Reese Witherspoon   View more episodes

Aired at 07:00 AM on Thursday, Aug 27, 2009 (8/27/2009)      View all transcripts from this day


00:00:03They were spotted, you know, sightseeing and holding hands, looking like a couple in love.
00:00:09She's hollywood's golden girl.
00:00:16" [captioning provided by comcast entertainment group] Man: And action.
00:00:35Reese witherspoon has appeared in more than 30 films, starting at the age of 7.
00:00:41In the process, she's become the highest-paid female actress of all time.
00:00:46She's hit bigger paychecks than women, you know, twice her age.
00:00:51And no one wants to argue the fact that she is receiving the money that she does, because I think we all feel that she deserves it.
00:00:59There's been a lot struggle.
00:01:01And I think the greatest part of the whole longevity in my career is that I've had a lot of experience and I've had a lot of failure.
00:01:08We all know what's gone on in her personal life.
00:01:11We know that she's been through it a little bit.
00:01:13We know that she'staken some knocks and that she'sstill standing.
00:01:17You know, sometimes I feel so overwhelmed in so many scenarios.
00:01:20I'm just a little girl from tennessee.
00:01:23I don't know how I got here.
00:01:26Laura jeanne reese witherspoon was born in new orleans on march 22, 1976.
00:01:32Shortly after her birth,her family moved to germany because her fatherwas in the military.
00:01:39After reese's dad fulfilled a tour of duty as a surgeon, the family moved to nashville, tennessee.
00:01:46Reese grew up in a very well-educated household.
00:01:49Growing up, her father was a doctor, her mom was a nurse.
00:01:52I always thought I would be a doctor 'cause I grew up around so much medical lingo, and that was dinner talk every night.
00:02:00But reese was also drawn to being in the spotlight.
00:02:06My earliest recollection of it is when I was 7 years old.
00:02:09And my neighbor down the street, her family owned a flower shop.
00:02:13And they were doing a local commercial and they asked me to be part of a little birthday scene.
00:02:17And, oh, I just thought it was the greatest thing that ever happened, so I asked my mom to sign me up for acting classes.
00:02:23As a young girl,she knew that she wanted to be a singeror an actress.
00:02:27And they said she wasalways a little dramatic, even then.
00:02:31She jokes thather childhood nickname " I think her parentsbestowed that upon her.
00:02:39When she was 12, witherspoon hooked up with a local talent agency.
00:02:43Her parentswere very supportive and brought her upto the agency, signed her upfor workshops and classes.
00:02:49There are kids that come in,and definitely you can tell that the parents haveencouraged them to come in versus the kidsbringing their parents in, and I think it wasdefinitely the case of reese.
00:02:59She got the headshots.
00:03:00She eventually started doing a few print ads, local things.
00:03:05Then reese heard about a film being shot locally.
00:03:09I was 14 and I saw an ad in the local newspaper, "the tennessean," about that they were looking for extras for a movie.
00:03:16And so I had my dad drive me down there and I stood in line with 300 other people.
00:03:21And I finally got to the front of the line and I said, "hi, I'm reese, and I wanna be " you have the right look.
00:03:29" the hometown girl impressed the director so much that he asked reese to audition for the lead.
00:03:36I think they knew immediately that she was the one.
00:03:41The fresh-faced actress got the part and made her feature debut as a tomboy " Reese: I got to work with this amazing director, robert mulligan, who had done "to kill a mockingbird," and he really guided me through that performance.
00:03:57It was just an amazing inaugural experience for any actor.
00:04:04I wanna know you.
00:04:06You do know me.
00:04:09I wanna know you more.
00:04:13I wanna know you all I can.
00:04:15Witherspoon's work caught the attention of a powerful hollywood agent.
00:04:20I had been givena screen test by a friend of minewho was a casting assistant.
00:04:25This phenomenal young girl, like a young jodie foster, just popped off the screen, and I thought, who the hell is this?
00:04:31Then two hollywood heavyweights called reese in " Cruz: She was flying over to audition WITH MARTIN SCORSESE AND robert DeNiro, and a fellow passenger was just raving about the actor and director.
00:04:45And reese was not nervous before, but was nervous after hearing that, and she blew the audition.
00:04:51Man: And action.
00:04:53Reese recovered quickly and booked a tv movie, " well, I met reesewhen she was 15, and I was doinga tv movie about a cancer patient.
00:05:04She finds out she has leukemia, and it's just kinda how she deals with it.
00:05:09And she really wants to hold the family together and everything.
00:05:12And the family is really torn about whether or not her half-brother should give her a bone marrow transplant or not.
00:05:19Come on.
00:05:20All right!
00:05:24The demanding role didn't interfere with reese's schoolwork.
00:05:28The tutor comes with us, and we have to get like three hours of school a day and everything.
00:05:33It's tough. you don't even know.
00:05:36It's tough but, you know, we're getting it done.
00:05:39We really got our stuff together.
00:05:41Reese is an academic, you know.
00:05:42And I think even at 15, she was somebody who could do 24 hours worth of work in about 18 hours.
