Reese Witherspoon Explains How the #MeToo Movement Shaped The Morning Show
"When we started, the show was just a book, and nothing had happened with Harvey Weinstein or Les Moonves yet," Reese Witherspoon said
Reese Witherspoon‘s upcoming Apple TV+ series, The Morning Show, is nearly ripped from the headlines as it details the fallout of a sexual misconduct scandal at a popular news program.
But as the 43-year-old actress recalled in an interview by Natalie Portman in the November issue of Harper’s Bazaar, the concept for the highly anticipated series had been in the works before eerily similar events occurred in real life.
“When we started, the show was just a book, and nothing had happened with Harvey Weinstein or Les Moonves yet,” said Witherspoon, who also serves as an executive producer on the show with costar Jennifer Aniston. “The Roger Ailes scandal had happened the year before. Then, in October 2017, all those stories started to break about the way women in media were treated.”
As Witherspoon references, October 2017 was the birth of the #MeToo movement, which began in the wake of sexual abuse allegations brought against Harvey Weinstein. The aftermath resulted in women across the world sharing their stories of sexual harassment and assault, and many high-profile men in Hollywood who were accused, including Les Moonves, Kevin Spacey, Louis C.K., and Matt Lauer, were fired from their jobs.
In the aftermath of the #MeToo Movement, Witherspoon recalled that those working on the show “decided we needed to start from square one and redevelop everything with more of a slant about the truth coming out in media and people being held accountable for their behavior.”
The Big Little Lies star said that while The Morning Show will highlight her and Aniston’s roles as women in power, it will also depict how Steve Carell‘s character, Mitch Kessler, is affected by the sexual misconduct allegations against him.
“As artists, we try to find the shreds of humanity in any crisis and open people’s minds to see all sides of things,” she said. “What does it mean to be a person who loses their entire life? Their family. Their career. The #MeToo movement has been so emotional on all sides. I remember talking to women and holding them while they cried.”
“I can’t even imagine what it must have been like to be the spouse or the child of one of these people who was exposed,” she added. “With the men, we ask, Where is the contrition? How are they supposed to behave? We deal with all of these questions as the season goes on.”
Aniston, who plays top newsreader Alex Levy, echoed Witherspoon’s explanation about the show’s origin in an interview with InStyle last month.
“The show was always about the abuse of power, and women and sexism,” she said. “We sold it in the summer, and then Harvey [Weinstein] happened in the fall.”
“Reese and I were like … ‘The show is writing itself,’ ” Aniston added. “It was as if the universe were begging for this patriarchal society to be exposed. It’s crazy.”
The actress has promised that the series will deliver a “behind-the-curtain peek at a lot of things” in the news world: “What it takes to pull off a morning show, the unique lifestyle of these anchors, the obsession with celebrity culture, and humanity in the midst of corruption,” she told InStyle.
“Plus we’re addressing the ugly truths of how men have treated women in our society, particularly in the workplace, for all these years,” she continued. “We’re looking at the ways in which we’ve all normalized this behavior and how we’re all by-products of our environment, having grown up with sexism encoded in our messaging, however extreme or subtle.”
“This show looks at how a culture of silence can slowly evolve and how we sometimes participate without even realizing it,” Aniston added.
The Morning Show will debut on Apple TV+ on Nov. 1.