Reese Witherspoon is teaming up with a first-time female director to put a modern twist on her romantic-comedy roots in Home Again.
PEOPLE has the exclusive first look at the film, written and directed by a newcomer with an impressive pedigree, Hallie Meyers-Shyer. Her mom, Nancy Meyers, is the director behind hits like Something’s Gotta Give and It’s Complicated, as well as the writer of Private Benjamin. And Witherspoon says watching the mother-daughter duo work together (Nancy is a producer on Home Again) was her favorite part of the shoot.
“I’ve seen Private Benjamin and It’s Complicated so many times, I can’t even count,” Witherspoon tells PEOPLE. “It was an incredible opportunity to work with Nancy Meyers and her daughter, Hallie, who is a first-time, female filmmaker.”
She adds, “I really enjoyed the collaborative process with Nancy and Hallie. The idea that two women who had a lot of experience making films could help a young woman with her first feature film was very exciting to me.”
Home Again tells the story of Alice Kinney, played by Witherspoon, who has recently separated from her husband, played by Michael Sheen. After the split, Alice decides to start over by moving back to her hometown of Los Angeles with her two young daughters.
While out celebrating her 40th birthday, Alice has a chance encounter with three aspiring filmmakers in need of a place to stay. When she offers them the use of her guest house, the guys accept and a new, unconventional family is formed.
Friendship and romance begin to develop in unexpected ways — that is, until her husband shows up at her door, suitcase in hand.
“I connected to the role on many levels,” Witherspoon says. “I’ve been a single mom before and I’ve been divorced before. The idea that I could give women, who are at a crossroads in their life, hope was really what drew me to the project.”
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The film features an all-star cast that also includes Candice Bergen and Lake Bell, along with a few young newcomers. “The cast was incredibly talented and fun to be with,” Witherspoon says. “The three young men who were cast — Pico Alexander, Nat Wolff and Jon Rudnitsky — brought so much energy, humor and creativity to their roles. It was really exciting to get to work with a new generation of talented actors.”
Home Again hits theaters Sept. 8.