00:05:49It's unbelievable, but, you know, I really do get it done.
00:05:53It's tough.
00:05:53I'm in a college prep school, so it's like chemistry and algebra.
00:05:57I'm gonna try and graduate next year.
00:06:00For the moment, the 16-year-old was able to balance acting and homework.
00:06:05But hollywood kept calling.
00:06:08And even while we were shooting our little tv movie, she was having lunch with steven spielberg and going off to these meetings.
00:06:13You knew then she was on her way to something else.
00:06:15She was incredibly precocious, incredibly bright, and you knew then.
00:06:20You knew there was this spark that she just was going to kick ass and take names.
00:06:28Coming up,prom night.
00:06:30And he wentand he grabbed my corsage boxwith my corsage in it, and vomited into it.
00:08:58van't history him.
00:08:59 my job is to give him everything he needs to succeed.
00:09:00Mom: that's why I go to walmart.
00:09:03 find all the brands those other stores have but for low walmart prices.
00:09:06Vo: like dell, hp and toshiba.
00:09:08Save money. live
00:09:29At 17, reese witherspoon was an acting veteran, but that didn't exclude her from regular high school activities.
00:09:38It was my junior prom and I was all dressed up, just decked out.
00:09:42Well, all of a sudden, my date said, " " " [ laughs ] and he went and he grabbed my corsage box with my corsage in it and vomited into it.
00:09:58Closed the box, threw it out the window.
00:10:01That was my junior prom.
00:10:05Luckily, reese's dating pool extended beyond nashville.
00:10:09She was linked to actors jeremy sisto and chris o'donnell.
00:10:13And witherspoon continued to work in hollywood.
00:10:16In 1994, she was cast opposite stephen dorff " there's no real messagein the movie.
00:10:26What is "s.f.w."?
00:10:26What does"so [bleep] what" mean?
00:10:28But reese thought the film did take a stand.
00:10:30" isn't as much about media exploitation as it is about children and their role models.
00:10:37The movie sends out a message that, you know, we gotta start picking better role models.
00:10:42The movie's low budget gave reese the freedom to take risks.
00:10:47You get to voice a lot more opinions and it doesn't have to go through 1,000 different studio heads before you can actually say something or say this line.
00:10:55You can just sorta try a lot of different things.
00:10:58That same year, witherspoon graduated from high school as a junior and went straight to stanford to study english lit.
00:11:05I live in the dorms. I hang out with everyone.
00:11:08You know, and I go to all the parties and everybody is just very nonchalant about it all.
00:11:13They've seen me in my sweats and on my bicycle, and it's just no big deal.
00:11:18They call and they're like, "oh, reese, oliver stone is on the phone.
00:11:21" I'm like, okay.
00:11:24The oscar-winning director was producing a controversial movie called "freeway" and wanted reese to play a tough-talking teenager.
00:11:32I was just like, yeah, what do you want?
00:11:34 I'll do the movie.
00:11:35If you don't want me to do the movie, I'm gone, all right?
00:11:38I've got other things to do.
00:11:39And that's the character.
00:11:41She lays down the law, and I think people admire that.
00:11:45I thought that she was spectacular.
00:11:47Without a doubt, the woman to play the role.
00:11:50She did it.
00:11:51She's demure, she's small.
00:11:52She looks like a southern belle, acts like one, but out of her mouth comes the toughest language.
00:11:57She doesn't flinch when she says it.
00:11:59She's a ballsy woman. she's hot.
00:12:03It was a really great chance to embody a character with-- she just has such moxie.
00:12:10It wasn't long before other mainstream directors took notice.
00:12:15I got a call from robert benton.
00:12:17He wanted me to do this film that he was doing called "twilight" with paul newman and susan sarandon and gene hackman.
00:12:24I kinda kept track of her,and when we were casting.
00:12:27And I needed an actorin this role of mel ames, who was able to standtoe-to-toe with paul newman and not get wiped offthe screen.
00:12:39Reese faced a tough decision.
00:12:40Taking the job meant she would have to go topless in one scene.
00:12:46Coming from the south, reese was brought upto be really polite and really respectfulof both everybody around herand of herself.
00:12:54So when she was asked to go topless for the movie "twilight," she was still really uncomfortable doing it.
00:12:59So what is it like to work with paul, gene, and susan?
00:13:02It was great. it was great.
00:13:04They were so kind to me and understanding of everything I was going through, and how nervous I would be.
00:13:09The risk paid off, and the 20-year-old earned the respect of her co-workers.
00:13:14We were shooting the last scene in the picture, and it is a quiet scene between reese and paul newman.
00:13:21And she was so simple in her work, so effortless in her work and so present in her work that it was thrilling to watch.
00:13:36If you're sharing a two-shot with paul newman and you can hold your own, then you have a gift.
00:13:44I mean, an amazing gift.
00:13:45I just feel privileged to be in their company, you know?
00:13:49It's great experience.
00:13:51Coming up,reese throws down.
00:13:53And I looked at himand I got so angry, and I just hauled offand hit him.
