Reese Witherspoon goes beyond film

NEW YORK • The career forecast for actress Reese Witherspoon (above) is - plenty of sunshine.

On Tuesday, her media company, Hello Sunshine, announced that it was teaming up with telco AT&T to launch a video-on-demand channel.

A press release said Witherspoon, 42, will headline her own unscripted series Shine On With Reese, featuring interviews with famous women, including film-maker Ava DuVernay, singer Dolly Parton and actress America Ferrera.

Hello Sunshine's VOD channel is only the latest project in the actress' ever-expanding empire.

Witherspoon used to recommend compelling books by women through her Instagram account, but now she also does it through the Reese's Book Club.

But you cannot really talk about her book club without talking about her production company, Pacific Standard, which she co-founded with Bruna Papandrea in 2012. They parted ways in 2016.

Witherspoon told the Hollywood Reporter she started the company, now a subsidiary of Hello Sunshine, because she was frustrated with the "complete lack of interesting female leads in film".

In 2014, she brought two of the first books optioned by the company to the big screen: Gillian Flynn's psychological thriller Gone Girl and author Cheryl Strayed's memoir Wild.

Gone Girl was a box-office hit.

Wild landed Witherspoon, who starred as Strayed, her second Oscar nomination. She bagged best actress honours in 2006 for her role as June Carter Cash - country star Johnny Cash's wife - in Walk The Line.

Last year, Witherspoon's reliable book recommendations gave viewers HBO's award-winning Big Little Lies, not to mention a forthcoming season that will star Meryl Streep.

Witherspoon and Nicole Kidman, her Big Little Lies co-producer and co-star, also optioned Liane Moriarty's Truly Madly Guilty.

And there are a slew of other projects in various stages of development.

Witherspoon is producing and starring alongside actress Kerry Washington in a limited-series adaptation of Celeste Ng's Little Fires Everywhere, which received an eight-episode order from Hulu this year.

Apple, which is priming to roll out a slate of original TV shows, has snagged three Witherspoon-produced series including Are You Sleeping, based on Kathleen Barber's true-crime novel and which is set to star Octavia Spencer.

Witherspoon will also co-produce a 10-episode comedy with Saturday Night Live alumnus Kristen Wiig, who will be the show's lead, and will co-produce and star alongside Jennifer Aniston in a drama about a morning show.

Outside of film and TV, Witherspoon has Draper James, a lifestyle brand, which sells upscale clothing, housewares and - it was announced on Monday - eyewear.

"Our goal is to bring contemporary, yet timeliness Southern style to your wardrobe and your home," she said on the Draper James website.

And if all that was not enough, she recently confirmed, in a cheeky Instagram post, that there will be a third Legally Blonde movie.

The first two instalments came out in 2001 and 2003.

But if you prefer reading to cinema-going, Witherspoon has that area covered too.

On Sept 18, her first book, Whiskey In A Teacup, will hit shelves. Cheers, then.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 12, 2018, with the headline 'Reese Witherspoon goes beyond film'. Print Edition | Subscribe