Reese Witherspoon Sets ’70s Rock Drama Series at Amazon
Amazon Studios is ready to rock.
The Jennifer Salke-led streamer and retail giant has handed out a 13-episode order for a limited series based on the Taylor Jenkins Reid’s forthcoming book Daisy Jones & The Six.
The limited series landed at Amazon before it could be taken out to the marketplace. After Reese Witherspoon’s Hello Sunshine acquired rights to the book, Salke got a copy ahead of its March 2019 publication and aggressively pursued the TV rights to the title. The project was never taken to market.
Daisy Jones & The Six centers on a fictional rock band in the 1970s and follows their rise through the ranks of the L.A. music scene and beyond, eventually becoming one of the most legendary bands in the world. Amazon will distribute original music from the series (via Amazon Music), and the print and audiobook from Ballantine/Random House will also be available via Amazon.com and Audible.com.
The Disaster Artist duo Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber will pen the script and will oversee Daisy. Witherspoon and her Hello Sunshine banner topper Lauren Neustadter will exec produce alongside Circle of Confusion’s Brad Mendelsohn. Neustadter and Weber, whose credits include 500 Days of Summer and The Fault in Our Stars, will also exec produce. Author Jenkins will be credited as a producer. The series is a co-production between Amazon Studios, which controls worldwide rights, and Hello Sunshine.
“When I heard Hello Sunshine was developing Daisy Jones & The Six, I tracked down a copy right away and devoured it in one sitting. I loved it so much I had to take it off the market and bring it to Amazon Studios,” said Salke, head of Amazon Studios. “I was immediately struck by how perfectly it fit into our overall approach of bringing passionate creators and entertaining, compelling content to our Prime Video audience. Reese, Lauren and I are kindred spirits!”
Daisy becomes Hello Sunshine’s latest TV foray. In addition to the upcoming second season of awards darling Big Little Lies, the company also has Little Fires Everywhere — starring Witherspoon and Kerry Washington — at Hulu and three shows at Apple, including a morning show drama that she toplines alongside Jennifer Aniston. (Coincidentally, Witherspoon’s Big Little Lies co-star, Nicole Kidman, recently inked a first-look film and TV deal with Salke at Amazon.)
“As soon as I started reading Daisy Jones & The Six, I immediately fell head over heels in love with it, and I’m thrilled to be bringing it to the screen with Amazon and Jen Salke, whose passionate pursuit of the material spoke volumes,” said Witherspoon, who also has a blurb on the book jacket. “With Neustadter and Weber, two writers I deeply admire, stewarding this project, I am so confident that Daisy and her band’s journey toward finding their voice will leave just as permanent a mark with viewers around the world as it did with me.”
The drama marks a big play for Amazon Studios, which was among the bidders for Little Fires Everywhere. With the music rights, Amazon has another revenue stream that could prove profitable for the series in a way akin to what Fox achieved with Glee and Empire.
Daisy joins a roster of scripted fare at Amazon that also includes Lord of the Rings, Jack Ryan, Julia Roberts vehicle Homecoming, Matt Weiner’s The Romanoffs and the recently renewed Man in the High Castle, as well as the Emmy-nominated Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, among others.
Witherspoon, who now has six shows at four outlets, is repped by CAA and Hansen Jacobson. Hello Sunshine is with CAA and Gretchen Rush. Circle of Confusion is with CAA and Howard Abramson. Neustadter and Weber are with UTA, Kaplan Perrone and Sean Marks. Reid is with WME, Circle of Confusion, Park Literary and Media and Bloom Hergott.
On Tuesday Hello Sunshine announced the launch of their channel on DIRECTV and DIRECTV NOW, including Reese’s first unscripted show:
AT&T and Reese Witherspoon’s Hello Sunshine Announce Launch of VOD Channel Spotlighting Female Creators and Their Stories
AT&T* and Hello Sunshine is debuting 2 new female-driven series on DIRECTV, DIRECTV NOW and U-Verse with the launch of the Hello Sunshine Video On Demand (VOD) channel. Hello Sunshine produces engaging and distinctive new narratives with women at the center.