00:16:41At 19, reese witherspoon was a top student at stanford university.
00:16:45But after a few choice movie jobs, the young actress had a big decision to make.
00:16:51I went to stanford for a year, and I had a good time.
00:16:56I had a lot of fun.
00:16:58I just felt like I was more challenged by looking for directors that could challenge me, and working with actors I was really inspired by.
00:17:06So I decided to stop out temporarily out of stanford and go work, and then I just got on a roll doing a bunch of things that really excited me.
00:17:16In 1997, witherspoon moved to l.a.
00:17:19And read for the lead role ina movie called " she blew me away in the audition.
00:17:25She has this incrediblelife force in her, packed intoa very tiny body.
00:17:30You know, I mean, I call her mighty mite, which is sort of what she is.
00:17:34I cast her immediately.
00:17:36Reese played a modern teen trapped ina "leave it to beaver" society.
00:17:39Her character goes through a wonderful long arc, and in order to do that, I think you need an actor that has a tremendous amount of depth in order to be able to find that.
00:17:48And there were a lot of colors that reese brought to that part.
00:17:52It was interesting.
00:17:52My character is very superficial and very surface, and also very defined by her sexuality.
00:17:57AND, OF COURSE, IN '50s TELEVISION, There is no sex.
00:18:00There's no such thing.
00:18:00So it's a bit of a trial for my character, but she survives and ultimately finds out that she's not very sexual in the first place.
00:18:08There's a weight and a seriousness to the performance that she gives, and there's also a wonderful kind of natural lightness and a comedic gift.
00:18:15And it's rare to find those things in one person, and reese has all that.
00:18:19And there aren't many people who do.
00:18:22This business is very exciting.
00:18:24And, you know, it can be very encouraging.
00:18:27When you get a great job like this, it just restores your faith in the business.
00:18:31There's no way you look at reese witherspoon when she's 20 years old without realizing she's gonna have an enormous career.
00:18:38Witherspoon was coming of age and had plenty to celebrate.
00:18:42In march of 1997, she hosted a bash at the opium den in hollywood where she met up-and-coming actor ryan phillippe.
00:18:51A mutual friend introduced us at my birthday party when I turned 21.
00:18:57Ryan was just sort oftagging along with a friend.
00:19:01He wasn't supposed to be there, but he just kinda wanted to hang out for the free beer.
00:19:06And they met and hit it off.
00:19:08And actually, the next day, ryan was supposed to leave to go to north carolina to start filming " we talked on the phone and communicated through letters, and sent each other books and things like that.
00:19:20So we had a really nice sort of courting period where we really got to know who each other were, you know.
00:19:26By the time ryan returned to los angeles, he and reese were officially an item.
00:19:32Reese and ryanwere like teenagers.
00:19:35Totally in love, all over each other, making goo-goo eyes at each other.
00:19:40When ryan was cast as a sex-obsessed teenager in "cruel intentions," he suggested reese play the part of the virginal ingenue.
00:19:49It was amazing.
00:19:49You know,i think we were lucky to have her playthis part.
00:19:52I was really happy to do the "i love you" scenes with her because I love her.
00:19:55Tensions peaked when ryan and reese filmed their breakup scene.
00:20:00Our lines were so horrible towards each other, especially his towards me.
00:20:04I thought I was in love with you, but it was just a lie.
00:20:10I wanted it to work, but unfortunately, I feel nothing.
00:20:13It's so horrible to have those things said to you.
00:20:15You know, like "i never loved you," " I got so caught up in the emotion of that betrayal that in the middle of one take, I was sobbing so hard that I just-- and I looked at him and I got so angry and I just hauled off and hit him.
00:20:29And I couldn't believe I did it.
00:20:30And I don't think anybody else could believe I did it 'cause it wasn't in the script.
00:20:34She punched me, " from that point on, she had to match her slap to the face.
00:20:41It was not quite a slap.
00:20:42It was more a closed fist than a slap.
00:20:44It really hurt after a couple hours.
00:20:48I hit him really hard, and he couldn't hear for a while.
00:20:52Phillippe: I really worked myself up that day, to the point where I got sick, I vomited.
00:20:56Because it was heavy just seeing her cry, making her cry.
00:20:59That was probably the hardest scene I've had to do as an actor.
00:21:03But, you know, there's a reward that comes with that, too, because I had wanted to work with her.
00:21:07And I'd always admired him as an actor, so it was kind of a great thing getting to sort of share that professional experience together.
00:21:15Soon after the movie wrapped, the couple moved in together.
00:21:19And in december 1998, ryan proposed to reese during a quick getaway to south carolina.
00:21:26Reporter: So how are the wedding plans?
00:21:28They're coming along quite nicely.
00:21:30You're like my mother.
00:21:32While promoting "cruel intentions," the pair publicly announced their engagement and even bigger news-- they were expecting a child.
00:21:41We were very shocked.
00:21:42We were. we were surprised.
00:21:43We were surprised but pleasantly so.
00:21:45And I think more than anything, overwhelmed with the feeling of love for each other.
