Five Movies That Have Been Produced by Reese Witherspoon

Independent Spirit Awards

Reese Witherspoon, best known for her roles in the Legally Blonde films Sweet Home Alabama, and Walk the Line, has been acting for more than 20 years.  She made her on-screen debut in the 1991 film The Man on the Moon, and has landed a film role almost every single year since. However,  in an effort to gain more creative control over her acting roles, Witherspoon decided to embark on a career as a producer. To date, Witherspoon has produced seven films over the course her career, several of which she appeared in as well.  Witherspoon says that her decision to go into producing was a result of the realization “that scripts were not that great, particularly for women.”  Witherspoon continued, ““A couple of years ago I started looking at the scripts that were coming in, just through the normal Hollywood pipeline, and I was sort of dissatisfied with the parts for women, and I thought, if I don’t get busy trying to produce things – for myself, for other women – who’s gonna do it?”

Throughout producing career, Witherspoon has fought for strong female leads so that young women, such as Witherspoon’s own teenage daughter, will have strong characters to look up to.  So far, it seems that Witherspoon has been successful as all of the films she has produced include women who are smart, independent, and interesting.  Here are five films that have been produced by Reese Witherspoon.

 5.  Don’t Mess with Texas

Slated to be released in May 2015, Don’t Mess with Texas is an action-comedy film which stars Witherspoon alongside Modern Family’s Sofia Vergara.  In the film Witherspoon plays a police officer who strikes up an unlikely relationship with a prisoner’s wife (Vergara).  Don’t Mess with Texas marks Witherspoon’s seventh producing credit and also marks a return to her home state of Louisiana where the film was shot.

4. Wild

Wild, which features Witherspoon as both an actress and producer, premiered at the Telluride Film Festival in the summer of 2014.  Witherspoon and her production partner, Bruna Papandrea fell in love with the movie after reading its script and were determined to help create a film that aligned with both of their desire to promote strong female characters.  The film is based on the memoir  Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed which follows Strayed as she hikes more than a thousand miles alone across the Pacific Crest Trail.  During an interview, Witherspoon discussed what it was like to shoot the film and stated: “By far, this is the hardest movie I’ve ever made in my life. I didn’t hike a thousand miles, of course, but it was a different kind of physical rigor. I’d run up a hill with a 45-pound backpack on, and they’d say, ‘Wait, that backpack doesn’t look heavy enough. Put this 65-pound backpack on and run up the hill nine or ten times.’ We literally didn’t stop shooting in those remote locations — we wouldn’t break for lunch, we’d just eat snacks. No bathroom breaks. It was crazy, but it was so wonderful. It was complete immersion, and I’ve never felt closer to a crew. We literally pulled each other up the mountains and carried each others’ equipment.”  The film received generally positive reviews and critics were impressed with Witherspoon’s work. Variety Magazine’s Justin Chang even said Wild “represents easily her most affecting and substantial work in the nine years since Walk the Line.”

3. Penelope

The 2006 film, Penelope, is Witherspoon’s first film in which Witherspoon was both a producer and an actress.  The film stars James McAvoy and Christina Ricci as the  film’s title character who suffers from pig-face disorder.  During her infancy, Penelope’s parents are forced to fake her death after news reporters begin harassing the family for photos of her face. When Penelope reaches adulthood, her parents hope to find her a husband ; however, all men that see her are instantly scared away when they see her face.  After leaving Penelope’s house, Humphrey Vanderman,  a potential suitor who has been frightened by her face decides to devise a plan to expose her.  Vanderman teams up with a journalist to expose Penelope.  However, their plan backfires and Penelope’s curse is eventually lifted after she decides to truly love herself.

2. Legally Blonde 2: Red, White, and Blonde

Witherspoon reprised her role as Elle Woods in the sequel of  the 2001 film, Legally Blonde. As part of her role as the film’s executive producer, Witherspoon helped develop the script in which Elle leaves Boston and attempts to find Bruiser, her dog’s, mother.  However, she quickly discovers that Bruiser’s mother is being in a makeup testing laboratory.  She eventually uses her legal expertise to get Bruiser’s mother released from the facility.

1. Gone Girl

The 2014 hit film, Gone Girl, based on the novel of the same name features Witherspoon as one of its producers.  The movie’s manuscript was brought to Witherspoon’s attention by another producer, Leslie Dixon, and together they helped to continue the manuscript’s development.  Initially, Witherspoon hoped to have a role in the film as well; but, the female lead was given to Rosamund Pike.  However, Witherspoon that she isn’t the best fit for every role and notes that “Ego is the death of creativity…The most important thing is to get the right person for the role” Other than Pike, Gone Girl also stars Ben Affleck, Neil Patrick Harris, and Tyler Perry as the film follows Nick Dunne (Affleck) as he attempts to find out what happened to his missing wife.

 (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)

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