so she was like, ‘OK, well as long as you promise to go back.’ I did the movie and then I got another movie. I called her and she was like, ‘It’s fine if you are doing it but as long as you go back to college’,” a routine conversation that would continue, Witherspoon explained, “until I bought her a house when I was 27 years old. Then she was fine!,” she laughed.
More than 40 movies later, Witherspoon is still calling the shots in her career — plotting her own course and creating her own opportunities with her production company, Hello Sunshine.
She would apply this same single-minded focus and determination when it came to her latest success story — co-producing HBO drama hit, Big Little Lies with Australia’s own Nicole Kidman.
WarnerMedia Streaming Service Gets A Name, Will Include ‘Friends’ Library, Greg Berlanti & Reese Witherspoon Films, CW Series
WarnerMedia has officially anointed its soon-to-launch streaming service HBO Max, which will carry full-season libraries of Friends as well as The Fresh Prince of Bel Air and Pretty Little Liars.
Under new arrangements with Warner Bros Television and others, all 236 episodes of Friends — a longtime mainstay of Netflix — will come to the new service, as will an estimated rollout of 10,000 hours of programming at launch. WarnerMedia has said a beta version of HBO Max will be out by the end of 2019, with a full-bodied version in spring 2020. An ad-supported offering is also in the works, though subscription will be the first phase.
Pricing remains a key strategic question. Disney’s reveal in April of its Disney+ service at just $7 a month has set forth a challenge for many competitors. WarnerMedia is in a particular bind, with HBO’s relationships with pay-TV operators (who have partnered to develop the network over many decades) keeping the price of stand-alone service HBO Now at $15 a month. Most observers expect WarnerMedia to price HBO Max above the current level for HBO Now, though the company and its parent, AT&T, have not yet disclosed pricing details. It is also unclear how — or if — HBO Max will be differentiated from HBO Now, the stand-alone service that has racked up 8 million subscribers since its 2015 launch.
Disney, NBCUniversal and Apple are all preparing major new entrants in the streaming wars, a long-developing response to Netflix’s steady climb to more than 150 million global subscribers.
Greg Berlanti, who is locked into a rich Warner Bros deal, is also going to be supplying four new movies for the service, and Reese Witherspoon’s Hello Sunshine will produce at least two films.
‘Big Little Lies’ & ‘Euphoria’ Viewership Hit Series Highs For HBO
The Fourth of July holiday weekend turned out to be a great cause for celebration for HBO’s Big Little Lies and Euphoria.
The July 7 airing of the fifth episode of Season 2 of the multiple Emmy-winning drama starring Nicole Kidman and Reese Witherspoon and the fourth episode of the first season of the Zendaya-fronted teen drama both hit highs for the premium cabler.
The custody battle-vexed “Kill Me” episode snared 1.8 million viewers in its 9 PM airing on HBO, which was the best Big Little Lies ever has done in an original linear broadcast. With yet another piercing performance from Season 2 addition and 2020 Emmy contender Meryl Streep, BLL actually rose 10% in sets of eyeballs from its June 30 show.
Then, jump forward a few days and the Andrea Arnold-directed show has leaped up to a total audience of 2.8 million with HBO Go, HBO Now and other online viewing. An evolving result that is also a best for Big Little Lies and expected to grow further in the coming days as more delayed-viewing data come in.
Coming off the uptick of Big Little Lies, lead-out Euphoria found itself in a very good place too.
Hello Sunshine Debuts Kids and Animation Unit Led by Claire Curley
Hello Sunshine, the media company founded by Reese Witherspoon, has launched a kids and animated division to be led by Nickelodeon vet Claire Curley.
The unit will create content for younger audiences aged 3-5 and 6-9, “shining a light on where girls are right now and helping them chart their path forward,” according to the company. In her new role, Curley will develop a slate of animated kids’ content, and will launch with productions aimed at the preschool and younger grade school set.
The company has also brought on Zoe Fairbourn as head of brand partnerships, expanding on her working relationship with the company as a consultant developing originals and integrated marketing programs. Curley and Fairbourn are based in Los Angeles and will report to Hello Sunshine CEO Sarah Harden.