The VOD channel will premiere 2 female-driven original series:
– Witherspoon’s first unscripted series, “Shine On with Reese,” premiering July 17.
– The Home Edit’s “Master the Mess,” premiering Sept. 4.
Viewers can also watch curated original content including short-form and library film titles. Go to att.com/hellosunshine for a sneak peek at what’s to come.
Hello Sunshine was launched in November 2016 by Reese Witherspoon in partnership with The Chernin Group and AT&T’s Otter Media portfolio.
“AT&T was one of our first partners in the quest to bring female-centric storytelling to the forefront and we are especially proud of how these original series push that mission ahead,” said Sarah Harden, CEO, Hello Sunshine. “We’re looking forward to working with AT&T to develop more opportunities for women to see themselves and their stories reflected in entertainment.”
Kristen Wiig Exits Reese Witherspoon-Produced Apple TV Comedy Series
Kristen Wiig is stepping down as star of the half-hour comedy series being developed for Apple by Reese Witherspoon, due to scheduling conflicts with the production of the “Wonder Woman” sequel, an individual with knowledge of the situation told TheWrap. The show is now on hold as Apple and the show’s producers consider their options, including finding a new lead actress.
Inspired by Curtis Sittenfeld’s upcoming short story collection “You Think It, I’ll Say It,” the project from Witherspoon’s Hello Sunshine received a 10-episode order, and was set to become Apple’s first half-hour scripted comedy. Wiig signed onto the series when it was ordered in January, and was set to executive produce as well as star.
However, Wiig joined “Wonder Woman 1984” just two months later. That film is currently in production, with Wiig playing classic DC comics villain Cheetah. The superhero sequel’s shooting schedule, as well as other obligations, overlapped with the plan for the Apple series, leading to Wiig’s exit.
Apple is still interested in the show, which Witherspoon and Lauren Neustadter will executive produce for Hello Sunshine, alongside Colleen McGuinness, who created it and will serve as showrunner. Sittenfeld will act as consulting producer.
This marks the third project Apple has ordered from Hello Sunshine, including Witherspoon and Jennifer Aniston’s morning show drama and Octavia Spencer’s “Are You Sleeping,” which is co-produced by Chernin Entertainment.
Those series join the tech company’s lineup of originals, including Steven Spielberg’s “Amazing Stories,” Ron Moore’s space drama, the drama “See” from Steven Knight and Francis Lawrence, and the docuseries “Home” from Matt Tyrnauer and Matthew Weaver.
Reese appears on the cover of the June issue of Fast Company, a US business magazine. She is named one of their ‘100 Most Creative People in Business’ (#11 to be exact), and the magazine features an extensive new interview and a new photoshoot. See some behind the scenes videos on the magazine’s website, and find scans and photos from the shoot in our Gallery. It’s fantastic to see Reese recognised for her work like this!
How Reese Witherspoon is flipping the script on Hollywood The Hello Sunshine founder is channeling women’s voices into top-tier entertainment–and altering the dynamics of the entire industry along the way.
When Reese Witherspoon was 17, she had already appeared in four films. Still, she took an unlikely part-time job, as an intern in Disney’s post-production department. “I wanted to learn about editing, visual correction, and sound mixing,” she tells me 25 years later. Not long after, she worked as a production assistant on the 1995 Denzel Washington film Devil in a Blue Dress, helping with casting, among other things. Also: “I parked Denzel’s Porsche!”
That inquisitiveness, as well as nearly three decades in front of the camera, has made Witherspoon one of Hollywood’s most astute producers. She turned Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl into a $369 million worldwide hit in 2014 (that earned Rosamund Pike an Oscar nomination) and did it again, that same year, transforming Cheryl Strayed’s best-selling memoir, Wild, into a breakout success ($52 million plus Oscar nods for Witherspoon and costar Laura Dern). Then came HBO’s Big Little Lies, executive produced with costar Nicole Kidman; the cultural bellwether about female relationships and domestic abuse, based on a novel by Liane Moriarty, swept nearly every category for which it was nominated at the 2017 Emmys. After years of hearing from studio executives that there was no market for female-driven films, Witherspoon had succeeded to a degree that proved a hunger was there.