00:21:50To put all my energy and everything that I've learned in the short period of time I've been on the earth and give it to someone else and sort of sculpt them, it's a thrilling idea.
00:21:58The fact that I get to do it with her-- I don't know, things are great.
00:22:03At the premiere, friends and family saluted the couple, including fellow actor jake gyllenhaal.
00:22:09I'm actually herejust to see-- I'm a good friend of ryan's and my familyis a good friend of his.
00:22:13I think it's wonderful.
00:22:14I think when two people fall in love, you know, it's unexplainable to everybody else, but it's a whirlwind of, you know, emotions.
00:22:23And if they decide to create another human being from that, then I'm all for it.
00:22:28And I think it's wonderful.
00:22:30Coming up,pretty in pink.
00:22:32Her manager and ihad to talk her into it 'cause she thought,oh, my god, I could fallflat on my face.
00:24:22And memories.
00:24:24All for under $2 a serving.
00:24:26Stouffer's.let's fix dinner.
00:25:21I told you.
00:25:22You're gonna pay for my poster!
00:25:24All right, okay. easy now.
00:25:25Quit while you're ahead, will you, tracy?
00:25:27Just run along.
00:25:28In the 1999 dark comedy "election," reese witherspoon played an ambitious high school senior.
00:25:35Who put you up to this?
00:25:36I mean, how manybeautiful actresses are there that are that smart, that can do comedyand do it well?
00:25:41When you cast your vote next week for tracy flick, you won't just be voting for me.
00:25:46You'll be voting for yourself.
00:25:48I think the first time I was really awareof reese witherspoon's work " and I was utterly dazzled by her.
00:25:59I thought it's about as good as it gets in my business.
00:26:03I think certain older people like you and your colleague shouldn't be leching after their students, especially when some of them can't even get their own wives pregnant.
00:26:12And they certainly shouldn't be making slanderous accusations, especially when certain young, naive people's mothers are paralegal secretaries at the city's biggest law firm and have won many successful lawsuits.
00:26:23And if you wanna keep questioning me like this, I won't continue without my attorney present.
00:26:28While other actresses aredoing sort of cutesy things or wanting to amp up theirsex appeal at that point, she kinda plays this frumpy, goody-goody, unlikable character.
00:26:38And it's very daring but really, really smart.
00:26:41Really smart.
00:26:42Because it broadens her range and shows that she can work essentially as a character actress.
00:26:47I was blown away by reese.
00:26:48She totally cracked me up as tracy flick.
00:26:52I thought she was amazing.
00:26:54But when the movie opened in may 1999, people seemed most interested in reese's growing belly.
00:27:00The 23-year-old actress was six months pregnant.
00:27:04I feel like this is belly watch '99.
00:27:06Everybody's like, oh, it's bigger!
00:27:08You could've worn a muumuu.
00:27:10I could've worn a muumuu and you would've loved me still.
00:27:13A few weeks later, reese witherspoon and ryan phillippe formalized their relationship.
00:27:18Reese: We got married in charleston, south carolina, and it was just really pretty.
00:27:23It was outside.
00:27:24My girlfriend judianna makovsky, who did the "pleasantville" costumes, helped me make a dress.
00:27:29And I was pregnant, so she really like helped me make it look pretty.
00:27:34My dad gave me away and the sun was setting.
00:27:37And my grandma was there and my whole family was there.
00:27:40It was very nice.
00:27:42Then on september 9, 1999, the newlyweds welcomed a baby girl-- ava elizabeth phillippe,named after ryan's grandmother.
00:27:52She was just a miniature little reese.
00:27:55Soon after ava's arrival, reese experienced another first-- a golden globe nomination.
00:28:01She didn't win the award, but she had other priorities.
00:28:06It's been a busy year.
00:28:07But definitely, the baby has been the most important and unbelievably life-changing thing, and she's so wonderful.
00:28:12The couple wanted to spend as much time with ava as possible.
00:28:17My husband just finished a movie, ryan, and we're just sort of going one by one.
00:28:22You know, he does a movie, then I do a movie, and so one of us is always with her, yeah.
00:28:27Reese has become anamazing mother and wife.
00:28:29And it's a good timeright now, definitely.
00:28:33By 2001, reese was ready to take on another demanding role.
00:28:37Producer marc platt offered her the lead " Platt: I saw the film "election" in which reese played a character by the name of tracy flick.
00:28:48And I thought thatit was such an extreme, heightened comediccharacter, and yet a character whose emotional truth was so real and committed.
00:28:59And I thought, upon seeing that film, that that was the only actress that I wanted to play the elle woods character.
00:29:07But witherspoon wasn't sure the flighty blonde would be a smart career choice.
00:29:13That was a role she was absolutely terrified about.
00:29:16Didn't wanna do it.
00:29:16Her manager and ihad to talk her into it 'cause she thought,oh, my god, I could fallflat on my face.
00:29:21Once she signed on, reese nailed the part.
00:29:24Two weeks ago, I saw cameron diaz at fred segal and I talked her out of buying this truly heinous angora sweater.
