YOU don’t become the queen of romantic comedies
without learning a few things about matters of the heart and Reese Witherspoon
Witherspoon – newly engaged actress and mother of two – is well-versed in the
mysteries and mores of love, and she spends hours discussing and debating them
with her girlfriends.
“I’m literally the girl who talks constantly about relationships. I hang up with
one (friend), and I pick up the phone and call another one. It’s an ongoing
dialogue all day long,” she says. “I don’t understand a woman who doesn’t talk
about love and relationships.”
She has been through a divorce (from actor Ryan Phillippe) and breakups (most
notably with actor Jake Gyllenhaal), but Witherspoon isn’t one to get hung up on
past amorous calamities. She views them as life lessons.
“You gotta be glad that you went through them, and you gotta be glad that you
learned from them. You gotta learn what you want,” says Witherspoon, 34, whose
fiance is talent agent Jim Toth.
And like so many of the romantically challenged, you have to figure out if he’s
the one for you.
That’s the perplexing question Witherspoon toys with in How Do You Know, a rom-com
with the actress playing a past-her-prime softball pro who gets cut from Team
USA and finds herself torn between two guys: a self-absorbed jock (Owen Wilson)
and a somewhat neurotic businessman (Paul Rudd).
But unlike Witherspoon, who exudes certainty and self-assurance, the character
of Lisa is a romantic naif.
“She’s not very good at articulating her feelings. She’s never been in a serious
relationship. She’s almost an innocent,” Witherspoon says. “She doesn’t care if
(men) call her back if she slept with them. She’s having sex for fun and sex for
So in that way, she’s loose and easy, just like Witherspoon? The actress, not
exactly known for any public sexual peccadilloes, doesn’t miss a beat.
“Trust me, that’s the quote I need to have picked up everywhere!” she says with
That incisive wit, coupled with her grit and spunk, was what enamoured writer-director
James L. Brooks, who penned the part with Witherspoon in mind. Having her
portray an athlete, he says, was a metaphor for what it means to be a woman
“It’s how strong women have to be in dealing with life. You have to be soft but
also tough. Reese has that strength. She’s very strong and has everything else
going for her,” Brooks says. “She’s been doing it since she’s a kid and has
discipline. She’s a real pro.”
Witherspoon trained with softball players for three months, five days a week, to
nail Lisa’s physicality like her clunky walk and awkwardness in high heels and
mannerisms. “And there’s 20 seconds of softball in the movie,” Brooks sums up.
“There’s nothing she can’t take on.”
McG (Joseph McGinty Nichol), producer of TV series Supernatural and The OC, who
directed Witherspoon in the upcoming action flick This Means War, goes further,
saying that Witherspoon’s allure is universal a rarity among her peers.
“She brings intelligence, sass, humour and beauty. It’s the multi-dimensional
approach that’s so appealing to men and women,” McG says. “She’s the true
embodiment of ‘lit from within’. You can’t fabricate that. It’s impossible to do
anything but fall in love with Reese Witherspoon.”
Indeed, some stars are less-than in person they’re paler, more wan, muted and
less attractive versions of the red-carpet gods and goddesses gawked at in
magazines. Not Witherspoon, who oozes confidence and self-awareness, and a
“She’s really funny and dry and thoughtful and subtle. She’s aware of everything.
She doesn’t miss a beat,” Rudd says.
Witherspoon knows how to play to her strengths. She has balanced prestige with
popcorn, earning a best-actress Oscar as June Carter Cash in 2005′s Walk the
Line while also cashing in at the box office as Elle Woods in the Legally Blonde
flicks. According to the magazine Forbes, Witherspoon earned $32 million from
June 2009 to June 2010, second only to Sandra Bullock. She runs the production
company Type A Films, which she started a decade ago, and has, among others, the
film version of Robert Goolrick’s A Reliable Wife in development for Sony. And
she’s still one of the few sure things in Hollywood.
Off-screen, too, the mother to Ava, 11, and Deacon, 7, is a blend of dazzle and
relatability. Witherspoon, who hails from Tennessee, is exceedingly courteous
“She’s a good person, and she has those Southern manners,” Brooks says.
That genteel exterior and her dazzling grin belie a shrewd businesswoman. McG
calls her “literate and street-savvy”.
“She comes from a very academic background, and she’s as smart as a human being
can be,” he says.
But Witherspoon insists she’s no Steve Jobs (chief executive of Apple).
