Hollywood Bulletin: Mom Mode

Published March 28, 2020, 2:51 AM

by Manila Bulletin Entertainment

Los Angeles — Petite and charming actress Reese Witherspoon is everywhere. Aside from being involved in films, Reese has her hands full in television. Currently, she stars and serves as executive producer in Hulu’s drama miniseries “Little Fires Everywhere.”

So when was the last time she had to figuratively put out fires, we asked.

Reese replied that as a producer and as a mother, she is always putting out fires. “I have three kids and I have the puppy too. So, the puppy is always causing chaos around my house,” she joked.

Her children are Ava Elizabeth Phillippe, 20, and Deacon Reese Phillippe, 16, her children with ex-husband actor Ryan Phillippe; and Tennessee James Toth, 7, her son with husband-talent agent Jim Toth.

One of Forbes’ 100 Most Powerful Women in the World in 2019, and one of #TimesUp movement’s supporters, Reese pointed out that the show and the book of which it is based on is “a lot about motherhood and that there’s different kinds of mothering and that sometimes you find your mother in another woman, in another family. A lot of people have this feeling that they are born into a family that they don’t belong in. And that we are mentored and mothered by many different people along your life.”

So in her life’s journey, who has been acting as a mother to her apart from her own mother?



“I had a publicist for many years in Nancy Ryder who was very much like a mother to me. And now I’m going to cry. Unfortunately, she has ALS and she can’t speak anymore. But I really valued those times that we spoke a lot. She really mothered me, she cared for me in a world that my mother didn’t understand, which was this busy Hollywood experience. And she was wonderful,” she shared.

On playing mothers onscreen, Reese confessed how it was taboo for her to do it during her earlier years in the industry.

“The emergence of all these platforms opens the doors to new storytelling,” she told us. ”I was told not to play a mom, that it would age me. But I was like, I have kids. I remember having long conversations with people about it, no don’t do that, don’t do that. But there was such a limited scope of what we were allowed to play in movies anyway. So, it was like oh, you are going to reduce the amount of parts you are going to get. You felt that scarcity, it was a real feeling. So, you would comply because you thought you would lose work over it. But now it’s so liberating.”

Was that advice from agents and managers and does she think it is still widespread these days?

“I don’t know,” she replied. “It was definitely advice from people who were advising me on my career, and I don’t know what they tell people nowadays, I have no idea.

She added, “But I was around 35 years old when everybody was like don’t play a mom, don’t do that. And it felt odd to me.”

Did it make her want to have her own kids?

“I already had kids,” she recalled. “By the time I was 36, I had three kids. So it wasn’t like, my real wasn’t reflecting any person I was playing on film. And that maybe, it was a real fallow period for me as an artist really, I couldn’t figure out what I wanted to do, what I wanted to say, there wasn’t a lot of opportunity to make movies. I would go to studios and they would say well we are making one movie with a woman this year and we have already made it. I am not kidding.”

She continued, “I was a white woman and those opportunities were very limited. And that’s why I started my own company that I funded myself because I said this institution wasn’t made to include me. So I have to build something outside of it, in order to tell stories I wanted to tell and encourage other people to tell the stories that I wanted to tell, because they do not exist under the umbrella of one particular studio. There’s just not a breadth of storytelling there.”