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Reese Witherspoon: I buy books and turn them into movies because…

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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.

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In charge: Reese with Laura Dern

“(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.”

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Reese Witherspoon with Pico Alexander, who plays her love interest, Harry

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

Belfast Telegraph

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New Movie News

‘Too Much, Too Fast’: Disney to scale back production of Star Wars movies

Charmaine Blake

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After the disappointing box office performance of Solo: A Star Wars Story, Disney CEO Bob Iger says fans can expect some slowdown

“After months of rumor and speculation, Disney CEO Bob Iger has confirmed that its production and release of Star Wars movies will be scaled back.

Iger admitted that he had made a mistake, and that there had been too much, too fast in an interview with the Hollywood Reporter, after it put him at the top of its list of the most powerful people in the entertainment industry.

He added: You can expect some slowdown were going to be a little bit more careful about volume and timing.

Disney had received considerable criticism after the disappointing box-office performance of Solo: A Star Wars Story, the second of the anthology spinoffs designed to run alongside the core main Episode narratives and to alternate with them in the release schedules. Solo had a troubled production history, during which the directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller were replaced by Ron Howard, and was released in May 2018, only six months after Star Wars: The Last Jedi. Solos box office figures were considerably poorer than those of Rogue One, the previous Star Wars anthology spinoff from 2016, and is on course to become the first film in the franchise to lose money. The suggestion is that Disney failed to anticipate franchise fatigue.

Iger did not elaborate on the future of the two spinoffs believed to be in development a Boba Fett film to be directed by James Mangold and an Obi-Wan Kenobi film with Stephen Daldry rumoured to direct but did confirm that Game of Thrones creators David Benioff and DB Weiss are developing [Star Wars] sagas of their own.

However, Igers comments appear to back up the supposition that Disney and Lucasfilm will be concentrating on the main episodes, and he confirmed that JJ Abrams is busy making [Episode] IX. Abrams as yet untitled film is due for release in December 2019…………….”

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/film/2018/sep/21/star-wars-disney-to-scale-back-production-solo

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Peter Dinklage gets yet another Emmy for his role as Tyrion Lannister

Charmaine Blake

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Peter Dinklage wins yet another Emmy for his role in ‘Game of Thrones.’

Image: hbo

Peter Dinklage won his third Emmy for most outstanding supporting actor in a drama series at the Emmys on Monday.

Dinklage, who plays the iconic Tyrion Lannister in HBO’s Game of Thrones, was nominated alongside fellow Game of Thrones actor Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, who plays his brother Jaime Lannister.

For his work as Tyrion, Dinklage has been nominated in the category seven times, winning in 2011, 2015, and now 2018.

In his acceptance speech, Dinklage thanked Coster-Waldau, who earned his first Emmy nomination for his work on Game of Thrones this year.

Hopefully both actors survive the final season of Game of Thrones coming in 2019, or at least get one more nomination next year if they do meet their demise.

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‘Green Book’ Wins Toronto Film Festival’s People’s Choice Award

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Peter Farrelly’s “Green Book” has won the Grolsch People’s Choice Award at the 2018 Toronto International Film Festival, TIFF announced at an awards ceremony on Sunday.

The film, which tells the true story of an Italian-American nightclub bouncer (Viggo Mortensen) who serves as the chauffeur for a black pianist (Mahershala Ali) on a tour through the Deep South in the early 1960s, opened at the festival on Tuesday and was an instant hit with audiences and critics, although Bradley Cooper’s “A Star Is Born” had been considered the likely winner of the People’s Choice Award.

Runners-up for the award were Barry Jenkins’ lyrical James Baldwin adaptation “If Beale Street Could Talk” and Alfonso Cuaron’s moving memory piece “Roma.”

In the past, Toronto audience members voted by depositing their ticket stubs in a box at the theater, or by using the TIFF app — festival organizers took into account the size of the theaters in which each film screened — with the films that received votes from the largest percentage of their audience winning the prizes…………………”

Read More Here: https://www.thewrap.com/green-book-wins-toronto-film-festivals-peoples-choice-award/

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