When it comes to putting women at the forefront in TV and film, Reese Witherspoon is showing Hollywood how it’s done. She tells Gemma Dunn why she decided to create her own opportunities.
When Reese Witherspoon and her Big Little Lies co-stars took to the stage at this year’s Emmy Awards, they were met with rapturous applause.
Hand in hand, the five stars – an indomitable tribe made up of Nicole Kidman, Witherspoon, Laura Dern, Zoe Kravitz and Shailene Woodley, no less – were proof the tide is turning in Hollywood, as the 69th ceremony became historic for its celebration of women in front of and behind the camera.
The irresistible HBO show – based on the book by Australian author Liane Moriarty – had cleaned up, winning eight major awards including Outstanding Limited Series.
“It’s been an incredible year for women in television,” declared Witherspoon, (41), as she accepted the latter alongside her cast mate and co-producer Kidman.
“Can I just say, bring women to the front of their own stories, and make them the hero of their own stories.”
Gripping the star’s hand, Kidman, who also took home best actress, added: “This is a friendship that then created opportunities. It created opportunities out of our frustration because we weren’t getting offered great roles, so now more great roles for women, please.”
Delivering a message that’s hard to ignore, I’m not at all surprised to find Witherspoon – an Academy Award winner in her own right – still processing the night’s events four days later.
“It’s been amazing. It’s been a really interesting time,” quips the Walk the Line actress, sipping tea from a dainty china cup in a London hotel. “I’d never gone to the Emmys before, so it was really fun. (There are) so many talented women: Susan Sarandon, Jessica Lange, Oprah …
“(We’ve been) getting so many well-wishes”, continues the Louisiana-born star. “People are really responding to how many women won.”
Is she seeing a change in the scripts she’s being offered, then?
“Nope”, she fires back, exasperated. “That’s why I’m buying books and turning them into movies, because the scripts are dreadful”, she reasons, having headed up such novel-to-screen adaptations as Cheryl Strayed’s memoir Wild and Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl, under her production banner Pacific Standard.
“Honestly, the things that come at me normally are just dreadful and it’s a huge industry.”
She follows: “I think when you’re trying to establish yourself, you take a lot of projects that maybe aren’t, you know, expressive of who you are as an artist or what you want to accomplish, but certainly as you get older you think, ‘Why am I doing this?'”
It goes without saying, then, Witherspoon’s resume has done a 180 since her breakthrough role playing blonde sorority girl Elle Woods in the 2001 classic Legally Blonde.
But while her latest outing might look like it affords the same rom-com tropes – Home Again is, in fact, very different.
For starters, the movie boasts two brilliant filmmakers: legendary producer Nancy Meyers (The Holiday, It’s Complicated) and her daughter, Hallie Meyers-Shyer, who will make her directorial debut.
Secondly, it’s a contemporary title that challenges the standard definitions of family, as in between love, friendship and family, it offers a life lesson that starting over is not for beginners.
That teaching comes in the form of Alice Kinney (Witherspoon), a 40-year-old who has recently separated from her husband (Michael Sheen) and therefore decides to start over by moving back to her hometown of Los Angeles with her two young daughters. It’s there she comes across three young filmmakers and, having agreed to a temporary living arrangement, finds her newfound life unfolding in unexpected ways.
For Witherspoon, it was refreshing to explore the truth of divorce, as opposed to a traditional love story.
“(To) have a woman separated in the very beginning of the film is a very modern concept”, she says of Home Again, admitting she was keen to explore the notion that decisions you make at 25 don’t necessarily suit your life further down the line.
“I loved the script. I think so many people can relate to the journey of getting divorced and not knowing what’s next,” she adds. “People are going through that more and more, so it’s nice to see reality reflected on film.”
Restating her support for ‘dynamic’ women steering the ship, she states: “It’s great to have a female director and a female producer (too).
“They really see romance in a different kind of way and it’s definitely through their lens that you see a romance between an older woman and a younger man …”
But she’s quick to point out it goes far beyond mother-daughter bonding.
