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There’s been a long-held double standard in Hollywood. Male actors are often sought out for roles into their twilight years, while for many female actresses, the phone tends to stop ringing as early as in their thirties. It’s an unfortunate trend that often stems from filmmakers not knowing what to write for middle-aged and older talents. But Reese Witherspoon has been proactive with dispelling this fate for her own career, and the results have been through the roof.
One of the employees on the team of the Legally Blonde actress once “broke the news” to her that her fame would have an expiration date. As Reese Witherspoon recalled:
I’ll never forget, I had a financial advisor tell me, ‘You need to start saving,’ I was like 37, and he said, ‘You need to start saving right now, because you’re going to be making drastically less money in your 40s. Basically, you’re not going to have much of a career. And he’s apologizing, but not really. ‘I’m sorry to tell you, but somebody has to be honest with you.’ I’ll never forget it. I’ll never forget! It put me in a panic state.
The nerve! Reese Witherspoon has been working in Hollywood since she was 14 years old and must have seen it all. From sexism to ageism, the actress has taken the overwhelming quality Hollywood often emotes in strides by building her own empire as an incredibly successful producer and also establishing a clothing company. Here’s what happened to the financial advisor after his comment, per Witherspoon’s words to LA Times:
Oh, I fired him. I don’t need that kind of ... I believe in abundance. I believe creativity is endless.
Reese Witherspoon is living proof this Hollywood idea can be disproved. In the last year alone, the 44-year-old has starred in and executive produced Big Little Lies, Apple TV+’s debut hit The Morning Show and Little Fires Everywhere for Hulu. The actress is gearing up to reprise her role as Elle Woods almost twenty years later for Legally Blonde 3, from a script by Mindy Kaling and Brooklyn 99’s Dan Goor.
The actress admits she doesn’t regularly receive calls about roles for her to take. She and her collaborators, including Jennifer Aniston, Nicole Kidman and Kerry Washington, have to create their opportunities by generating ideas and producing for each other. Witherspoon has also taken it upon herself to try to make the industry a more positive place for women today and combat the disparities.
Reese Witherspoon has worked closely with adapting the written work of female novelists such as Liane Moriarty on multiple occasions, including with the upcoming project Truly Madly Guilty. She has been producing since 2003 with Legally Blonde 2, and notably scored herself and Laura Dern Oscar nominations for their work in 2014’s Wild, which she also produced.
Going forward, Reese Witherspoon’s strides in Hollywood certainly have changed the game and showed an actress doesn’t have to have a shelf life. Take that! Stay tuned here on CinemaBlend for more behind-the-scenes Hollywood stories.