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.
Reese gave an interview for this Sooo Many White Guys podcast earlier this month. She chatted about why she started her production company, Big Little Lies, Ava DuVernay, Election, auditioning for Robert DeNiro, and recalled a funny story about Denzel Washington’s porsche when she was interning at the start of her career.
Phoebe and Reese Witherspoon Vote for Themselves
Phoebe talks to actress and producer Reese Witherspoon (Big Little Lies). They dish about the new season of Big Little Lies, the gender pay gap in Hollywood, and about that time that Reese had to park Denzel Washington’s Porsche when she was just an intern. Plus, Phoebe revisits one of Reese’s most infamous characters, Tracy Flick.
About Sooo Many White Guys
Phoebe Robinson is tired of being the token black woman in an ocean of white dude comedians. So in this podcast, Phoebe’s calling the shots. She’ll host intimate, funny and super honest conversations with musicians, actors, writers and comedians who are killing it in their fields–AND who aren’t white dudes! Stay tuned for the one token white guy (it’s only fair), and a whole lot of hijinks.
Over the past few weeks we’ve been continuing to work on the Movies section of the Gallery, and today the A Wrinkle In Time category has been updated and completed! Lots of high quality posters have been added, along with HD screencaptures from various featurettes. Although not one of my favourite movies of Reese’s, there’s no denying the beautiful scenery, production, costumes and hair and make-up in the film.
Tons of other stills within the Movies section of the Gallery have been updated with high quality versions this weekend too – too many to list here, but ones we’re sure you’ll enjoy when you come across them!
And so the Movies section of the Gallery is now ‘complete’! Reese has such a fantastic filmography, and it’s been fun going through each movie and ensuring we have the most complete collection of photos to document her career. There’s still lots more to come in the Gallery – including TV appearance screencaptures and more from Reese’s advertising campaigns…
Reese’s recent Disney fantasy adventure film A Wrinkle In Time can now be found on digital download and blu-ray/DVD, and we’ve added gorgeous HD screencaptures from the film! Reese was charming as the inexperienced but enthusiastic Mrs WhatsIt, but I found the film overall to be underwhelming and impersonal. There were some beautiful costumes and set designs though, and as a result we have some very pretty screencaptures:
Reese and her A Wrinkle In Time co-stars and director can be seen on the cover of the March 21st issue of UK Stylist magazine – with a fantastic new book-themed interview and photoshoot! Read the interview below, find the photoshoot in our Gallery, and pick up a copy if you can….
Oprah Winfrey and Reese Witherspoon on the importance of feminist storytelling
Ava DuVernay, Reese Witherspoon, Oprah Winfrey and Mindy Kaling on rewriting the story books and the power of the written word.
“I recently got hate-tweeted by the President,” begins Oprah Winfrey, looking like the most relaxed woman in the USA. “Since then, I’ve been asked, ‘What are you going to do about it?’ Well, did you see that meme a couple of years ago: ‘Ain’t nobody got time for that’? I don’t have time for that. I’m not going to focus one minute of my energy on that. I’m going to stay in the light.”
“Things I don’t have time for: that,” laughs Reese Witherspoon, sitting opposite her. Mindy Kaling interjects: “If you’ve been to the Promised Land, which is where Oprah lives, and you think about whether she is going to spend time thinking about a tweet or if she’s going to live her life, you would understand why she doesn’t have time for that.”
As storytellers go, Oprah Winfrey is one of the greats (and yes, her home in Montecito, California, is called The Promised Land). But she’s also a long-time supporter of other storytellers, having launched the influential Oprah’s Book Club back in 1996 via her incredibly successful TV show.
In fact, in this room there’s a power quadrant of women who are determined advocates of books – Reese Witherspoon via her monthly Instagram book club and adapting numerous titles for the big and small screen (Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn, Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty, Are You Sleeping by Kathleen Barber) through her production company Hello Sunshine; Mindy Kaling, author of New York Times bestsellers Why Not Me? and Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?; and Ava DuVernay, the director of A Wrinkle In Time, in which all three star.
The trio play Mrs Which (Winfrey), Mrs Whatsit (Witherspoon) and Mrs Who (Kaling), three celestial beings and superheroes who guide a young woman of dual heritage across space to search for her father. It’s based on the book of the same name, which was finished in early 1960 but initially rejected by many publishers for being, as hypothesized by the author Madeleine L’Engle, a sci-fi novel with a female protagonist and blurring the lines between a children’s and adult’s book. Finally published in 1962, it went on to become a classic. As I write, the film is second in the US box-office charts to Black Panther – proof, should Hollywood need it, that films telling diverse and fantastical stories, that are told by all voices, are both necessary and profitable.
To celebrate our 16 years online, here we are spotlighting 16 of our favourite Reese things from the past 16 years. You will see a new one upon refreshing or changing the page.
"It took me years to be the woman my mother raised. It took me 4 years, 7 months and 3 days to do it, without her. After I lost myself in the wilderness of my grief, I found my own way out of the woods."
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