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Reese Witherspoon Is Not Only Changing Hollywood for Women, But She's Elevating the Publishing Industry

By Dustin Rowles | Industry | March 6, 2018 |

By Dustin Rowles | Industry | March 6, 2018 |


Last year, Reese Witherspoon noted that she didn’t see enough roles for women in Hollywood, so she went out and she created them. One of her first big successes, obviously, was Big Little Lies on HBO, which not only featured a large female cast (returning next season WITH MERYL STREEP), but also significantly boosted the sales of the Liane Moriarty book upon which it is based. Witherspoon also decided, along with Nicole Kidman, to go ahead and adapt another Moriarty book while she was at it, Truly Madly Guilty, and I know that one is popular because I’ve had it on hold at the library for around six months.

Speaking of which, I had Celeste Ng’s Little Fires Everywhere on hold for around nine months. It was worth the wait. I finished it on Sunday, and it was fantastic. Reese Witherspoon is also adapting that with Kerry Washington, and they are kind of perfect for the story. Witherspoon, I assume, will play Mrs. Richardson, who is kind of like her Election character all grown up. She’s a Type A mom living in Shaker Heights whose life is thrown into chaos by the arrival of a more free-spirited artist mother and her daughter. I assume Washington will play the artist mom, and while the role of the daughter hasn’t been cast, I have to believe that Amandla Stenberg is their top choice. She’s basically perfect for the part. The cast on that movie, also, is heavily female.

Today, news arrives that Witherspoon is also adapting Ruth Ware’s thriller In A Dark Dark Wood and she’s found a screenwriter, Arash Amel. I read that a few months ago, and it’s pretty great, too, if you’re into novels of the Gillian Flynn ilk, which means: An awesome female villain. It’s about a reclusive writer who decides to attend the bachelor party of a friend she has not spoken to in years. Things go awry. It’s also a largely female cast.

She has several other adaptations in development, as well, including Luckiest Girl Alive by Jessica Knoll, All Is Not Forgotten by Wendy Walker, Opening Belle by Maureen Sherry, and Second Life by S.J. Watson. I should also note that she’s starring in A Wrinkle in Time out this Friday, also obviously based on a novel (she did not produce it, however).

So, yeah: If you trust Witherspoon’s adaptations, so far, you might want to add these to that list of books you’re trying to read (especially Little Fires Everywhere.

Dustin is the founder and co-owner of Pajiba. You may email him here, follow him on Twitter, or listen to his weekly TV podcast, Podjiba.

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