Home Again: Interview with Star Reese Witherspoon

HOME AGAIN will be released by Open Road on September 8.

 

The movie stars Reese Witherspoon as Alice Kinney in a modern romantic comedy. Recently separated from her husband, (Michael Sheen), Alice decides to start over by moving back to her hometown of Los Angeles with her two young daughters. During a night out on her 40th birthday, Alice meets three aspiring filmmakers who need a place to live. Alice agrees to let the guys stay in her guest house temporarily, but the arrangement ends up unfolding in unexpected ways. Alice’s unlikely new family and new romance is interrupted when her ex-husband shows up.

Relationship with Younger Man

Reese Witherspoon:  I think it’s interesting first of all to explore that dynamic and I see a lot of older men with younger women on film and we don’t even talk about it.  Frequently I see a lot of men that I have worked with over the years coming up and they are with younger and younger women. I think that’s interesting to talk about it.  It definitely happens and I have dated younger men in my life.  It depends on what the age gap is and these men are at a point where they are trying to figure out their careers, their lives, but I think there is a lot to be learned from relationships and how you connect and there is something really beautiful about creating a film where they don’t see the age of this woman, they just see the appeal of this woman.  And that’s something that I feel like that if you see it more on film, then it may seem a little more acceptable in society.  

Family Life on Screen

RW: I think it’s nice to see a blended family on screen and I think to me family is multi-generational. I grew up with grandparents that I saw all the time and there were all these little kids running around.  I think it’s the people who love you the most and who see the best in you.

Directed by Hallie Meyer-Shyers

RW: Nancy, Hallie’s mother, was there every day, and it was a great experience.  I have been in movies for 25 years and Nancy has obviously had a ton of experience and the opportunity, giving a young woman the opportunity to direct her first film, and the support, was really fun.  It was really nice to be around and use accumulated knowledge that I have learned over the years to help create the best movie we could make. I never worked with Nancy as a director, I only know Hallie. And she was phenomenal and she was very impressive and she had a very clear vision and clearly she understands comedy and romance and beautiful backdrops.  So it was a great experience. I don’t know what Hallie got from me, but I got a very clear sense of what she and Nancy thought were funny.  And I had never really had that kind of direction before about comedy.  But I started to understand the rhythm of how they worked and they had that kind of old Hollywood patter, like very quick speaking and sharp reactions and things like that.  I don’t know, every relationship that you have with a director, it’s like you are finding the way that they like your performance.  But it was all really great and when it all kind of clicked in, it was a really fantastic relationship.   

Starting Over

RW: Anybody who is in their midlife and deciding to start over, whether they are in a divorce or they are breaking up in a relationship or starting a new job, I think people live these long lives and have many chapters, and I have certainly been many different people before I turned 40.  I have been married, I have been divorced, I have been a single mom and I have been dating and I have been married again and I have been a mom again and now I have toddlers and teenagers and I don’t know, you are a lot of different people.  And I think this talks about the human experience of being at a crossroads at your life and which life you want to live, which I think a lot of people are thinking about. When you are in your 20s you think you know everything.  And then you get a little older and you realize that you know nothing.  And then I don’t know what happens after that.  Now I am old enough to know that I know nothing.  

Career Turning Point

RW: About five years ago, I got a script that was probably the worst script that I have ever read.  And I called my agent and I said that this is just terrible, I don’t want to do this movie.  And he said every actress in Hollywood wants this part.  And that just lit a fire under me and I said this isn’t good enough, this isn’t good enough for these actresses, who have worked all their lives, and they are the industry leaders and they are also who we look at to emulate yourself on film.  And if you don’t see yourself on film and you see women who you respect and admire acting stupid and doing bad parts, that is just not inspiring.  So I set out with a goal to create better roles for women, more opportunities for female directors and female screenwriters, and it’s been a great thing.  It’s hard, I mean, I self-funded a company for five years, but it feels like the next chapter of my life and what I am supposed to be doing.  

Role of Alice

RW: It’s a movie. I think the majority of people have specific questions and specific problems.  Should I leave this relationship and should I start a new relationship and do I want to have a different job and can I enter the workforce again?  Do I want to move back home and be closer to my family and I want to be closer to my family I think.  So it’s about the small decisions that you make that become the big life choices that direct the course of your life.  But I think that is what Nancy does very well and Nancy and an extension Hallie in this story, I think it’s not about the big scope of things or the Wild, Wild West and World War II, it’s about the life decisions that you make every single day.  And sometimes that is nice to see on film and watch people’s sort of internal struggle and it’s the little decisions that change your life.  

Personal Script

RW: You would have to ask Hallie, but I do think she wrote a lot about what her and her sister experienced when her parents got divorced.  I think that was definitely an aspect in her writing and we discussed it, but whether it’s about Nancy or not, I don’t know, you would have to ask Hallie.  

Big Little Lies

RW: I think the reaction to “Big Little Lies” was unexpected and it was definitely, I don’t think we ever thought that that many people would watch it or enjoy it.  And I have seen a lot of people on the internet redo the opening sequence and they will dress like me and Nicole and it’s bizarre, like internet memes and things.  So it’s really nice that it touched an audience in a way.  And I think they enjoyed seeing a deeper look into a woman’s life and how she feels about all aspects of being a woman, instead of maybe just one part of it.  And I don’t know about the President Macron, he seems like a nice guy and French people that I know really like him.  

Music on the Set

RW: I remember the scene when we were watching the movie, my father’s old movie, she played the score to “Cinema Paradiso” and it was so moving and emotional.  And another thing I liked about the movie was that it was a love letter to moviemaking and old Hollywood and respecting those directors that came before us, for the way that they made us feel and the stories that they gave us and the actors that they gave us.  And music of the 70s, I love Fleetwood Mac and Allman Brothers and Joni Mitchell.

Work of Art that Moved you

RW: I just read this phenomenal book called “Little Fires Everywhere” by Celeste Ng and it’s beautiful.  It comes out in September and it’s all about that your mother isn’t necessarily the person that you are born to and it’s where you find her.  And it’s about parenting teenagers and about class and race in our country, and it was just beautifully written.

Reading Habits

RW: I usually read at night, after the kids have gone to bed and they are done with their homework.  Sometimes I read in the bath, and then it’s really good and I will keep reading. I just finished a really good book called “Siracusa” by Delia Ephron, it was fantastic.  It was about two couples that go to Rome and kind of tragic things happen. I like to read non-fiction in the morning and I will read fiction at night. I probably read like three books a week.  I read really fast.  My grandmother taught me when I was little how to read very quickly.  So I don’t know if I could take a test on them, (laughs) I don’t remember things, but I read pretty quickly, particularly if it’s really good.  And if it’s not good, I just put it away, don’t waste your time.  

Going out and Leisure

RW: I go out probably once a week or once every two weeks with my girlfriends.  I try to connect with them, but they are all busy moms too and with businesses and stuff.   I read a lot and I talk to my mom on the phone a lot and that makes me sort of laugh. She always makes me laugh, she is very funny.  

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