Archive for the ‘Hello Sunshine’ Category
Reese Witherspoon’s Second Act: Big-Time Producer
From Oscar-winning actress to Emmy-winning producer: After taking charge of her career, she makes deals with HBO and Apple.
A few months ago, Reese Witherspoon realized everything had changed.
HBO’s glossy, seven-episode drama, “Big Little Lies” — which Ms. Witherspoon starred in and helped produce — won eight Emmy Awards, including the one for best limited series. From the Microsoft Theater stage in Los Angeles on Sept. 17, to swelling applause, Ms. Witherspoon spoke of how important it was to bring “women to the front of their own stories and make them the heroes of their own stories.”
Not long after that night, she found herself in demand.
“It opened a lot of doors for me,” Ms. Witherspoon said in an interview this past week. “People wanted to be in business with me as a producer in the TV space. My mission was to create television for other women, for other female storytellers that are actresses, other directors and other writers. I think it just clicked in people’s minds.”
Since then, Ms. Witherspoon has transformed herself from an actress increasingly frustrated with the roles she was being offered into a producer with a slate of projects that puts her in the company of series creators like Dick Wolf, Shonda Rhimes and Ryan Murphy.
Last month, HBO ordered a second season of “Big Little Lies,” with Ms. Witherspoon’s production company, Hello Sunshine, among the key companies behind the show. In addition, Apple has bought three Hello Sunshine projects as part of its push to compete with Netflix, Amazon and Hulu in streaming. That amounts to a third of Apple’s TV purchases to date.
One of the series — which is set to star Ms. Witherspoon and Jennifer Aniston as hosts of a fictional morning news show — marks one of the most expensive deals in TV history: With a 20-episode commitment, Apple has pledged roughly $240 million to make it, according to two people familiar with the series. Ms. Witherspoon’s other two Apple projects will star Octavia Spencer and Kristen Wiig.
Apple’s top TV executives, Zack Van Amburg and Jamie Erlicht, said in a statement that Ms. Witherspoon had “an extraordinary knack for being a step ahead of the zeitgeist.”
The rise of Hello Sunshine — with projects centered on strong, complicated women — syncs up perfectly with the #timesup movement, which counts Ms. Witherspoon as a major player, and gives evidence that the risk-averse Hollywood establishment may have learned something from the blockbuster success of “Wonder Woman” last year.
“People are desperate for this kind of storytelling about the female heroes that have always been in the shadows and now are coming into the light,” Ms. Witherspoon said.
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Reese Witherspoon’s Hello Sunshine Names Sarah Harden CEO
Former Otter Media president Sarah Harden, who had been serving as interim CEO of Reese Witherspoon’s Hello Sunshine banner since June, is joining the company full-time in the top position.
“From the moment I met Sarah Harden, I have been in awe of her vast understanding of business development and digital media brands around specific communities,” said Witherspoon. “Sarah is a force of nature. Not only does she believe that women should have every opportunity to succeed in media, she actually makes it happen. There have been so many ideas that I have wanted to execute over the past seven years. Sarah simply put her head down, did the work and made them happen. She leads with the motto ‘less talk, more progress.’ She elevates every idea, conversation and collaboration. I’m thrilled to have her lead this talented Hello Sunshine team.”
Witherspoon formed Hello Sunshine in 2016, in partnership with Otter Media, the joint venture formed between The Chernin Group and AT&T. The media company focuses on on telling female-driven stories across all platforms.
In her former role as President of Otter Media, Harden oversaw the growth of the digital media venture and its companies Fullscreen, Rooster Teeth, Crunchyroll, and Gunpowder & Sky and the formation of Otter’s initial partnership with Hello Sunshine. Before that, Harden served as EVP at the Chernin Group, where she focused on video-centered initiatives including the acquisitions of Crunchyroll, Rooster Teeth, McBeard and the formation of Otter Media.
“Having the opportunity to launch and build Hello Sunshine with Reese Witherspoon is a dream come true,” said Harden. “And to be able to do it at this particular time and with the backing of the same incredible partners in the Chernin Group and AT&T that I have had the privilege of representing in my role at Otter is about as good as it gets.”
