Reese Witherspoon first became a Hollywood headliner through her role as Elle Woods in ‘Legally Blonde’. In the film she plays a seemingly ditsy sorority girl who heads to Harvard Law School with the intention of proving to her ex boyfriend that she can be “serious”. After a few twists in the road, she learns that she can in fact be successful and that the dream boyfriend is not actually such a dreamboat. Sassy and feminist, her closing speech as Elle Woods came back into the headlines recently when a certain President appeared to find it inspiring. Watch his mimicry here for some light entertainment.
Since that breakout role, Reese Witherspoon has been one of the most lovable faces on Cinema screens. Through her many years as a successful actress she’s come to know the American film and TV industry deeply, and it was from this foundation that she began producing. ‘Wild’ (2015) was produced by Reese, as was ‘Gone Girl’. Whilst this is impressive in isolation, the context within which Reese has made this move is what makes it so exciting. Despite film audiences being approximately 50/50 male/female, the film industry itself is way off balance. Of the top 100 grossing films of 2017, women only represented:
- 8% of directors
- 10% of writers
- 2% of cinematographers
- 24% of producers
- 14% of editors
And who we’re seeing on screen reflects this. Amongst the top 100 films of 2016, females played just 29% of lead roles. Beyond simply raising the alarm, Reese has taken action. Using her production company Hello Sunshine (cute), her ambition is to bring more dynamic women to our screens, aware of the influence the entertainment industry can have on society. She has bought the production rights to a number of successful books (predominantly written by women). By owning these rights, she has control over who brings them to life and how. Just a few days ago she also announced an exciting new film project with Kerri Washington. Busy lady!