Tag Archives: Reese Witherspoon

Reese Witherspoon, Kerry Washington Adapting Bestseller for Limited Series

reeseCould this be the next Big Little Lies?

According to Variety, Reese Witherspoon and Kerry Washington are teaming up to adapt Celeste Ng’s 2017 bestseller Little Fires Everywhere for the small screen.

Both Witherspoon and Washington will executive produce and star in the series, which tells the story of a suburban single mother and the custody battle over a Chinese-American baby. No word yet when or where it will air, but the news is hot; apparently the project is sparking a bidding war between players in premium cable and streaming.

Reese Witherspoon, man. She just slays.

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‘Big Little Lies’ Coming to HBO

If you haven’t yet read Liane Moriarty’s huge bestseller, Big Little Lies — don’t worry, I haven’t yet either!– there’s now more incentive to do it. The bestselling novel is coming to HBO in the form of a limited series.

According to Collider, the series is set to debut in 2017, and it looks awesome. I only found out about this a few weeks ago when I was watching HBO and saw the trailer.

The series stars Reese Witherspoon, Nicole Kidman, Shailene Woodley, Adam Scott and Laura Dern. It’s interesting that it’s set to air in this way on HBO, but apparently the story is complex enough to warrant more than your standard 120-minute feature, and the cast is so good, well, does it really even matter how long it is?

Meanwhile, this isn’t the last we’ll see of Liane Moriarty adaptations. According to Variety, Witherspoon and Kidman have already teamed up to produce a movie version of Moriarty’s Truly, Madly, Guilty. 

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Reese Witherspoon to Voice ‘Mockingbird’ Sequel Audiobook

As if the last year wasn’t busy enough for Academy Award-winning actress Reese Witherspoon (Wild, Gone Girl), she’s taking on another big…well…undertaking.

According to Entertainment Weekly, she’s voicing the audiobook version of Harper Lee’s new novel Go Set a Watchman, the long-awaited follow-up to her classic To Kill a Mockingbird. The novel will follow a grown-up Scout. And Reese Witherspoon couldn’t be more honored to deliver the story through her voice, as Andrea Towers explains:

Witherspoon told USA Today that, “as a Southerner, it is an honor and a privilege to give voice to the Southern characters who inspired by childhood love of reading, Scout and Atticus Finch.” The Oscar-winning star added that she is “eager for readers to be transported to a pivotal time in American history in the manner that only Lee’s gorgeous prose can deliver.”

Go Set a Watchman is due to be released in print and audiobook on July 14th.

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Movie vs. Book: Water for Elephants

A strange but beautiful combination of animals, romance, and historical fiction, Water For Elephants tells the story of a man who starts off as a Cornell University veterinary student and ends as a tired, old, former circus member. When 90-something Jacob Jankowski hears the circus is in town, it brings him back to his younger years, when he traveled the country working for the circus.

It’s where he regained control of his life after his parents died. It’s where he fell in love with an elephant named Rosie, who went on to become a his personal pet. And it’s also where he met the love of life, Marlena. Jacob relives these memories by telling his story to a current employee of the circus.

The movie Water For Elephants stays close to Sara Gruen’s beloved book — particularly with the 1930’s circus memories section. The only place the movie veers from the original is in its details of the older, current Jacob. In the book, Jacob’s narration takes place in his own mind. For the majority of the book, he is in a nursing home, conversing with his nurse and fellow elderly friends. When he learns that the circus is in town, just a few blocks from the nursing home, he gets frustrated that he’s stuck in a home and begins to reflect on his time in the circus. In the book, Jacob doesn’t go to the circus until the very end. That’s when he befriends the circus worker. But the movie starts with Jacob going to the circus. He begins to tell his story to the circus worker, and that’s where we delve into his former life.

Yes, the movie made a pretty big change in terms of narration and the overall story. But in Water for Elephants, the story within the story is the best part, and the movie portrayed that story quite well.

Reese Witherspoon is dazzling as Marlena, though — dare I say it? — she may have been a bit old for the part. (In the book, Marlena is 21. Reese Witherspoon turns 36 this year.) Christoph Waltz is cruelly evil as Marlena’s husband, August. And even Rob Pattinson is a surprisingly good and believable Jacob.

What I didn’t believe was the onscreen chemistry between the two of them. One could make the argument that anytime you put two attractive people together, they’re going to have chemistry. But I was hoping for the “Rachel McAdams-Ryan Gosling-The Notebook” kind of chemistry, and I didn’t get that here.

Overall, if you loved the book, you will love the movie. It mostly stays true to the story, and the set and costumes gel perfectly. Visually, the movie is just what you picture when reading the book, and that makes it magical.
Get Water for Elephants for $10.

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Review: Water for Elephants

Recap:  There’s nothing like a good love triangle. Put that triangle in an usual setting, and you’ve got yourself a story. Such is the case with Sara Gruen’s Water For Elephants. Elephants follows the story of a Jacob Jankowski, a man in his 90s who lives in a nursing home. The circus comes to town, and the mere mention of the word “circus” brings Jacob back to his young in the 1930’s — a time when circuses were all the rage.

After Jacob’s parents died, Jacob drops out of vet school at Cornell University and joins the circus on a whim. It’s the time of the Great Depression, and with no money, no parents, and no college degree, he decides to stay with the traveling performers. But he soon learns there’s a difference between the entertainers and the working men. He joins the ranks as a working man, serving as the vet for the exotic animals in the show.

In due time, he not only falls in love with the new, untrained, seemingly dumb elephant, Rosie, but he also falls for the show’s star performer, Marlena. One small problem: Marlena happens to be married to one of the show’s directors, August.

Analysis: In some ways, Elephants is a story that’s been written many times over — a love triangle in which the woman is torn between two men with starkly different backgrounds. But it’s the setting and animal subplot that add flavor to this book.

The 1930’s setting deals with a lot of historical issues, including the Great Depression, prohibition, and the technological hindering in the world of medical treatment. For instance, a number of men in the circus suffer from Jake’s leg, a disease caused by drinking contaminated Jamaican ginger that often made its way into alcohol at the time. When one comes down with Jake’s leg, he becomes paralyzed and dies. Not to mention, August suffers from schizophrenia, a disease that was known back then, but not properly treated.

And the animal plot delves deep into animal treatment. In the book, the exotic animals were often times beat to a pulp — something that simply would not fly these days — especially if they were circus animals.

Gruen’s telling of the story also makes it appealing. It reminded me of The Notebook in that it flipped back and forth between a story from long ago and the present day — in which the storyteller is old and reflecting back on his or her life. Water for Elephants is an exciting, engaging page-turner.

MVP: Kinko/Walter, Jacob’s bunkmate. Initially, Kinko is a grouchy, condescending performer — a dwarf — who wants nothing to do with Jacob. But his character develops, and we learn that he may be a dwarf, but he has a giant heart.

Now you can buy Water for Elephants for less than $10.

Not to mention, check out the movie, starring Robert Pattinson (Jacob) and Reese Witherspoon (Marlena).

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