Said Jesse Jacobs, President of the Chernin Group: “Sarah has been a force in optimizing Otter’s incredible growth since its inception, and we are thrilled that she is joining Hello Sunshine as CEO. Sarah has always been a champion for women, and her passion for building a modern, female-focused media company makes her the perfect executive for this role. “
In addition, Charlotte Koh has been named as Head of Digital Media & Programming for Hello Sunshine. She’ll be responsible for developing and producing unscripted, social and editorial content across the company’s digital distribution channels. Most recently, Koh was Head of Video at HuffPost and previously the first Head of Originals at Hulu. Prior to Hulu, Koh was SVP Business Development at Marvel Studios and Creative Executive at Fox Searchlight.
Koh joins the Hello Sunshine executive team which also includes Lauren Levy Neustadter, Head of Film and TV.
Reese Witherspoon-Zendaya Thriller ‘A White Lie’ Lands At TriStar Pictures
TriStar Pictures has secured worldwide distribution rights to the Zendaya-starring psychological thriller A White Lie, beating out six buyers in a competitive deal. Zendaya is producing the project with Reese Witherspoon and Lauren Neustadter via their Hello Sunshine label.
Monica Beletsky penned the script, which is based on Karin Tanabe’s 2016 novel The Gilded Years. The film is inspired by the true story of African American Anita Hemmings who, passing as white, became the first Black woman to attend Vassar College, the country’s most exclusive school for women.
Hannah Minghella and Nicole Brown will oversee the project for TriStar .
Zendaya is repped by CAA, Monster Talent, and Skrzyniarz & Mallean. Hello Sunshine is repped by CAA and attorney Gretchen Rush. Tanabe is repped by Aevitas Creative Management. Beletsky is repped by CAA and Gang Tyre Ramer & Brown.
Kristen Wiig to Star in Reese Witherspoon-Produced Comedy Series for Apple
Kristen Wiig is set to star in a comedy ordered to series at Apple that boasts Reese Witherspoon among its executive producers, Variety has confirmed.
The 10-episode, half-hour comedy is inspired by Curtis Sittenfeld’s upcoming short story collection “You Think It, I’ll Say It.” It marks Wiig’s first regular television role since she left “Saturday Night Live” in 2012. She will also serve as an executive producer on the show.
Colleen McGuinness created the series and will serve as showrunner and executive producer. Witherspoon will executive produce via her Hello Sunshine banner along with Lauren Neustadter and Wiig. Sittenfeld will serve as a consulting producer. This also marks Apple’s first half-hour scripted comedy order.
Wiig has embarked on a successful film career since leaving “SNL,” including starring in, co-producing, and co-writing the box office hit comedy “Bridesmaids,” for which she earned an Oscar nomination for best original screenplay. Her other recent film credits include “The Martian,” “Downsizing,” and “Ghostbusters.”
This marks the third project Witherspoon and Hello Sunshine have set up at Apple. She and Jennifer Aniston will also star in a currently untitled morning show drama for the streamer, and she will executive produce “Are You Sleeping,” co-produced by Chernin Entertainment with Octavia Spencer attached to star. She will also appear in a second season of the critically-acclaimed HBO series “Big Little Lies,” which she also executive produces.
In addition to the three Witherspoon projects, Apple is also prepping a reboot of “Amazing Stories” from executive producer Steven Spielberg, Ron Moore’s untitled space race drama, the drama “See” from Steven Knight and Francis Lawrence, and the docuseries “Home” from Matt Tyrnauer and Matthew Weaver.
Wiig is repped by UTA and Jackoway Tyerman. Witherspoon is repped by CAA, LBI Entertainment, and Hansen Jacobson. McGuinness is repped by WME and Hansen Jacobson.
Apple Developing ‘Are You Sleeping’ Starring Octavia Spencer
Apple is developing a new original drama series entitled “Are You Sleeping,” starring Octavia Spencer.
Created and written by Nichelle Tramble Spellman, the series will be produced by Reese Witherspoon’s Hello Sunshine and Chernin Ent/Endeavor Content.
The series is based on Kathleen Barber’s novel of the same name, which gives a glimpse into the obsession with true crime podcasts and “challenges its viewers to consider the consequences when the pursuit of justice is placed on a public stage.” Sarah Koenig, the creator and producer behind true crime podcast “Serial,” will consult on the series.
