‘It Had All These Boob Jokes In It’: Reese Witherspoon Gets Real About The Script That Led Her To Push For Making Movies For Women And About Women

 Reese Witherspoon in The Morning Show's Season 3 finale.
Reese Witherspoon in The Morning Show's Season 3 finale.

For decades now, Reese Witherspoon's movies have delighted audiences, as the star has truly shined in a plethora of productions. From playing roles like the iconic lawyer-in-training Elle Woods in Legally Blonde to Evelyn and the shallow and self-obsessed girlfriend of Christian Bale’s Patrick Bateman in American Psycho, she’s proven her amazing range and has captivated in a variety of parts that show off different female perspectives. More recently though, she's stepped behind the camera as a producer, helping to create a multitude of shows and films that center around women and are made by women. And she recently explained that she was partially pushed to do this after reading a certain script.

While speaking on The Bright Side podcast, the powerhouse producer and actress didn’t shy away from explaining that there were “less and less opportunities” for women to have lead roles in nuanced production. She mentioned that the parts that were available didn’t focus on “the full spectrum of what women’s lives were” and that the scripts she would read were just plain offensive at times. While discussing this period in her career, she referenced a screenplay that left a bad taste in her mouth and, as she recalled, "it had all these boob jokes in it":

I just thought, ‘Something has got to be better.’ I read this one script that was so bad and so offensive and it had two female leads kind of fighting over the same guy. And the guy was kind of a goofball. I thought, ‘this is so bad,’ and it had all these boob jokes in it. I was like, ‘That’s not funny.’ And I called my agent and they were like, ‘Every woman in Hollywood wants these two parts.’ I thought, ‘This isn’t good. This isn’t good enough for me, and it’s not good enough for my colleagues – the other women I’m so close with.’ But also, this is not something I want my daughter to see. That was a big thing for me too.

In the movie industry, I'd imagine that it’s tough to take a stand against anything that needs to change. So the Oscar winner has my full respect for standing up for herself and her peers! She didn’t just stop there, though, as she went right into detective mode and started digging and questioning studios to find out how they were handling the gender gap. And, unfortunately, she found there was a lot of room for improvement. As she put it:

It wasn’t just that the scripts were bad. If you go look at a problem, right, you have to go back to the root. Why does that problem keep happening? So for me that was like, ‘OK, now I need to do research. Why are these the best that Hollywood has to offer?’ So I went around to each studio and I started to meet with executives and said, ‘What are you developing with a female lead? All of the studios except for one said, ‘We’re not developing anything.

While that's extremely discouraging, their loss became her gain. Reese Witherspoon has since created Hello Sunshine, a production company that’s focused on empowering women and using their stories to inspire others to reimagine the world through female-driven books, shows, movies and podcasts. Initially, there were a few bumps in the road, and her company was barely hanging on. But, with her resilience and dedication to provide a brighter future for women, the brand has soared, and was even recently sold for a whopping $900 million.

And that success is all thanks to the award-winner and her team for bringing fresh, powerful stories to life. She’s teamed up with other stars like Jennifer Anniston and Nicole Kidman to explore bigger themes and discuss sensitive topics in the hit shows The Morning Show and Big Little Lies. Her company also helped produce the book-to-screen miniseries, Daisy Jones & The Six, which is about not accepting less than what you deserve. As far as one can tell, the A-lister will continue to deliver such great female-centric fare for the small and big screens. And I highly doubt any will feature any excessive boob jokes.

It’s unclear if Reese Witherspoon will appear in any films amid the 2024 movie schedule. But we can look forward to her starring in a movie called You’re Cordially Invited as well as an upcoming TV show called Tiny Trailblazers, and she serves as a producer on both. Legally Blonde 3 has also been in development for years, with Mindy Kaling and Dave Goor having signed up to write the script. Regardless of what's on her plate, I'm excited to see what Witherspoon and her colleagues drop next.