Reese graces the cover of the new February issue of US Vogue! The magazine features a story on her as the “moral compass of Hollywood” (which is a great title for her!), and features an extensive new interview and a new photoshoot – including a photo with Betty and Ava. It’s a fantastic article exploring how Reese’s career has developed, and focuses mostly on her recent move into production and business; there are also some great quotes from Cheryl Strayed, Nicole Kidman and Meryl Streep. I also liked reading about where her Oscar is, and that she has hardbound copies of scripts from her movies!
Read the full article below, and find high quality photos from the cover and the shoot in our Gallery. We’ll have scans for you soon. Make sure you pick up a copy when you can!
Reese Witherspoon: Activist, Advocate, Hollywood’s Moral Compass
The first time Reese Witherspoon found herself suspended from school was in third grade, when she was caught running a custom-barrette business from her desk. (She painted store-bought barrettes and sold them at a profit; when her paint pens leaked onto her desk, she was apprehended.) Another time was during her junior year, at a private girls’ high school in Nashville, when she complained to her English teacher that the work they were doing wasn’t challenging enough. Witherspoon was in many ways a model student—good grades, popular, a soccer player and cheerleader—but she also had a reputation for telling teachers what they were doing was wrong.
“I always tended to be outspoken with my opinions,” she says. “Whether they were appropriate or not.”
More than two decades later, Witherspoon is still fighting the status quo. Insofar as Hollywood is an extreme version of high school, a fishbowl of fragile egos, insecurity, and often-misdirected sexual energy, she has taken it upon herself to be a champion of the overlooked and the underestimated. She may still bear the imprint of the perky-blonde roles that kept her in American-sweetheart mode for the better part of two decades, but something’s changed beneath the surface. Witherspoon has become a formidable businesswoman, launching a company that has a hand in just about every imaginable sector of contemporary media, and she’s become a formidable activist as well, fighting for greater representation in Hollywood of people of color, LGBTQ people, people with disabilities, and—most of all—women.
“The idea is to put women at the center of the story,” Witherspoon says, sitting barefoot and in jeans in the kitchen of her sunny, sprawling Los Angeles home as her three dogs—a German shepherd named Nash (short for Nashville), a French bulldog named Pepper, and a lab named Hank—amble and snort among the rooms. “I was sick of making movies where I was the only female lead on the set. I was sick of seeing scripts where there was one female role, badly written, and yet every actress in town wanted the part because there was nothing else.”
There is perhaps no greater example in the history of television of putting women at the center than Big Little Lies, the HBO sensation that picked up eight Emmys in 2017. Witherspoon executive-produced the series with Nicole Kidman, with whom she also stars alongside Laura Dern, Zoë Kravitz, and Shailene Woodley. In the second season, which airs in late spring, Meryl Streep will bring the show’s number of female leads to six.
Steve Carell mentioned the upcoming Morning Show TV Project that he’s working on with Reese and Jennifer Aniston, in a recent interview to promote his new film. He talks a bit about the genre of the show and the producers!
You’re also returning to TV, alongside Jennifer Aniston returning to TV. This new world of programming for Apple seems so interesting because they’re lining up some great content, even though we haven’t gotten to see any of it yet. So, what was it about that TV series that reeled you back in.
CARELL: It’s very well written, and there’s some co-stars and great directors. I didn’t really think twice about it. I don’t want to give too much away about the content itself, but I thought it was smart and interesting, and equal parts dramatic and funny. It doesn’t fall into a category. You can’t call it a drama or a comedy. It straddles that, which is interesting. And the actors that are in it are great. I’ve shot three episodes so far, and it’s been really wonderful. When somebody suggested it and I was offered the part, I knew that Reese [Witherspoon] and Jennifer were producers and in it, and all of the producers involved are very high caliber. They’ve got a good pedigree, as they say. You never know, but with all of that, you hope it turns out well. So far, it feels really good.
Do you feel nervous about such a new avenue for content, or do you feel like they know what they’re doing?