00:29:29Whoever said orange was the new pink was seriously disturbed.
00:29:33It was really exciting, and I totally took on the challenge and threw myself 100% into it.
00:29:38Platt: She knew where to find the comedy in the character.
00:29:41She knew where to find the emotion in the character, the vulnerability in the character, and that was apparent to me from our very first meeting.
00:29:50Just because I'm not a vanderbilt, suddenly I'm white trash?
00:29:53I grew up in bel-air, warner, across the street from aaron spelling.
00:29:56I think most people would agree that's a lot better than some stinky old vanderbilt.
00:30:00She made the most vapid,you know, self-assured, overconfident a little bit, seemingly dumb character lovable, and also surprised us.
00:30:11'Cause guess what? the character's smart.
00:30:13Due to the fact that you've retained this residence, miss bonafonte is entitled to full canine property ownership.
00:30:22I think there's a partof reese that's really humble, and she was able to show all of the flaws and insecurities of a character while still being very inspirational.
00:30:36You guys are so sweet!
00:30:39On july 13, 2001, moviegoers packed theaters for the opening of "legally blonde," which earned reese her second golden globe nomination.
00:30:49Although she didn't win, the movie made over $100 million.
00:30:54We were, of course, delighted from the moment the theaters opened on friday morning.
00:30:59I remembergetting a phone call saturday morning from the studio.
00:31:04They predicted over a $20 million opening, which was huge, especially for an actress like reese who was carrying a movie on her own.
00:31:11I got her on her cell phone and I said, " coming up,ignoring gossip.
00:31:19I don't read that stuff.
00:31:21It, you know, the dog pees on itthe next day.
00:31:30Guys remember, we're lar system.
00:31:39Um, it's only 10am.
00:31:42Who hasn't had their jimmy dean breakfast this morning?
00:31:49Now lets orbit I feel awesome.
00:31:51You're all awesome.
00:31:54Jimmy dean breakfast sandwiches, fight the morning fade.
00:32:00( applause, band music ) Dibs.
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00:32:07Munch 'em.pop 'em. have fun with 'em.
00:32:10Dibs. creamy. chocolatey.
00:32:13In the newbig bag.
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00:34:16In the spring of 2001, director andy tennant was looking for an a-list actress to star in the romantic comedy "sweet home " reese witherspoon wasn't being considered, but the two old friends met for lunch anyway.
00:34:31" " and she's like,"yeah, I don't really know what I'm gonna do.
00:34:36"I've got this movie coming out.
00:34:37" " and she says, "oh, it's this thing called '" that july, "legally blonde" made more than $20 million on its opening weekend.
00:34:50And then monday morning, nina jacobson, who was the head of disney, called me up and said, "so how do you feel " and I was like, "well, I've known her for ten years.
00:34:59" and it was like, "well, we'd like to offer " in "legally blonde," she proved she could open a movie.
00:35:06And you know how hollywood is.
00:35:07Hollywood is a heat-seeking missile.
00:35:09And so for in that particular moment in time, it all just kind of lined up.
00:35:14I was sort of attracted to the role 'cause it mirrored a lot of the same things I was going through in my own life, which is, you know, coming from a small town and moving to the big city and trying to make it.
00:35:23And, you know, having your personality change, and whether or not it should.
00:35:28And also, people's reactions to you when you go back home.
00:35:31ON SEPTEMBER 11th, THE PRODUCTION Was scheduled to scout locations in new york city.
00:35:36When terrorists attacked the world trade center, everything was put on hold.
00:35:41Obviously, people thought that the world was over, and certainly a movie was not gonna happen.
00:35:46And that's when mayor giuliani was like, " and to prove it, I think maybe four days after the attacks, we were given film permits to shoot anywhere we wanted in new york city.
00:35:59We all felt incredibly grateful to be in the business working, and trying to tell a story that was about, you know, people and falling in love and giving somebody some laughter.
00:36:11Man: And action.
00:36:13Mr. buford, he signed the papers.
00:36:14What are you doing here?
00:36:15He did, you didn't.
00:36:19You mean I'm still married?
00:36:20Only if you wanna be.
00:36:22Does anybody have a pen?
00:36:24Lord have mercy.
00:36:25Reese was extraordinaryin it.
00:36:26"Sweet home alabama" was a hit and scored witherspoon's reputation as one of hollywood's leading actresses.
00:36:34At 24 years old, she started her own production company, named type a films.
00:36:39Ross: It's tremendously appropriate.
00:36:40I mean, reese is an overachiever, and we're all lucky for that.
00:36:43Ese is not justsomebody who's, you know,gonna sit back and just wait for partsto come to her.
00:36:47The title ofthe production company definitely fits.
00:36:53It suits reese.
00:36:55She's a force to be reckoned with, definitely.
00:36:59Professionally, reese's career couldn't have been brighter.
00:37:02But stories about her and ryan were constantly in the tabloids.
00:37:07I don't read that stuff.
00:37:09It, you know, the dog pees on it the next day.
00:37:13I can see why people are interested.
00:37:15It's the human drama.