Her instinct for what women want is now being tested on multiple platforms through her 18-month-old storytelling company, Hello Sunshine. She and her team currently have shows in development at Hulu, NBC, and Apple TV (which has partnered on three projects, one rumored to be the biggest deal in history for a straight-to-series show), as well as a film at TriStar/Sony Pictures. But Witherspoon is also laying the foundation for a direct-to-consumer brand, one that is already beginning to speak to women through a website, social media, YouTube and Facebook videos, audiobooks, podcasts, and newsletters—whichever platform she and Hello Sunshine execs think best honors the story being told.
Reese Witherspoon partners with Audible to develop new audio story productions
Oscar-winning actress Reese Witherspoon, who has recently emerged as a leading film and television producer, is partnering her popular book club with Amazon-owned audio content provider Audible, it was announced today.
Witherspoon’s book club, X Hello Sunshine, an arm of her multiplatform media company which produces feature films and television shows, will collaborate with Audible to create original audio productions in addition to showcasing audiobook stories that are centered around complex female characters.
The first month for Reese’s Book Club x Hello Sunshine on Audible will be June. The first Audible Original by Hello Sunshine will be announced later in 2018.
“When I started Reese’s book club, I wanted to highlight stories with women at the center and I’m so excited to deliver on that mission,” Witherspoon said in a statement. “With our busy lives, it can be hard to find the time to read. That’s why I am excited to work with Audible to provide a fun way to listen to beautiful stories in your free time.”
Witherspoon has starred in a number of literary adaptations, appearing in movie versions of Tom Perrotta’s “Election”and William Makepeace Thackeray’s “Vanity Fair” early on in her career. More recently, she produced film versions of Gillian Flynn’s novel “Gone Girl” and Cheryl Strayed’s memoir “Wild,” starring in and earning an Oscar nomination for Best Actress for the latter in 2015.
Reese Witherspoon Launches New Show ‘Meet My Mom’ on Facebook Watch
Reese Witherspoon is adding another show to her growing list of productions.
Witherspoon and her media company Hello Sunshine, which focuses on telling female-driven stories, announced her newest show, “Meet My Mom,” which debuts Thursday (10th) on Facebook Watch. The five-episode, short form series centers on a chat between a celebrity and his/her mom, with the “Big Little Lies” star and her mother Betty kicking off the first episode.
“As a child, it’s sometimes hard to see your mom as an individual with her own life,” Witherspoon said in a statement. “But ‘Meet My Mom’ is the chance to get to know the real person behind the mom and find out what really makes her tick. I’m excited to bring this concept to the Facebook community and to hear from all of the other wonderful, hard-working moms out there.”
The rest of the series will stream throughout May and feature “Westworld’s” Leonardo Nam, YouTube star Lilly Singh, Olympic figure skater Adam Rippon, and model Ashley Graham in conversations with their families. “Meet My Mom” can be seen on the Facebook site, mobile app, and its TV apps.
This is just the latest project Witherspoon has taken on, as she also has the TV adaptation “Little Fires Everywhere” in the works, which she and Kerry Washington will both executive produce and star in. Meanwhile, Witherspoon and Jennifer Aniston will topline a still-untitled morning show drama for Apple. Witherspoon will executive produce Apple’s “Are You Sleeping,” co-produced by Chernin Entertainment, with Octavia Spencer attached to star. She is also set to appear in the second season of the critically-acclaimed HBO series “Big Little Lies,” which she executive produces.
Martina Navratilova Documentary to Be Produced by Reese Witherspoon
Reese Witherspoon’s Hello Sunshine is developing its first feature-length documentary about tennis legend Martina Navratilova in partnership with Glenn Greenwald and Suzanne Gilbert.