CARELL: I don’t really think about that side of it, but as a company, Apple seems to work things out quite well for themselves. They’re an excellent corporation, and they make more good choices than bad, that’s for sure. I have a lot of faith in Apple, as a company, but you never know. You never know how stuff is gonna turn out, but it’s all good intentions. The scripts were very smart and didn’t take an easy approach to some of the themes that they were looking into, which is something. David Frankel came in to direct two of the episodes, and Mimi Leder, who’s great, is directing a bunch of them, as well. They’re getting really good directors to come in. I have high hopes. We’ll see. It’s been really fun.
On Friday, Reese attended the Texas Conference for Women in Austin, where she talked about how she developed Hello Sunshine, and increasing the presence of women in the media. Reese re-iterated her statement from the 2015 Glamour Women Of The Year Awards about ambition not being a “dirty word”, and said that ambition is about supporting and encouraging those around you.
Unfortunately I’ve only found one official photo from the event – which you can find in our Gallery. Below are a couple of articles/interviews from the event, and browse through our Twitter ‘moment’ for social media reaction to Reese’s key-note speech.
Actress Reese Witherspoon Encourages Women to be Ambitious
Early on as an actress in Hollywood, when Reese Witherspoon attended meetings to discuss her movie characters and mentioned a character flaw she would like to accentuate, the male producers would almost always say yes, but that would make her unlikable.
In those meetings, Witherspoon said she felt like she was always reminded she had to stay in her lane. Stay in a place that felt comfortable for everybody and conformed to some other person’s definition of what made a woman likable.
“I think as I got older I said, I’ve had enough of that,” Witherspoon said.
“Women are complicated, they are complex, they are dynamic,” Witherspoon said. “Those are the women I want to see on the screen.”
Apple Morning-Show Drama Adds Nestor Carbonell, Mark Duplass
The cast of Apple’s drama about a TV morning show, already dotted with big names, has added two more recognizable stars.
Nestor Carbonell (Lost, Bates Motel) and Mark Duplass (Togetherness, The Mindy Project) have joined the series.
The show, which has a two-season, 20-episode order, was one of Apple’s first big gets as it mounts a push into TV. The untitled series is toplined by Reese Witherspoon and Jennifer Aniston, who will star and executive produce.
Carbonell will play Yanko Flores, the morning show’s weatherman. Charming and with an artist’s soul, he thinks of meteorology as poetry. Carbonell will reunite with showrunner Kerry Ehrin on the series after working with her on Bates Motel.
Duplass will play the show’s executive producer, Chip Black.
The cast also includes Steve Carell as a news anchor struggling to maintain relevance; Gugu Mbatha-Raw as the show’s head talent booker; and Billy Crudup as the head of the news division at the network.
In addition to Witherspoon, Aniston and Ehrin, executive producers are Kristin Hahn, Lauren Levy Neustadter, Michael Ellenberg and Mimi Leder, who’s also directing. Brian Stelter’s book Top of the Morning serves as background for the series, and he is a consultant on the show.
Production on the show is set to begin next week.
The morning-show series is one of more than 15 scripted projects Apple has in development. The tech giant has yet to say how or when it will start bringing shows to viewers.
Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Billy Crudup Join Apple Morning-Show Drama
Apple continues to add to its star-studded morning-show drama.
Gugu Mbatha-Raw (Black Mirror) and Billy Crudup (Gypsy, Almost Famous) have joined the cast of the untitled series starring Jennifer Aniston, Reese Witherspoon and Steve Carell.
Picked up with a two-season, 20-episode order, the project will offer an inside look at the lives of the people who help America wake up in the morning. Brian Stelter’s book Top of the Morning: Inside the Cutthroat World of Morning TV serves as background for the series, which is based on an original concept by Michael Ellenberg.
Mbatha-Raw will take on the series-regular role as Hannah Shoenfeld, the whip-smart and charming head booker of talent. Tony-winner Crudup will play Cory Ellison, the forward-thinking president of the news division at the network. Carell, for whom the role marks his TV return following The Office, will play Mitch Kessler, a morning-show anchor struggling to maintain relevance in a changing media landscape.
