Reese Witherspoon returns to rom-com in Home Again
US actress Reese Witherspoon on how she relates to her role in new rom-com
When it comes to her roller-coaster personal life, Reese Witherspoon has been there, done that.
The Oscar-winning US actress said: "I have been married, I have been divorced, I have been a single mum, I have been dating, and I have been married again, and I have been a mum again. Now, I have a toddler and teenagers."
At the Four Seasons hotel in Beverly Hills, Witherspoon is talking about her role in the new rom-com Home Again and how she can relate to it.
She has two children - Ava, 18, and Deacon, 14 - with her ex-husband, US actor Ryan Phillippe, as well as five-year-old son Tennessee with her current husband, US talent agent Jim Toth.
At 41, Witherspoon is as youthful and perky as ever, dressed in a black and white patterned dress from Draper James, the fashion and lifestyle brand she launched in 2015.
In Home Again's opening scene, her character Alice Kinney is ugly-crying in front of the bathroom mirror on her 40th birthday.
She has just separated from her estranged husband (Michael Sheen) and moved back to her mother's (Candice Bergen) place with her two daughters.
But Alice's problems are solved when three hot young film-makers (Pico Alexander, Nat Wolff and Jon Rudnitsky) begin to stay at the guest house and bond at once with her kids and her mum, creating a new Insta-family.
She even starts dating one of the young men - till the hubby returns, wanting her back.
Home Again, which opens here tomorrow, is written and directed by Hallie Meyers-Shyer and produced by her writer-director mum Nancy Meyers, who helmed genre classics such as What Women Want, Something's Gotta Give and It's Complicated.
What was the thinking behind the central romance?
It is interesting to explore that dynamic. I see a lot of older men with younger women on film, and we don't even talk about it. I see a lot of men that I have worked with, and they are with younger and younger women.
I have dated younger men in my life. I think there is a lot to be learnt from relationships and how you connect. I am not sure a man would have thought of this idea for a movie.
And if he had, maybe it would be a different kind of movie. I think what is very valid is that you need to see other people's perspectives.
There wasn't a moment where the younger man said, "I think you are too old for me." He never says it. But it is something that we think because society projects that idea on us.
But if you start seeing things through a different perspective, the conversation changes.
The tagline of Home Again is "Starting Over Is Not for Beginners". Do you agree that it is hard?
Certainly, for anybody who is in their mid-life and deciding to start over, whether they are in a divorce or they are breaking up in a relationship or starting a new job.
I think people live these long lives and have many chapters. I have certainly been many different people before I turned 40. This talks about the human experience of being at the crossroads and which life you want to live, which I think a lot of people are thinking about.
When you are in your 20s, you think you know everything. And then you get a little older and you realise that you know nothing. Now I am old enough to know that I know nothing.
What does your home look like?
My house is a mess. I walked into this house on set and said, "Nancy, where are all the kids' toys and all the crap?" And she was like, 'No, this is a movie, we are not going to have kids' crap everywhere". (Laughs)
I have three dogs, three children, and it is just chaos in my house. Full sports equipment, make-up and hair, and dresses everywhere, and my daughter loves fashion. But it is fun, it is happy chaos, a happy mess.
You've produced films such as Wild, Gone Girl and Hot Pursuit as well as the TV drama Big Little Lies under your production company Pacific Standard. Why did you start making a change in your career?
About five years ago, I got a script that was probably the worst I have ever read. I called my agent, and I said that this is just terrible, I don't want to do this movie.
And he said, every actress in Hollywood wants this part. And that just lit a fire under me. I said, this isn't good enough for these actresses who have worked all their lives.
If you see women whom you respect and admire acting stupid and doing bad parts, that is just not inspiring. So I set out with a goal to create better roles for women, more opportunities for female directors and female screenwriters, and it has been a great thing.
And it is hard. I self-funded a company for five years, but it feels like the next chapter of my life and what I am supposed to be doing.