The documentary will explore Navratilova’s achievements as a social justice pioneer told through Greenwald’s personal lens as a gay child growing up in Reagan-era Florida. The documentary will examine Navratilova’s impact on him as his childhood hero, how people find role models, and what people seek when they feel isolated, judged, or cast aside by society.
“The issues raised by Martina’s legacy resonate now more than ever, which is why it’s so important to tell her story to new generations of engaged young people who may not be aware of the vital role she played in shaping expectations around female identity and LGBT equality,” said Charlotte Koh, head of digital media and programming for Hello Sunshine.
Koh is also producing the project. “Having producers Glenn and Suzanne reframe Martina’s impact on society through the lens of Glenn’s personal coming-of-age journey creates a fresh, intimate, and relatable film for a wide audience,” she added.
Navratilova is regarded as one of the best tennis players of all time. She won 18 singles titles, 31 major women’s doubles titles, and 10 major mixed doubles titles.
“As monumental as Martina’s on-court achievements were, they pale in comparison to her role as a pioneer and trailblazer on questions of feminism, women’s athletics, equality for gay and lesbians across the planet, transgender visibility, immigrant rights, and the right of political dissent,” Greenwald said. “I’m excited to be partnering with Reese and Hello Sunshine to explore her truly enduring legacy, her remarkable courage directly or indirectly inspiring millions of people who lacked any other role models.”
Greenwald plans to feature materials and memories shared by fans all across the world that demonstrate Navratilova’s impact on various social and political initiatives.
Greenwald’s work with Edward Snowden was chronicled in the documentary “CitizenFour,” which won the Academy Award in 2015, and the film “Snowden” in 2016.
Witherspoon founded Hello Sunshine in 2016 with the goal of promoting female authorship and storytelling. It’s developed a Hulu limited series from Witherspoon and Kerry Washington, based on Celeste Ng’s “Little Fires Everywhere”; an untitled morning show series produced by and starring Jennifer Aniston and Witherspoon, which was given a two-season order by Apple; a film for Fox 2000 based on the novel “Something in the Water”; and “A White Lie,” a psychological thriller for TriStar Pictures.
AT&T and Reese Witherspoon’s Hello Sunshine To Give Girls A Chance To Learn Filmmaking This Summer Through Collaboration With Fresh Films
Though women make up 50% of moviegoers, they represent only 17% of creators in Hollywood, outnumbered by men in most roles within film and TV production, from writing and cinematography to production and editing jobs. To address the gender imbalance and bring more diversity to the screen, AT&T, Hello Sunshine, and Fresh Films have joined forces to create the AT&T Hello Sunshine Filmmaker Lab, an unforgettable opportunity for young women to immerse themselves in a professional film production and learn from industry experts, including Reese herself.
“Everyone at Hello Sunshine is ecstatic about this program where we can share our resources with young female storytellers and filmmakers,” says Witherspoon, “Hopefully, it will provide young women with the tools to tell their own stories , and ultimately, start a chain reaction that leads to continued access and opportunity for them in our industry.”
“AT&T is excited to collaborate with Hello Sunshine and Fresh Films to support the next generation of female filmmakers,” said Charlene Lake, senior vice president, corporate social responsibility, AT&T. “It is critical that we develop a pipeline of talent who will create content that captures diverse perspectives and stories. We’re looking forward to working with the exceptional young women selected for this program and supporting their journey as storytellers.”
Through the AT&T Hello Sunshine Filmmaker Lab, which will be held in Los Angeles July 30-Aug. 6, teen girls will learn the ins-and-outs of storytelling and production as they rotate through all key filmmaking positions – from camera and editing to sound and costume – while being mentored by professionals from Fresh Films, AT&T and Hello Sunshine. Hello Sunshine was launched in November 2016 by Reese Witherspoon in partnership with The Chernin Group and AT&T under Otter Media’s growing portfolio.
Girls 13-18 with a passion for storytelling and creating videos can apply online at www.att.com/filmmakerlab now through June 10 to become one of 20 teen girls selected for the experience.
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