“It’s been really fun to see Hallie and Nancy’s dynamic and how they speak the same language,” Witherspoon enthuses. “They think the same ways about comedy and character.
“It’s nice for me to be around so many female filmmakers,” she says. “It’s important that we have female voices in film and I think Hallie is going to be a great new voice.”
But ultimately, she insists, it’s about updating the age-old rom com: “Audiences are ready for something a little more modern.”
A mother to three children, Witherspoon – who shares a son and daughter with her ex-husband, actor Ryan Phillippe, and a young son with her second husband, talent agent Tim Roth – is ever conscious of setting a fine example to her brood. In particular, her lookalike daughter Ava, who she took as her plus-one to this year’s Emmys.
“I look forward to the day when she gets to be the boss”, Witherspoon says of the 18-year-old. “I will be like happy; I’m like ‘Youuu take the responsibility'” she adds, her southern twang in full force.
“It’s shifted definitely to, ‘Wow, look at what my mother and these other women are accomplishing and I am so proud of them'”, she concludes, smiling. “She is learning a lot from these incredible women that I get to spend time with – it’s the dream.”
- Home Again is in cinemas province wide
Robert De Niro Says ‘The Irishman’ Set for the Big Screen
“The Irishman is set for the big screen next year when it is released by Netflix, star Robert De Niro said Sunday while speaking at the Marrakech Film Festival.
The pic is the actor’s latest collaboration with Goodfellas director Martin Scorsese, which also stars Al Pacino, Joe Pesci and Harvey Keitel, and is set in the crime world.
“We’ve talked about it with Netflix. They are going to do a presentation of our film the way it should be, in a theater, in certain venues, the best theatrical venues there can be,” De Niro said, hinting that there have been ongoing discussions with the streaming platform surrounding the release.
“How they resolve it is, in the beginning, they will show it on the big screen — we’re talking about big venues where it would play, where it should play — and what happens after that, I’m not sure,” he said, guessing that it would be released online at a later date.
It marks the second big film Netflix will release, following in the footsteps of Alfonso Curaon’s Oscar contender Roma in a limited theatrical run for awards season. Netflix has also taken on Guillermo del Toro’s dark Pinocchio, which is another potential awards contender and the next project after his Oscar wins for The Shape of Water…………………………………………..”
Golden Globe nominations to kick off Hollywood’s award season
“Nominations for the Hollywood Foreign Press Association’s annual ceremony, which honors achievement in film and television, were announced Thursday. Big film hits “Black Panther,” “Bohemian Rhapsody” and “A Star Is Born” will compete for best drama against the critically acclaimed “BlacKkKlansman” and “If Beale Street Could Talk,” directed by Spike Lee and Barry Jenkins, respectively, who directed the Oscar-winning “Moonlight.”
Below is the full list of nominees.
See the rest of the nominations here: https://www.cnn.com/2018/12/06/entertainment/golden-globe-nominations/index.html
Who will host the Oscars now that Kevin Hart has stepped down?
“Now Kevin Hart has stepped down from hosting the Oscars, one question remains: who will replace him?
The 39-year-old comedian was confirmed as the Academy Awards host for 2019 just three days ago.
However, he found himself in deep water this week when fans started sharing unearthed tweets from 2010 which show him using the word ‘gay’ as a slur. as well as labelling people ‘f**s’.
Hart announced his decision to step down as host of the Oscars on Thursday night. Hosting the Oscars is one of the biggest gigs a presenter can land and it’s got to go to the right person. So WHO will the Academy ask to replace Kevin?
Ellen DeGeneres is the bookies’ runaway favourite to host February’s awards show, with Betfair offering odds of 6/4. If the bookies are correct, it will be the third time she’s hosted the prestigious awards, having done so in 2007 and 2014. Her 2014 run saw her taking the infamous Oscars selfie, featuring the likes of Bradley Cooper……………………………………….”
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