00:37:16It's like, I watch those reality tv shows and I'm fascinated with people's personalities.
00:37:21But, you know, it's nice to come home and know what's real.
00:37:26And we don't really pay a lot of attention to it 'cause it just doesn't matter.
00:37:30That november, type a films launched "legally " witherspoon reprisedher role as elle woods while also serving as executive producer.
00:37:41Because I got to work really closely with the screenwriter on the script and put a lot of my own ideas into it.
00:37:46And, you know, I thought it was really important, if I was gonna do a sequel of this movie, to make it very socially responsible.
00:37:52So I think we did a good job doing that.
00:37:54This is a person whois working on a project 50 days,75 outfits, probably75 hair changes, hours and hoursin hair and makeup.
00:38:0300 in the morning after nursing her child all night long.
00:38:06So she manages to handle a lot and still stay focused, and that's some-- that's dedication.
00:38:14She is a multitaskerlike no other, and she's not willing to letone area of her life suffer as a result of successin another area of her life.
00:38:24And that's who she is.
00:38:26In may 2003, witherspoon announced that she and ryan were expecting their second child.
00:38:33Reporter: So when are you due?
00:38:34In the fall.
00:38:35I'm working right now and just sorta getting all the work out of the way so I can take a little break.
00:38:39I don't wanna miss the baby you know, just being a little baby, 'cause they're so cute and smooshy.
00:38:44That summer, reese flew to london to shoot the movie "vanity " well, I found out I was pregnant right before we went to start shooting, so I had to call up mira.
00:38:52And we sort of incorporated it into the script, so it actually ended up working out really well.
00:38:56Nair: Despite her pregnancy, there was not a day that she didn't do anything that I asked her to do.
00:39:01Which was like,in this movie, you know, ride elephants, jump on topof wet carriages, pull her trunk through mud.
00:39:10It's a very athletic performance.
00:39:12Reese wrapped "vanity fair" just in time.
00:39:16In october 2003, she gave birth to her second child, deacon phillippe.
00:39:21She takes real pridein her kids, and they are trulyher number-one priority.
00:39:26There are special challengesto being a good mom and being in the spotlight.
00:39:31That's not the easiest thingin the world to do.
00:39:37Coming up,cashing in.
00:39:39They called me likesix months later and said, "oh, by the way,we want you to sing," and I freaked out.
00:42:29In the fall of 2005, production began on "walk the line," the much-anticipated lovestory between country music legends johnny and june cash.
00:42:39Casting was key.
00:42:43One of the big concernsto john and june was who was gonna play them.
00:42:49Because they knew that if you got the wrong person playing the part, you're gonna send the wrong message to the world about who you were.
00:42:56Now, when reese witherspoon's name came up, " I mean, there was never a second thought about it.
00:43:06So there was only one june, and that was reese.
00:43:14Obviously, I'm a girl from the south, and I was so excited when jim came and asked me to play june carter cash.
00:43:21I mean, if you're a girl from nashville, basically, someone asks you to play a country music singer, " the demanding role called for more than just great acting.
00:43:33When I signed on to do the movie, they called me like six months later and said, "oh, by the way, we want you to sing," and I freaked out.
00:43:41I was like, you gotta be kidding me.
00:43:42There's so many better singers in the world than me.
00:43:45Reese and joaquin, even beforewe started filming, they had put inthree and a half months of preparation, studying music and working on their vocals and working with instruments.
00:43:54And it was always part of the master plan that prior to shooting the movie and the acting, that they would go through sort of a musician boot camp.
00:44:03From what she said, she was absolutely terrified.
00:44:06Nobody-- I would never have known that by watching her walk on stage and sing the songs.
00:44:11But she was terrified of actually going out there and doing it.
00:44:16But a little terror is a good thing for an actor.
00:44:19I thought I was gonna throw up half the time.
00:44:21And then joaquin also helped, too.
00:44:22You know, he was so committed to the role.
00:44:24And when you watch someone who is so dedicated to something and they get up there and they're brave, it makes you a little bit braver.
00:44:30Joaquin and reese both sing every note.
00:44:33Not doing an impressionof june and johnny, but actually learninghow to channel those two real-lifehuman beings was quite a featin and of itself.
00:44:41Reese: It is incredibly intimidating, you know, stepping in the shoes of people that people know so well.
00:44:48But, you know, I always like a challenge, so.
00:44:50June would've been so proud of reese " you know, you just-- every movie is just a gamble.
00:44:56You know, it's like a roll of the dice.
00:44:57So you always just feel lucky when they turn out well, and I just, you know, feel really lucky.
00:45:02Reese's pitch-perfect performance earned her a slew of honors, including her first golden globe award.
00:45:09She went up to get her award, and secretly, I wanted her to win so bad.
00:45:14I don't even remember,that year, who was up.
00:45:17I thought, oh, one forthe little blondes.
00:45:20This type-a, smart little blonde.
00:45:23Oh, yay.
00:45:23And then she gets up there and looks like a little princess, but speaks like a college professor.
00:45:30I love that.
00:45:30She also wonthe screen actors guild statue.