Production is set to begin next week in Los Angeles.
Aniston — for whom the Apple series marks her TV return following Friends — and her Echo Films partner, Kristin Hahn, are exec producing alongside Witherspoon and her Hello Sunshine topper, Lauren Levy Neustadter. Ellenberg’s Media Res serves as the studio on the series. Mimi Leder (ER) will exec produce and direct. Kerry Ehrin (Bates Motel, Friday Night Lights) exec produces and serves as showrunner on the series. Stelter serves as a consultant. Echo’s Amanda Anka is a co-producer.
Mbatha-Raw, who counts Touch, Undercovers and A Wrinkle in Time among her credits, is repped by CAA and Hansen Jacobson. Crudup, fresh off Netflix’s one-and-done drama Gypsy, is with CAA and Lighthouse Management + Media.
Still to be determined is how — and when — Apple will release its scripted original programming.
Steve Carell Joins Reese Witherspoon, Jennifer Aniston in Apple Morning Show Drama
Steve Carell is set to join Reese Witherspoon and Jennifer Aniston the cast of Apple’s upcoming morning-show drama. The role will be Carell’s first as a series regular since he left “The Office,” the NBC single-camera comedy that elevated him to stardom.
In the still;-untitled Apple series, Carell will play play Mitch Kessler, a morning show anchor who is struggling to maintain relevance in a changing media landscape.
Announced last year, the project was the first drama series to be ordered by Apple as the tech giant began to execute on its designs to into the television-series space. The drama hails from Michael Ellenberg’s Media Res studio. It is exec produced by Ellenberg; Aniston and Kristin Hahn through Echo Films; and Witherspoon and Lauren Levy Neustadter through Hello Sunshine. The starry project was highly sought after by a number of outlets and landed a two-season order (10 episodes per season) from Apple. Media Res, Aniston and Witherspoon are the principle owners of the show.
The series is based on an idea from Ellenberg and will draw background material from CNN senior media correspondent Brian Stelter’s 2013 book “Top of the Morning,” which recounted the recent rivalry between NBC’s “Today” and ABC’s “Good Morning America.” In April, Jay Carson departed the project as showrunner, replaced by Kerry Ehrin.
Apple’s Jennifer Aniston-Reese Witherspoon Series Adds Director Mimi Leder
Mimi Leder has signed on to direct and executive produce Apple’s untitled drama series starring Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon through studio Media Res. Leder joins executive producer and showrunner Kerry Ehrin. The series provides an inside look at the lives of the people who help America wake up in the morning, exploring the unique challenges faced by the women and men who carry out this daily televised ritual.
Aniston also serves as exec producer through her Echo Films banner with Reese Witherspoon and Lauren Levy Neustadter through Hello Sunshine; and Michael Ellenberg through Media Res. CNN anchor Brian Stelter consults on the project, with his book “Top of the Morning” providing additional background material.
A television veteran whose credits include “The Leftovers,” “ER,” “The West Wing,” “Shameless,” “L.A. Law,” and “China Beach,” Leder is currently in post-production on the theatrical features “On the Basis of Sex,” which will be released in December from Participant Media and Focus Features. Her other film credits include “The Peacemaker,” and “Deep Impact.” Leder is represented by by CAA, Fourward, and attorney Barry Littman.
Congratulations to Reese for her inclusion on eminent business magazine Fortune’s World’s Top 50 Greatest Leaders list:
The World’s 50 Greatest Leaders Our annual list of the thinkers, speakers, and doers who are stepping up to meet today’s challenges.
Though it seems unlikely, Tim Cook and Indira Jaising have something in common besides membership in Fortune’s 2018 ranking of the World’s Greatest Leaders. Cook (No. 14) is the wealthy CEO of Apple, the most valuable publicly traded company on earth; Jaising (No. 20) is an Indian lawyer who cofounded an NGO called Lawyers Collective, which promotes human rights issues. Yet they share this trait: Both have multiplied their organizations’ effectiveness by harnessing the power of unbundling. Following their example is a new imperative for the best leaders.
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