“I’m really not assertive. I’m not awesome at business, either. I’m learning to
get better. I’m just very conservative and afraid everything is going to go away,”
The reality that Hollywood doesn’t exactly embrace wrinkles isn’t lost on the
fresh-faced Witherspoon, who’s active as a producer and hopes to direct one day
because she’s aware that there may be an expiry date to what she does for a
“As an actor, you think about that a lot, especially as a woman. It’s very
important to cultivate a personal life that you’re just as interested in as your
work life. Hopefully you’ll hang around like Meryl or Diane Keaton or Annette
Bening. I think about that, and I think it’s important to have a lot of
different interests in life,” she says.
At that, Witherspoon has also succeeded. Ask her and she’ll tell you that she’s
a homebody who puts dinner on the table stews and roasts are her specialty and
likes nothing more than losing herself in a page-turner, including The Passage
by Justin Cronin and David Sedaris’s Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk: A Modest Bestiary,
and the Twilight books.
For Witherspoon, civility means keeping parts of her personal life to herself.
She handled her 2007 divorce from Phillippe with grace and restraint, barely
discussing it in the press and focusing instead on her movies and raising her
kids. She’s open, to a point.
“I don’t have anything to hide. I don’t feel shame or embarrassment for the
things I’ve gone through,” Witherspoon says.
“What experience have I had that millions of other women haven’t had? And men,
too. There’s nothing rarefied about my experience. We’re all just people.”
Her son and daughter, Witherspoon says, keep her young. They play electric
guitar the White Stripes are a favourite and dance around the house. Children?
She’d like a few more. Matrimony, she’s not so sure about.
“I don’t think about the marriage thing as much . . . I believe in it. I really
do. It kind of redefines itself for you. I’m more clear, or realistic, about
what it is,” she says.
She’s equally thoughtful and circumspect about her new fiance Toth. Asking about
him elicits a sunny grin from Witherspoon.
“I’m definitely happy. I’m happy with all the experiences I’ve had. I’ve learned
what I don’t want. I’ve probably gotten closer to what I do want. It’s good,”
she says. “The best barometer is your friends. I have no perspective. Somehow
when they say it to me, I feel happy. My mother said, ‘You seem like your old
self.’ Where did I go to? Where have I been?”
As well as This Means War, Witherspoon has the film version of Water for
Elephants in the can and several projects in various stages of development.
She’d like to work with David Fincher, Alfonso Cuaron or Quentin Tarantino, but
she’s honest about her struggle to balance making films with the reality of
raising two kids.
“Sometimes my children (ask), ‘Why weren’t you in school?’ I have such guilt
about it. It’s terrible. (I tell them), ‘I know it’s hard to be without your mom
sometimes or I can’t be room mom or go on all the field trips, but when you go
to college and out into the real world, most people will have that experience’,”
“Actually, their mothers probably worked longer. My mother worked all day and
all night, and every weekend, as a nurse. My mom always said, ‘Your job is your
life insurance’. You can’t depend on anybody but yourself. I don’t know what I
would have done if I didn’t have my job.”
So if you’re expecting a tirade about the price of fame, look elsewhere.
Witherspoon raises her eyebrows and gives a little half smile.
“I’m lucky, man. I know what the alternatives are.”
Reese is all smiles while touching down at Tegel
Airport on Tuesday (January 18) in Berlin, Germany.
She is reportedly in town to promote her movie How Do You Know.
On Friday, Reese filmed some reshoots of her upcoming movie, Water for Elephants,
with co-star Robert Pattinson.
Reese recently dished that she was said to wrap up production on the movie
because of her other co-star: an 8,800-pound elephant named Tai. “The day I had to say goodbye to her, I wept all day,”
she said. “It was one of the most extraordinary filmmaking experiences of my
life. You work with actors and directors, but to have this nonverbal complete
relationship with an animal that we were all very connected to was very magical.”
Robert Pattinson had a busy weekend. Not only did he
present at the Golden Globes alongside Olivia Wilde, he also returned to the "Water
for Elephants" set with costar Reese Witherspoon to put some finishing touches
on the film.
Director Francis Lawrence tweeted Thursday that they
were "just shooting a couple little additions and a surprise for the end!!! We're
almost done. Couldn't be happier." The shots that leaked to the web were from a
variety of scenes, so we're not sure what the "surprise" for the end could be
yet, but we can't wait to find out.
First up were a ton of photos of Rob, as Jacob Jankowski, and Reese, as Marlena,
with the circus elephant Rosie. They don't spend too much time looking at her,
though, and instead spend plenty of time lip-locked with their arms around each
other. Fortunately it looks like Marlena's husband, August, played by Christoph
Waltz, is nowhere in sight.
Some more pictures of another scene show Rob beaten and bruised walking around
with Reese, so that seems like another part of the film they had to work on. But
since Reese is in a different outfit than earlier, we can assume Rob has that
makeup on for a different reason than smooching with the animal trainer's wife.
