Reese Witherspoon has spoken of the gratitude she feels towards women who spoke out about sexual harassment and abuse they received to spark the Me Too movement and the responsibility she felt to do them justice.
The Oscar winner stars opposite Jennifer Aniston in the new Apple TV+ series The Morning Show, about a breakfast television programme in the throes of a sexual harassment scandal, reminiscent of the public fall from grace of Matt Lauer on NBC’s Today show in the US.
Arriving at a special screening of the show in London, she told the PA news agency: “I’m enormously grateful to the women who spoke up and exposed the harassment and the hostile work environments that they have experienced.
“It really felt like a responsibility that we had to help tell those stories but also to reveal the human side of it.
“And I’m also very grateful to Steve Carell (who plays the disgraced TV host) for really joining in on this conversation, because men need to be part of it too.”
Witherspoon and Aniston both also serve as executive producers on the show and Witherspoon, who has been active in the Time’s Up movement, said steps are being taken towards equality in Hollywood productions.
She said: “Women are stepping up into leadership positions but it’s definitely a gender balanced production, we had just as many men as women and I think that is great, we are finally getting to parity, which is really nice.”
Discussing the responsibility she felt to the women who have spoken out about their experiences, former Friends actress Aniston said: “I think we feel responsibility with any drama, any creative material we are in is a responsibility, but especially this.
“I think Kerry Ehrin, our writer and creator, really wrote a brilliant script and layered and complicated characters and also took a look at this whole new normal that we are all walking through, in a very not-black-and-white (way) she allowed the grey areas to be explored.”
The show finally reunites the duo after Witherspoon guest-starred on Friends as Jill, the spoiled sister of Aniston’s character Rachel, 19 years ago and Aniston said: “It was fantastic, we had so much fun, we worked so hard, but it was the most rewarding thing I’ve done in years.”
Witherspoon added: “It was quite a few years later so we had different experiences, but it was great to be in a producorial position now because we have learned so much and we have a lot to add.”
The Morning Show is available now on Apple TV+.