Reese Witherspoon and Alexander Payne: A Starry, Starry Night in Chicago
It was certainly a starry night in Chicago on June 23 when three major cinematic forces came together for a brilliant evening of food and film. Nestled in the back of the Ritz Carlton, Academy Award-winning director and screenwriter Alexander Payne moderated an intimate post-dinner Q&A with Academy Award-winning actress Reese Witherspoon at the annual Gene Siskel Film Center benefit, which also honored Ms. Witherspoon with the Gene Siskel Film Center’s Renaissance Award.
While Witherspoon and Payne are clearly powerhouses of modern cinema, The Gene Siskel Film Center of the School of the Art Institute has been a guiding light of film programming for 40 years, “presenting independent and international cinema, film festivals, cutting edge programs, premieres, retrospectives and classic films. Recognized internationally for its original film programming, the Film Center annually presents approximately 1,500 screenings and 100 guest artist appearances to more than 80,000 film enthusiasts.” Proceeds from the benefit will support the Gene Siskel Film Center’s programs, including lecture series and discussions with visiting scholars and filmmakers.
Early in the evening, current programming director of the Gene Siskel Film Center, Barbara Scharres, was highlighted for her tremendous accomplishments in eclectic, meaningful and visionary programming. Later, Robert Downey Jr. and Gwyneth Paltrow congratulated Reese in a playful video that played before a packed room of Gene Siskel Film Center supporters. The evening concluded with the president of the School of the Art Institute, Walter Massey, and Chairman of the GSFC Advisory Board, Ellen Sandor, presenting Ms. Witherspoon with the Renaissance Award.
I’ve now finished going through the Legally Blonde 2: Red, White & Blonde DVD extras and added screencaptures from all the featurettes – and there were a lot of them! The DVD is packed full of goodies, including featurettes on hair and clothes, a gag reel, several deleted scenes and more. They feature a lot of clips from the film rather than backstage footage or interviews with Reese, but it’s heaven for any LB2 fan.
Check out all the screencaptures in our Gallery…
In a whopping summer auction that reached seven figures, 20th Century Fox acquired Gone Girl, the Gillian Flynn novel that was just published by Crown and is atop The New York Times Bestseller List for the second week in a row. The book will be produced by Pacific Standard’s Reese Witherspoon and Bruna Papandrea, along with Leslie Dixon. Flynn will write the screenplay. Other studios including Universal were in on the action and I think the Fifty Shades Of Grey action has elevated interest in bestsellers geared to female readers.
A woman disappears on the day of her fifth anniversary and all roads point to her husband as the killer. Flynn, who has three novels on the bestseller lists all at once, has two other movie projects in the works. Dark Places has Amy Adams attached to star, with Gilled Paquet-Brenner directing and her first novel, Sharp Objects, was optioned by Alliance with Blumhouse’s Jason Blum producing. Fox’s New York office, headed by Drew Reed, was all over this book. Reed and Chris Goldberg teamed with Peter Kang to bring it in. It was sold by Smiley Group’s Shari Smiley, the former longtime CAA agent who teamed with Stephanie Rostan of Levine/Greenberg Literary Agency. Smiley also sold the screen rights to the Cheryl Strayed book Wild, which currently sits atop the Non Fiction bestseller list. Pacific Standard bought it, with The Kids Are All Right’s Lisa Cholodenko adapting to direct.
Upon a Reese photo search the other week I came across a brand new-but-old photoshoot taken in 2002 that I had never seen before. Reese was photographed in late September 2002 in Los Angeles for it, in the midst of her promotion for Sweet Home Alabama.
I’ve also added a couple of additional photos from Reese’s shoots for Vanity Fair in 1998, plus her 1993 US Weekly photoshoot has been replaced with HQs, courtesey of Renee.
Reese news is slow and I was looking for something quick to update the site with today, so I thought I’d add a few screencaptures from Reese’s two guest appearances on animated TV shows. I know a couple of you have expressed interest in screencaps from animated works, so I hope you’ll enjoy these caps from The Simpsons and King Of The Hill too. She was super cute on The Simpsons, but didn’t really do much on King Of The Hill, although it was a different kind of character for her (if you can call it that, as she barely spoke).
‘Real’ Reese gallery additions coming next!
I’ve added additional HQ photos from the first two days of Devil’s Knot filming that we had pictures from.
Reese has been snapped at work on the film again since then, although unfortuntely we are unable to post the photos here So instead I have some links for you: see Reese on set of Devil’s Knot on June 30th here, here and here; and on the set on July 2nd here, here and here. SocialiteLife have some pics from both days here.
“Being pregnant, I hope I don’t get too emotional taking a walk down memory lane,” said Academy Award-winning actress Reese Witherspoon before her Q-and-A and film retrospective June 23 at the Ritz-Carlton Chicago for an event benefiting the Gene Siskel Film Center. Witherspoon was in town to receive the Renaissance Award, following in the footsteps of honorees who include George Lucas, Jamie Foxx,Robert Downey Jr. and Nicole Kidman.
