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(Photos) Reese covers Variety

Blame it on the weather. It was unseasonably cold in Monterey, Calif., when, deep into the 88-day shoot for “Big Little Lies” — after 10 straight days of late nights — the unthinkable happened: The usually unflappable Reese Witherspoon lost her temper. Faced with a difficult emotional scene, she yelled at director Jean-Marc Vallée.


Recalling the incident a few months later over tea at the Langham Huntington Hotel in Pasadena, the two — who share an easy, effortless camaraderie — laugh at the memory. “I’m so sorry!” she tells him, sheepishly hiding her face in her hands. In his French-accented lilt, Vallée says, “I felt so sad because I knew it wasn’t her.”

But back in that fraught moment on the set, he turned to her and said, “Great! Let’s do it,” pushing her to channel her frustration into her performance. Vallée reports that Witherspoon — perfectly cast as the fast-talking, multitasking mother of two, Madeline Martha Mackenzie, in HBO’s new limited series about the tragic fallout of secrets in a small town — nailed the scene. (Based on the bestseller by Liane Moriarty, the seven-episode series debuts Feb. 19.)

Witherspoon, who serves as executive producer along with co-star Nicole Kidman, handpicked her “Wild” director for this creative reunion. (The 2014 film, based on Cheryl Strayed’s memoir, chronicles a woman’s journey of self-discovery as she hikes the Pacific Crest Trail.) “I feel safe with Jean-Marc — more safe than I’ve ever felt with anybody, because he’s my brother, he’s my partner; I know he’s always going to demand the best, but I’m always going to bring my best,” she says. “We hold each other to those standards. We don’t have any artifice between us.”

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(Photos) Winter TCA Tour

Reese Witherspoon and her co-stars from HBO’s Big Little Lies attended the 2017 Winter TCA Tour yesterday morning. She was wearing an orange Alexander McQueen dress. She spoke out about why it’s so important for female stories to be told on screen and why this led her to develop the series.

Answering a question about why female-focused stories are such a priority for her, she answered: “I’m passionate because things have to change. We have to start seeing women as they really are in film. And not just in a movie theater with a tiny budget. We need to see real women’s experience whether it involves domestic violence, whether is involves sexual assault whether it involves motherhood or romance or infidelity or divorce. We need to see these things because we as human beings we learn from art and what can you do if you never see it reflected? I feel like I constantly see women of incredible talent playing wives and girlfriends in thankless parts, I just had enough.
It’s a unique pleasure to be able to come to other women with a piece of material I feel deeply proud of and excited to see their performance. These are the kinds of things that shift cosciousness.”

Gallery Links:
Public Appearances > 2017 > Winter TCA Tour – Day 10 | Panel (01.14)
Public Appearances > 2017 > Winter TCA Tour – Day 10 | Inside (01.14)

New ‘Big Little Lies’ Poster

HBO has released a new Big Little Lies poster showing Reese, Nicole Kidman and Shailene Woodley. Don’t forget: Big Little Lies premieres February 19 at 9pm.


Reese Witherspoon for Elle Magazine

Reese and her Big Little Lies co-stars covers Elle‘s February issue throwing in a blockbuster novel about a group of upper-middle-class mothers of kindergartners roiled by sexual violence, class issues, ageism, and…murder! The result is an HBO miniseries that, even in this big-budget, high-minded small-screen era, we’ve never seen before: a seven-part thriller that looks like a movie, feels like a movie—and packs enough woman power to populate the Oscars’ front row—but grips like only episodic TV can.


On the importance of telling female-centric stories: “As an artist, I feel more strongly than ever that my job on earth is to tell the stories of the invisibles, and women have been invisible on film for a long time. Women are wives and mothers and girlfriends, but not the center of our own stories. No one’s the good guy; no one’s the bad guy. We all do deplorable things and very honorable things.”

On celebrating diverse beauty standards: “Costumes, fashion, it’s all an expression of self, and the more you push the boundaries — the more that people work at creating alternative ideas — the more it changes people’s ideas of beauty. I love that people are going, Yeah, I love a hundred different kinds of beauty; it’s not all the tall, skinny supermodel. Around the world, we have to find the beauty. Now more than ever, we’re looking.”

For more on ELLE’s Women in TV honorees, pick up the February issue on newsstands nationwide January 17.

Reese Covers “In Style” December Issue

Reese Witherspoon can claim many titles: Oscar-winning actress, founder of clothing and lifestyle brand Draper James, voice of Rosita the pig in December’s animated feature Sing, star and co-producer of HBO’s February miniseries Big Little Lies, and mother of three, to name just a few. But on the night of October 2, she was, first and foremost, a Dolly Parton fan. As the country legend wrapped up the second leg of her Pure & Simple tour, Witherspoon and her friends belted out hits along with the rest of the nearly 18,000-strong sellout crowd. The following afternoon, Parton called Witherspoon to talk about being a “true Southern girl,” standing up to “bull donkeys,” and knowing exactly how much to give—and not to give—to “creative vampires.” Unsurprisingly, the admiration between the women is mutual.

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Reese on her inspiration: “When I was probably 5 years old, I wanted to be Dolly Parton. I was skipping around the blacktop at school by myself, and my P.E. teacher said, “Why aren’t you playing the game [with the other kids]?” I said, “Well, I’m not going to play the game because, Ms. Wright, I’m going to be Dolly Parton when I grow up.”

Reese on choosing who she works with: “I think that’s another good part of getting older. I’ve realized that life is too short to spend my time with anybody who doesn’t appreciate me, treat me with respect, or bring value to the relationship. I’m much more confident now, and I feel like I have the ability to say, “Nope, I don’t want to work with that person.”

Reese on her clothing line, Draper James: “It’s a new chapter for me starting a business, going around passing the hat, and promoting it all over the place. It’s a different experience, but I’m enjoying learning something new. I’ve been acting for about 25 years, and I still love it, but I like the challenge of trying something else too. I find there are a lot of people talking about New York and Los Angeles, but there’s a whole world out there in between, and that’s who I like to tell stories about and make products for – people who love the life they have and have a sense of style that’s uniquely their own.”

Reese on being a working mother: “I’m just trying to hold on, trying to make it through. My older kids help with the little one. It’s nice to have a big family.” “My mom worked, and I think it’s good for kids to see women working and being successful. I think it’s going to make them hard workers because they see that I don’t get much sleep. But I love what I do. I want them to grow up with passion. This is the one life you get, and you have to live it to the very end.”

 

December issue of InStyle, available on newsstands and for digital download Friday, November 11th.

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