00:45:34I feel like I'm still learning so much, and, you know, every performance is a new sort of learning experience.
00:45:39So I feel like I have so much more to accomplish.
00:45:43In march 2006, reese took home the biggest award of all-- the oscar for best actress.
00:45:51I think it's important to follow your heart and follow your dreams and have dreams.
00:45:54It's so important to believe in yourself.
00:45:56And I've been really, really lucky to have such a wonderful family support me, particularly my mother and my grandmother.
00:46:01I mean, really, they taught me a lot, and a lot of characteristics that a woman should have in life, and how tough women are and how strong we are.
00:46:09And I feel like it really helped my performance with june because I sort of came in with an innate knowledge of who she was as a woman.
00:46:18Witherspoon had reached the absolute peak of her career.
00:46:21But with stardom came round-the-clock attention from tabloid photographers.
00:46:27Kung: For her daughter ava's 6th birthday, reese actually threw her a party at california adventure near disneyland.
00:46:33And at some point,she was actually accosted by like this paparazziwho would not go away, and eventually,he upset all the kids.
00:46:42Man: Smile, reese. come on, reese.
00:46:45Reese is not interested inshutting down the paparazzi or shutting down the machinethat fuels celebridom.
00:46:53But she's not gonna accept her children being endangered, and why should she?
00:46:58Then on october 16, 2006, reese accompanied ryan to the "flags of our fathers" premiere in new york city.
00:47:07At the premiere of "flags of our fathers," ryan's movie for clint eastwood, a lot of people commented on how the two of them looked really uncomfortable when they were walking the red carpet.
00:47:33On october 30, 2006, a rep for the couple issued a statement saying reese and ryan had decided to formally separate.
00:47:41One week later, reese filed for divorce and joint custody of the kids.
00:47:47When the press releasewent out that they weregetting a divorce, it was a big blowfor the people around them and for the public as well.
00:47:52Everybody wanted to know what happened to hollywood's golden couple.
00:47:58They basically traveledall over europe and looked to bea pretty close unit.
00:48:10In the fall of 2006, the $9 grand entrance.
00:48:15Walmart announces op topsfor just nine dollars each.
00:48:19Back to school costs less at walmart.
00:48:21Save better. walmart.
00:48:57♪ ♪
00:48:59♪ to my family ♪
00:49:01[ Female Announcer ] Clean you can see.
00:49:03Softness you can feel.
00:49:06Tide with a touch of downy.
00:51:02In the fall of 2006, newly separated reese witherspoon " the film co-starred one of ryan phillippe's old friends.
00:51:13As with any film that stars, you know, single,attractive people, people immediately began to speculate that she was interested in her co-star, jake gyllenhaal.
00:51:21But the actors worked separate locations.
00:51:25Even the "rendition"director, gavin hood, came out and sdth there's no way that these two couldpossibly have sparked a romancon set because they never evenhad a scene together.
00:51:34Kung: Jake did most of his filming in morocco, whereas reese did most of her filming in los angeles.
00:51:39So the two really didn't get to interact that much while they were shooting primary scenes.
00:51:44Reese focused on work and wasn't spotted much in public until the following january.
00:51:49Reese made this stunning appearance at the golden globes.
00:51:52Clearly, it was a sign to everyone that she was back on the scene.
00:51:55And reese witherspoon has been that actress that's always been very classic.
00:51:58But at the golden globes, she was sexier than ever.
00:52:01Kung: She was wearing this gorgeous dress by nina ricci in this bright canary yellow.
00:52:06She was wearing these red strappy heels.
00:52:08And a lot of people also noticed that she looked really toned.
00:52:11Even though she was going through so much in her personal life, you could never tell.
00:52:16She was smiling for the cameras.
00:52:17She was just radiant.
00:52:19On october 5, 2007, reese's divorceto ryan phillippe was finalized with the couple sharing joint custody of their two children.
00:52:29Meanwhile, reese and jake crossed paths for "rendition," and later appeared together at the movie's italian premiere.
00:52:41Magpapian: Reese witherspoon and jake gyllenhaal did a really good job of keeping their relationship under wraps.
00:52:46Many people didn't even know that they were dating until they hit rome to promote their movie " and they were spotted, you know, sightseeing holding hands, hugging, and looking like a couple in love.
00:52:57They basically traveled all over europe and looked to be a pretty close unit.
00:53:02Photographers captured reese with jake and her children traveling all over the globe.
00:53:07They were in cabo san lucas in april.
00:53:10They were also in london and then to paris.
00:53:13Kung: Reese kind of prides herself on being a really hands-on mother, and she clearly cares about her kids.
00:53:18And she's also very guarded about her private life.
00:53:21So presumably, any sort of guythat she was dating that she would wannaintroduce to her kids, she would have to bereally serious about.
00:53:27Reese also stayed focused on her charity work.
00:53:30When avon came calling in 2007, she accepted a role as the company's global ambassador to promote women's issues.
00:53:39Part of being a mother and being a woman, I think those everyday sort of life experiences about being a friend and being supportive of other women I think are things that make you feel good.