Last but not least, there were some photos of Rob shooting scenes with his
character's children (probably the ones we heard about here). When he talked to
MTV News at the Golden Globes, Rob acknowledged the scene, saying, "I was just
doing some additional stuff for 'Water for Elephants,' and there were loads of
kids ... I've always got a baby." We're guessing that "surprise" at the end is
probably a little something from this re-shoot. Rob did assure us that the film
is still set for its April 22 release date.
The How Do You Knowactress — who already has two
children, Ava, 11 and seven-year-old Deacon with her ex husband Ryan Phillippe —
says she would be “lucky” to have a family with fiance Jim Toth.
“Oh sure, I would be lucky to have more kids,” she said. “When it starts out
it’s physically exhausting, and then it becomes very emotional. It’s been really
fascinating. I’ve felt lucky to be able to guide them through life.”
The 34-year-old beauty split from Ryan in 2006 but insists dating as a single
mother wasn’t difficult as it showed the men who were interested in pursuing a
relationship with her would be willing to embrace family life.
“In some ways, it’s really good, because if somebody’s not interested in having
a family, they don’t want to go out with you in the first place. It kind of
weeds out the guys who aren’t serious,” she said.
Reese also admitted she thinks it is unlikely she would have embarked on a
relationship with someone not involved in the movie industry, but says her
romance with Hollywood agent Jim is “comfortable” because they have different
“What I’m finding out is that it’s very comfortable to be with somebody who
understands my career, but doesn’t do what I do,” she said.
“I think it’d be harder to meet someone outside of what we do. It’s a one-industry
town, and those are the people you meet.”
Robert Pattinson looked extra hot taking care of a
few reshoots on the set of Water for Elephants in LA yesterday. He and Reese
Witherspoon were both back in character to film the “surprise” director Francis
Lawrence twittered was in store for fans. The break from Breaking Dawn is
perfectly timed for Rob, who is also a presenter at tomorrow’s Golden Globe
Awards. Robert and Reese’s onscreen steaminess oozes out of every new image from
the movie, and we were also recently treated to his real life chemistry with
Kristen Stewart during the People’s Choice show. Robert and his Twilight cast
aren’t up for anything this weekend, though the early buzz about his turn in
this highly anticipated drama is amazing and he’s lining up even more high
profile projects. This peek at his sexy chest is fantastic as well, but we’re so
excited to see him join the ranks of iconic Globes pictures all suited up on
The same day, Reese’s fiance, Jim Toth, was spotted
spending some time with her son Deacon at the Brentwood Country Mart.
Reese spotted out and about in Beverly
Hills, CA. Before crossing the street, the 34-year-old actress gave a homeless
man in a wheelchair some money when he approached her. Michelle Williams
recently shared that Reese gave her some advice during a difficult time.
“[Reese] said, ‘Yes, I understand, but think about how much more difficult this
would be without the luxury of a reliable, steady income,’” Michelle told Marie
Reese is all smiles as she waits for her car by the
valet outside the Giorgio Armani store on Tuesday (January 4) in Beverly Hills,
The 34-year-old actress got engaged to her boyfriend, Hollywood agent Jim Toth,
last week after dating for almost a year.
Reese was wearing her engagement ring, which she showed off to a pal.
A beaming Reese and her fiancé Jim Toth leave the Lakers game in LA. Reese´s new
engagement ring could be seen sparking on her ring finger! The LA Lakers won
their game against the Detroit Pistons, 108-83, at the Staples Centre.
Reese Witherspoon's representative has dismissed reports the actress is
expecting a baby with fiancé Jim Toth.
The Legally Blonde star, who began dating Toth at the beginning of 2010 shortly
after her split from Jake Gyllenhaal, announced last month she is set to walk
down the aisle with the showbiz agent.
Subsequent U.S. reports suggested Witherspoon is also pregnant, but the actress'
spokesperson has shot down the claims, telling GossipCop.com the story is "not
at all true".
It doesn’t look like there’s too much bad blood between exes Ryan Phillippe and
Reese Witherspoon. Upon finding out his ex-wife is engaged to Hollywood agent
Jim Toth, Ryan immediately congratulated the happy couple. “I am very happy for
both Reese and Jim. I wish nothing but the best of the mother of my children,”
Looks like Ryan is finally trying to bury the hatchet after the golden couple’s
2007 divorce, with the 36-year-old actor revealing that he is trying to be a
better person after everything that went on. “I still have sadness and
complicated feelings about my divorce. But how beneficial is it to keep hanging
onto those feelings? If someone lives through an accident, his aim is to become
better and healthy. My aim is always to progress – to make better decisions and
be a better father, a better boyfriend, a better husband if it happens again, a
better friend, a better actor,” he said.