Hollywood's Hot Pursuit of female action
REESE Witherspoon is in the driver's seat of her own career.
After her Oscar-nominated role in last year's acclaimed film Wild, the mother-of-three is again doubling up as the star and producer of her latest film, Hot Pursuit.
The 39-year-old stars opposite Latin beauty and funny woman Sofia Vergara, of Modern Family fame, in the comedy.
Witherspoon plays a straight-laced cop who is forced to drive across the US state of Texas with the vivacious widow of a drug lord.
In this Q&A, Witherspoon discusses working with Vergara and what it takes to be a successful woman in Hollywood.
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Q: Why did you want to make this film with Sofia?
A: I was such a huge fan of Sofia's on Modern Family. My family watches it every Wednesday night on ABC. I was thinking about making a buddy movie, and I thought it would be really funny to make one with her. So I set up a meeting at a hotel lobby, and, literally, she walked in and every man stopped what he was doing and just stared at her the entire time she walked through the lobby. It was like being in a hair-care commercial. She sat down, and was just as lovely and charming as I thought she would be, thank goodness. We just started talking about movies, and this was the one we both decided would be the funniest idea.
Q: You've played a lot of Type A characters like this role and Tracy Flick in Election. What's the trick to playing characters like these?
A: I guess I just have it in me. And I just enhance it and make it even bigger and more annoying. And people seem to really enjoy laughing at me. I also like to find the heart of a person like that. I loved Officer Cooper. She's a little nerd. She has no female friends. She has no friends, and she's kind of a wreck. So when she meets Sofia's character, she's like 'That's my first friend'.
Q: Was it a deliberate choice to have two female leads in a film that's not about finding a man?
A: Yes, I think. We had the idea to make a movie that wasn't about romantic involvement. It wasn't about chasing men. And as soon as you strip that element away, you actually get to dig deeper into the female characters. So I think it's great.
Q: As a successful woman in entertainment, what would you say to younger women who are trying to get into the industry?
A: I think the hardest part, first of all, is just to get your foot in the door, if you're a writer or a director. The most important thing is to try everything you possibly can to just start working because the more time you have on set and time learning what developing scripts and movies is like (the better). It's incumbent on us to hire interns and have people standing next to us learning how to direct, learning how to write stories and develop them. That practical experience is the best way to learn, I think. So, I would say it's important to get those opportunities and work hard.
Hot Pursuit opens nationally on Thursday.
Stars: Sofia Vergara, Reese Witherspoon, Matthew Del Negro.
Director: Anne Fletcher
Reviewer's last word: An uptight cop (Reese Witherspoon) tries to protect the sexy widow (Sofia Vergara) of a drug boss on a road trip through Texas. While these two leading ladies of Hollywood have an Odd Couple-like chemistry, it's not enough to save an unfunny script.
Star profile: Sofia Vergara
Quirky fact: She studied pre-dentistry at a Colombian university for three years before she was discovered by a photographer, which led to modelling and television work.
Best known for: Modern Family, Chef, Happy Feet Two.
If you like this movie you'll like these: The Heat, Pitch Perfect, The Identity Thief.
Quote: My father told me if I did anything artistic, I would look like a hooker. I told him, "With these huge boobs that I inherited from your mother, I already look like a hooker."