00:53:53And I think I'm so lucky and privileged to have an opportunity to be able to work with a company that really reaches out and changes women's lives.
00:54:05Then it was time to get back to work.
00:54:08In november 2008, the 32-year-old headlined " the premise of the movieis one that I would-- I'm surprisedthat we haven't seen before.
00:54:19It's a story about couples that each havedivorced parents.
00:54:23Vince vaughn and reese witherspoon, who play the couple, make up a big excuse to be away at christmas.
00:54:30They never wanna go and do christmas, but somehow, through a series of circumstances, they have to go and do christmas.
00:54:35And so there's four different households to go to.
00:54:39I play her sister and mary steenburgen plays our mother.
00:54:43My favorite scene with reese is probably the first time that she brings vince vaughn home to our house to kinda meet our family.
00:54:53It was kind of hard for me to do this movie because I love her so much, but I constantly was having to put her down.
00:55:02Where's cassie?
00:55:03Oh, she's outside in the jump-jump with the rest of the neighborhood kids.
00:55:07There's a jump-jump?
00:55:11Kate always hated the jump-jump.
00:55:13In the fifth grade, a bunch of kids trapped kate inside the jump-jump, and she-- she never got over it.
00:55:18I got over it.
00:55:19They tortured her for about an hour.
00:55:21Why would they trap you in there that long?
00:55:26Cootie kate.
00:55:29Who's cootie kate?
00:55:30Mom: She didn't tell you about cootie kate?
00:55:32Mom, I really don't think this is necessary.
00:55:33All the kids pretended that kate had cooties and no one talked to her.
00:55:37If kate even touched you, you would have to wipe it off and spray it with disinfectant to get out the cooties.
00:55:43That sounds like it could be really hurtful.
00:55:45How long did that go on for?
00:55:46Not long.
00:55:47I don't remember, but it wasn't long.
00:55:48Seven years. k-6.
00:55:50That was a long time ago.
00:55:51I'm sure you don't have cooties now.
00:55:53Test it out.
00:55:54Ah! cooties!
00:55:56[ Makes spraying sound ] [ laughter ] that was really fun to play, but hard, too, because I like her so much.
00:56:03Witherspoon performed double duty on the film, also acting as one of theproducers.
00:56:09I really enjoy it.
00:56:10It's nice to be on the set with people who are just trying to have a good time and help other people have a good time.
00:56:15What's so greatabout reese as a producer is that you don'treally notice that she's producing it.
00:56:20She's an amazing girl.
00:56:22She's funny and smartand generous and poised and classy and southern.
00:56:33My favorite kinda girl.
00:56:34She handles everyonewith such grace and poise, yet she's a powerful woman.
00:56:39Yet she is so kind to everybody, and being an amazing mother all at the same time.
00:56:45That's an amazing example.
00:56:46She transitions very easily from actor to producer, producer to actor.
00:56:51But reese's 8-year-old was more impressed with her mom's co-star.
00:56:55Oh, my gosh, my daughter loves kristen.
00:56:59" and she was just like, " I was like, what about me?
00:57:05She's like, "no, no, no, not like you, like " she came up to me like the second day and said, "uh, ava really, really wants to meet you.
00:57:14" so the next day, she brings her in, and ava's got her "wicked" book for me to sign.
00:57:21And she couldn't speak.
00:57:24 she was so nice to my kids.
00:57:27She's going to heaven.
00:57:29Reese witherspoon has pulled off one of the rarest feats in hollywood-- she's got a good relationship, a loving family, and a career that just keeps on getting bigger.
00:57:39At the moment, reese is one of the most highly paid actresses in hollywood, and it's clear to see why.
00:57:45Because she works really hard, she's really smart about her film choices, yet she's also really dedicated to her family.
00:57:51So she's achieved this kind of great balance between work and life.
00:57:55[ Photographers shouting ] Chenoweth: You have this academy award winner, amazingly gifted performer who, in between takes, makes sure her kids stay away from the candy at craft services, and she's writing thank-you notes.
00:58:11That kinda says it all about her.
00:58:13Ross: She's a very bright woman.
00:58:14She's incredibly both tenacious and energetic.
00:58:18It's not surprising she has her production company.
00:58:21Listen, it wouldn't surprise me if she also had a restaurant and a, you know, wholesale supply company.
00:58:27It's like reese could do a million things.
00:58:31I think the sky's the limit.
00:58:32I wouldn't be surprised if she directed some films.
00:58:36Chenoweth: She needs to do broadway.
00:58:38That's one thing she hasn't done yet.
00:58:39So reese, get on it, missy. come to broadway.
00:58:45I'll be your understudy.
00:58:46[ Whispers ] no, I won't. no, I won't.
00:58:48She's just very, very kind of with it in that wonderful way.
00:58:53And yet at the same time, she has the kind of whatever that extraordinary, quirky magic is about a truly watchable, great actor.
00:59:03Place: I think she had a plan for herself from an early age.
00:59:07So I think, you know, she's created this incredible success, and she deserves it.