Reese Witherspoon is on a winning streak — not only for her work in front of the camera, but her choices as a producer. This year her company has backed the critical success Gone Girl and the highly-anticipated Wild. Both films feature strong female characters and are based on books written by female authors. According to a recent interview Witherspoon conducted with the Hollywood Reporter, that is no accident.
“I just recognize that about three years ago, I started seeing this complete lack of interesting female leads in film. First I got mad, really mad. And then I was like, ‘It’s nobody’s fault; if you’re not proactive about things …’ I’d had a company before, but it was basically about trying to develop things that I would eventually be in. So I just switched the idea: If I can develop anything for any other women, I don’t care who it is; I just want my daughter to grow up seeing complex, interesting, nuanced women in film.”
The first two books Witherspoon’s company optioned were Gone Girl and Wild. As to whether Reese considered taking on the Gone Girl role herself — despite her mission to open up roles for all women, not just further her own career — she said yes, but the film’s director, David Fincher, put the brakes on the idea.
“We had a long conversation where he was like, ‘You’re not right for it. And this is why.’ And I actually completely agreed with him.”
The books’ authors — Gillian Flynn of Gone Girl and Cheryl Strayed of Wild — conducted a joint interview with the New York Times last week. Flynn responded to the assertion that Gone Girl may not in fact be empowering for women, but may instead perpetuate a stereotype.
“I’ve been asked that a lot, and to me the answer is always: ‘Of course, it’s not misogynistic.’ Women shouldn’t be expected to only play nurturing, kind caretakers. That’s always been part of my goal — to show the dark side of women. Men write about bad men all the time, and they’re called antiheroes.”
Strayed also discussed the reaction she received for Wild, which is a personal memoir.
“It never occurred to me, not once, that the book would be read as an inspirational tale. I really have no interest in likability when it comes to characters. It’s always about credibility, and to be credible you have to seem human.”
In the Hollywood Reporter interview, Witherspoon also expressed her dismay at the public reaction over Renee Zellweger’s appearance. She did not mince her words when expressing her displeasure.
“It’s horrible. It’s cruel and rude and disrespectful, and I can go on and on and on. It bothers me immensely.”
Wild, starring Reese Witherspoon, opens on December 5.
[Reese Witherspoon Image: Google]