Together sat down with a gorgeous, talented Tennessean – Reese Witherspoon.
This is a very big year in the life of Reese Witherspoon. Her Big Little Lies TV mini-series turned out to be a massive popular and critical success and earned her and series co-star Nicole Kidman nominations for best actress. It was also a personal triumph on another level for Witherspoon – she spearheaded development of the series via her Pacific Standard production company, hired her Wild director Jean-Marc Vallée to direct and brought her good friend Nicole Kidman on board as both co-star and co-executive producer.
Witherspoon delivered arguably the best performance of her career in the role of Madeline, Lies’ whirling dervish/Type A meddlesome Monterey mom and social gadfly. The series earned Reese some of the best reviews of her career and could well be said to eclipse even her Oscar-winning turn in Walk the Line or harrowing journey in Wild.
Now the 41-year-old actress is returning to her earlier big screen comic roots in Home Again, a sparkling romantic comedy – her first since 2012’s “This Means War” – that marks the directorial debut of Haillee Meyers-Shyer, the daughter of veteran rom-com guru Nancy Meyers. Reese stars as 40-year-old single mom Alice Kinney who struggles to rebuild her life in L.A. after separating from her husband (Michael Sheen). Comic complications ensue when she allows three young filmmakers to crash in her new home…
Reese has three children, two, Ava, 17, and Deacon, 13, by her previous marriage to actor Ryan Philippe, and a 4-year-old boy, Tennessee, from current husband Jim Toth.
Together: Reese, this would appear to be a very fertile creative time for you?
Reese: I’m in a good place in my life and as an artist and I have high expectations for the future. It’s very rewarding and a lot of fun but in the end there’s a lot of hard work involved.
What is the difference between where you are today and where you were nearly a decade ago?
A while back I felt that I had lost my inspiration and my direction and today my work fits with my ambitions about what I want to accomplish and the ideas I have for new projects.
My husband Jim (Toth) has had a lot to do with that. He’s helped encourage me to be bolder in my outlook and now with my production company I’m able to create opportunities not just for myself but for other women to write and direct.
As you grow older so many things become clearer. Now I focus on the positives, on what I know how to do, and on enjoying my family life and being a good mother instead of wasting time on things that are not important and distract you from what you really want to do.
I’m very proud of being able to bring together so many extraordinarily gifted women like Nicole, Shailene, Laura and Zoe to be part of this series. I was getting tired of seeing so many talented women relegated to secondary, girlfriend kinds of roles. And getting to spend time with them has made me appreciate even more how frustrating it is for women in our business to be able to find good roles.