“Are You Sleeping” is the second project Apple has teamed with Witherspoon and Hello Sunshine on so far. In November 2017 the streamer ordered a drama set behind-the-scenes of a network morning talk show from Hello Sunshine. (Witherspoon is also set to star alongside Jennifer Aniston in it.)
“Are You Sleeping” is executive produced by Witherspoon and Lauren Neustadter for Hello Sunshine, and Peter Chernin, Jenno Topping and Kristen Campo for Chernin Ent., alongside Spencer and Tramble.
How Reese Witherspoon Plans to Promote Female Directors and Writers Next Year
Reese Witherspoon is planning to take her mission to help women up a notch in 2018.
While at a holiday-themed event at the Tiffany & Co. Fifth Avenue flagship store — she’s a spokesperson for the jewelry company — the 41-year-old actress and mother of three said that women helping other woman is her top priority come the New Year.
“My production company Hello Sunshine is all based on telling stories about women by women,” she told PEOPLE. “So we want to create more opportunity and hire more female directors and more female writers.”
This year, the star famously produced and starred in the female-led HBO show Big Little Lies, which earned her several accolades already. Next up, in 2018, she’s starring alongside other powerful women such as Oprah Winfrey and Mindy Kaling in A Wrinkle in Time, due out Mar. 9. “There’s a beautiful young woman at the center of the story, and it’s an epic story about good versus evil,” she explained.
She also announced plans to produce Luckiest Girl Alive, a movie version of Jessica Knoll’s book (and a favorite of book clubs across the nation).
In the meantime, she’s excited for a few moments to relax during the holidays, and is looking forward to “food, always food! I like gingerbread houses, cookies, chocolates … things like that.”
She’s also shopping for some special gifts, and considers herself quite the gift-giver. “I take a lot of time to think about what people really want and really like,” said Witherspoon. “For a go-to hostess gift, I like monogrammed napkins or a beautiful box of chocolates.”
For daughter Ava, she wants to get her something “really beautiful and simple, like a piece from Tiffany & Co. It’s like an heirloom. My mom gave me earrings from there when I was young, and I still have them.”
One thing she won’t be doing this holiday season? Making any New Year’s resolutions.
“I don’t believe in New Year’s resolutions,” she said. “I think you sort of have to keep striving to be the best version of yourself at all moments. Sometimes you fail and sometimes you succeed. And I think it’s important to always try and do your best.”
Reese graces the cover of the Winter issue of American home magazine Domino. The magazine has a brand new photoshoot and gives us a look at Reese’s Hello Sunshine offices in Santa Monica – I love the picture of Johnny & June Cash in there! In the interview Reese talks about her Hello Sunshine studio space and the roles she is creating through the brand. Scans from the magazine have been added to our Gallery for you:
We caught up with Witherspoon in the brand new studio of her cross-platform multimedia company, Hello Sunshine, to talk about her drive to empower women through female-driven narratives. “Women need to be at the forefront of telling their own stories,” says the superstar actress and entrepreneur, who also shared how her team designed a positive, collaborative space.
The Domino Winter Issue is on newsstands December 1. Pick up your copy soon and subscribe now!
• Domino (US) – Holiday 2017 x9
Zendaya To Star In ‘A White Lie,’ Pitch Package From Reese Witherspoon’s Hello Sunshine
The hot pitch package on the street is A White Lie, an adaptation of the Karin Tanabe novel The Gilded Years. The book is a psychological thriller built around the true story of Anita Hemmings, a light-skinned African-American woman. The daughter of a janitor, she passed as white so she could attend Vassar at the turn of the 20th century. Spider-Man: Homecoming star co-star Zendaya will play Hemmings. Monica Beletsky is writing the script, and Hello Sunshine’s Witherspoon and Lauren Neustadter are producing along with Zendaya.
The singer-turned-actress next will be seen co-starring in the Michael Gracie-directed The Greatest Showman, co-starring alongside Hugh Jackman. She will also reprise in the Spider-Man sequel opposite Tom Holland.
Zendaya is repped by CAA and Monster Talent; Withespoon is with CAA and LBI.