“As we continue to grow as a company, we are excited to expand our content offerings to reach the leaders of our future and empower young girls through entertainment,” said Harden in a statement. “Claire and Zoe are extraordinary leaders whose decades of accomplishments represent the excellence we strive for at Hello Sunshine. With Claire leading this new venture and Zoe joining us full-time to head Brand Partnerships, we look forward to the breadth of experience they bring as we continue to redefine industry standards through inclusive and representative storytelling.”
Curley most recently served as senior vice president of franchise animation at Nickelodeon, after beginning her decade-plus tenure there as a director in digital content development and production. There, she built a digital production unit that developed and produced content in interactive, live action and animation formats. Series that originated through the unit include “Adventures of Kid Danger” and “Welcome to Wayne.” Prior to that, Curley was a producer and Sesame Workshop, where her contributions to “The Electric Company” led to a Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Children’s Series in 2012.
‘Big Little Lies’: Meryl Streep Reveals Where Fans Can See Cut Ice Cream-Throwing Scene
If you were hoping to watch Reese Witherspoon pelt Meryl Streep with an ice cream cone during this season of Big Little Lies, you’re going to have to wait a while.
Set photos snapped last year clearly hinted at a scene in which Witherspoon’s character, Madeline, threw a nearly full ice cream at Streep’s Mary Louise, but when the episode aired on Sunday, there was no hurling of delicious confection to be found.
There was, however, a scene in which Madeline and daughter Abigail (Kathryn Newton) buy ice cream and then have a confrontation with Streep outside, and it was clear from the outfits and context that this was where the ice cream throwing should have happened, but it turns out the scene was cut.
While some fans were clearly disappointed, if Twitter reactions to the missing moment are any indication, it was no secret that the scene had been left on the editing room floor. Streep said as much when the three-time Oscar winner spoke with ET at the Big Little Lies season 2 premiere back in May.
“[Reese] just told me it’s not in the show!” Streep revealed when asked about going toe-to-toe with her co-star outside the ice cream parlot. “It’s [going to be] in the DVD extras.”
Adam Scott embarrasses himself in front of Reese Witherspoon filming ‘Big Little Lies’
Adam Scott proves you’re never too famous to embarrass yourself.
The comedian shared a story on “Conan” Wednesday night about a time when joking with his “Big Little Lies” co-star Reese Witherspoon landed him in a sticky situation.
“One time with Reese Witherspoon and I, we were shooting a scene,” Scott told host Conan O’Brien. “It was the last scene we had together for season two, and it was a scene in a therapist’s office. In between takes she said something funny.”
The joke made Scott chuckle – and that’s where something happened he could not control.
“A string of snot, like, came out, and then wrapped around my nose,” he said. “And I just excused myself and went and found the makeup person, got a Kleenex and wiped off.”
Although he tried to play it cool, Scott said he’s been wracked with snot stress ever since.
“I came back and thought, ‘Should I reference what just happened to Reese? Should I make a joke about it or just apologize for the disgusting thing that just happened?’ And I didn’t,” he said. “For the six months afterwards until the show premiered, I was like, ‘Should I text her and, like, make a joke about the snot?’ And I never did.”
To this day, Scott said he and Witherspoon have not addressed the incident.
Reese Witherspoon spills the beans on friendship with Big Little Lies co-star Nicole Kidman
Friends and business partners, Big Little Lies co-stars Reese Witherspoon and Nicole Kidman share an intense and complex bond.
In an candid new interview with news.com.au, Witherspoon lifts the lid on their relationship, which — like that of so many female co-stars in Hollywood — has faced many a tabloid report of “secret feuding”.
“We’ve gotten along, we’ve had fights, and we’ve gotten over it,” explains Witherspoon.
The Oscar-winning actresses and producing partners clearly spend a lot of time together. “We’ve had every kind of experience together. We’ve been on vacation, we’ve worked together and we’ve disagreed about things, but I think that’s the beauty of having a real partnership with someone. Ours is a real friendship. It’s not a fake, phony Hollywood picture, you know? I really value that about our friendship.”
Prior to their collaboration as producers on Big Little Lies, they knew each other socially but became close friends once they started working together on the award-winning series, which is available to stream on Foxtel.
“Nicole and I were talking today about how fortunate we are to have each other through this (Big Little Lies) process. It’s the biggest success I’ve ever had with another woman, in my entire career, and hers. For me, to have that experience with her, to be in the trenches with her, it’s been everything.”
Both actresses are hands-on producers and were on-set much of the time.
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