Jean de St. Aubin, executive director of the film center, introduced two-time Oscar-winning director Alexander Payne, who directed Witherspoon in “Election.” He interviewed her in a lively segment that also showed film clips from her career, including “Walk the Line,” the film for which she won a best actress Oscar.
“It’s difficult for a woman to be able to do both comedy and drama. It’s a privilege to be able to do both,” Witherspoon said. The actress is currently filming “Devil’s Knot” with Colin Firth in Atlanta. After filming is concluded, she plans on taking time off to have her baby.
Marlene Iglitzen, Gene Siskel’s widow, attended the fundraiser with her three children, Kate, Callie and Will. “Not a day goes by that I don’t think of him. He would be so proud to see all of these people here tonight.” Other attendees included Marc Klutznick (co-chair), Anita Liskey (co-chair), Camille Cook (film center founder), Shirley and Dr. Walter Massey (president of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago), Dusty and Alex Stemer, and Diana Palomar.
The more than $340,000 raised will support programming at the film center.
“True Blood” star Stephen Moyer has joined the cast of Atom Egoyan’s Devil’s Knot, Deadline reports. He joins Reese Witherspoon, Colin Firth, Alessandro Nivola, Kris Polaha, Collette Wolfe, Justin Castor and Kevin Durand in the narrative take on the West Memphis Three.
Released from prison earlier this year after nearly two decades, Damien Echols, Jessie Misskelley, Jr. and Jason Baldwin were convicted of the murder of three eight-year-old boys in 1993. Their trial was the subject of the Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky documentary, Paradise Lost that brought national media attention to the trial and its outcome.
Egoyan (The Sweet Hereafter, Chloe) is basing his take off the book “Devil’s Knot: The True Story of the West Memphis Three” by Mara Leveritt.
In the narrative version, Witherspoon will play Pam Hobbs, the mother of one of the original victims while Firth will star as Ron Lax, a private investigator called in for the case. Moyer will play prosecutor John Fogelman.
I am back with more film screencaptures for you, and today you have over 1,000 full HD screencaptures from Legally Blonde 2: Red, White & Blonde! As I said, they are full HD, so are really good quality, and so beautiful! Big thanks to our capping queen Maria for these. I will admit that this is not one of my favourite Reese films – I think they completely lost who the character of Elle really was and the smart feel the first film had – but she looks so pretty in the film.
Enjoy the pretty-ness…!
Reese is now in Atlanta, and has been filming her first scenes for Devil’s Knot! She was spotted on set on Monday and Tuesday of this week, and I’m pretty sure the guy with her on June 25th is Alessandro Nivola, who will be playing her husband. Interestingly, in a new interview director Atom Egoyan said his film will focus on the mother of one of the victims – that’s Reese’s character Pam Hobbs – and the private investigator for the suspects’ defense team (Colin Firth), so it sounds like Reese’s part will be big.
Check out the first photos from the set in our Gallery, and scroll on down this post for that interview with Egoyam plus a snippet about Reese’s time in Atlanta so far.
‘Devil’s Knot’ Adds Duo To Cast
June 25th 2012
Robert Baker and Brian Howe are the latest additions to the cast of Devil’s Knot. The duo joins Colin Firth, Reese Witherspoon and Alessandro Nivola in the Atom Egoyan-directed film about the wrongly accused and imprisoned West Memphis 3. Best known as Grey’s Anatomy’s Dr. Charles Percy, Baker will play Detective Bryan Ridge, one of the first on the scene of the triple homicide at the heart of the case. Baker, who also appeared in Leatherheads with George Clooney, will be seen in Disney’s upcoming The Lone Ranger. Howe, who was in Gran Torino, plays Detective McDonough, a California cop who gets partially drawn into the case while chasing down a lead. Matt Letscher, The Ringer regular Kris Polaha, Collette Wolfe, The Secret Life Of The American Teenager’s Kristopher Higgins and The Killing’s Mireille Enos also are in the film. Egoyan is working with Paul Boardman on a rewrite of the script. The film is based on the 2003 book Devil’s Knot: The True Story Of The West Memphis Three by investigative reporter Mara Leveritt. Baker is repped by The Kohner Agency and KLWGN Entertainment. Howe also is repped by Kohner.
The previously announced ‘An Evening With Reese Witherspoon Hosted By The Gene Siskel Film Center’ took place in Chicago last night, and Reese accepted her award looking chic in a little navy blue dress. Election director Alexander Payne presented the award to her, and Reese told reporters before that he “was a big champion for me early on, and said, ‘That’s the girl I want in my movie,’ so I’ve always had a soft spot in my heart for him. And we’ve subsequently become very close friends.”
Reese gave an interview to the Chicago Sun Times for the event, and you can read that below. Over 50 photos from this event – most of which are HQ – have been added to our Gallery for you!
Congratulations to Reese on this wonderful honour!