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Although known mostly for her comedic turns, Reese Witherspoon appears set to continue stepping outside her comfort zone. After recent dramatic success, she will jump headlong into even less familiar territory: the thriller.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Lionsgate has purchased Cold – "a dark thriller with supernatural elements" – based on a pitch by writer Bill Marsili. In addition to headlining the film, Witherspoon will once again team up with Bruna Papandrea as producers under through their company: Pacific Standard Films. Practically nothing else is known about the project, but what little we known speaks to the evolution of Reese Witherspoon’s career.
As for Ms. Witherspoon, considering her long career in Hollywood, Cold will really serve as one of the few thrillers she has ever taken part in. She had a major role in 2000’s American Psycho, but all of her scenes served the darkly comedic side of that film. She also appeared in the under-appreciated Fear in 1996, but has shown a strong inclination towards comedy. A thriller really does represent fresh territory for her, and the supernatural elements serve to make Cold stand out against the rest of her filmography, which showcases more grounded movies.
Despite achieving most of her critical success in dramatic roles – she earned an Oscar for her role in Walk the Line, and a second nomination for Wild – Witherspoon has mostly made a name for herself as a darling of the comedy genre. Her early performances Legally Blonde, and Election proved her comedic chops, and in recent years she has returned to the genre with less than stellar results in the forgettable This Means War. Throughout it all, however, Witherspoon’s roles – even ones that emphasized her femininity and diminutive stature – have always allowed her to maintain a dominant strength of character that not every actress gets to express in Hollywood.
As a producer, she uses her boutique production company Pacific Standard Films primarily as a platform to develop content tailored for women. The company has already played a critical part in the adaptations of Gone Girl – which also garnered an Academy Award nomination for lead actress Rosamund Pike – and Wild. Pacific Standard does not seem to limit itself with regards to genre, as they also produced the recent buddy comedy Hot Pursuit with Witherspoon and Sofia Vergara – a genre that has traditionally seen domination by male duos.
They show no signs of stopping, with numerous upcoming projects including: Luckiest Girl Alive, Ashley’s War, and Tink. Not content with the silver screen, Witherspoon will also co-star with Nicole Kidman in an HBO limited series titled Big Little Lies. In front of the camera, recently lauded performances in Mud and Wild may have served as a signal to Witherspoon that she has found a new home taking on dramatic, empowered roles that can inspire women.