Hey, look everyone, it’s that plucky Reese Witherspoon! That cutie on Pleasantville! Why, I’d lose all of MY color just for one night alone with . . .
Reese Witherspoon was born Laura Jean Reese Witherspoon in New Orleans, Louisiana on March 22, 1976. She lived in a military family and spent time overseas in Germany, among other places. She eventually ended up in Nashville, Tennessee. Her father was a doctor, and her mother a nurse, so she was brought up with the belief she was going to be a doctor, but luckily that didn’t happen (no offense to her scalpel skills).
Her first role was a speaking part in the 1991 Man in the Moon, directed by Robert Mulligan. She originally had a non-speaking role, but Mulligan was impressed enough to give her the speaking part, although she claims it was because she had a flat chest. She began appearing in several films in small parts, including the made for TV miniseries Return to Lonesome Dove (1993). She acted in Disney’s A Far Off Place, with Danny DiVeto (Twins) in Jack the Bear, and in S.F.W. as a hostage who has to deal with returning to life in the media spotlight.
She was cast in the movie Fear (1996) for the role of Nicole Walker, who was abused by her boyfriend, played by Mark Wahlberg (Three Kings, The Perfect Storm). After the teen terror movies started to take off, she got offers to be in Scream, I Know What You Did Last Summer and Urban Legends, all of which she turned down because, "I did my horror film and it was not an experience I care to repeat... It had nothing to do with Mark. All that screaming and cowering and being tormented is not fulfilling."
In her personal life (which I know we all are very interested in), she went to a private all girls school in Tennessee, and enrolled in Stanford in Palo Alto, California. She took a while off from school due to her busy shooting schedule, although she claims adamantly that eventually she will go back. As a side note she studied English Literature.
In the critically acclaimed (by me, among others) hit Pleasantville (1998), she played the part of young scallywag Tobey Maguire’s (Spiderman, Spiderman, does whatever a spider can) slutty sister, who is only interested in boys and being popular. Through the movie she discovers what she is missing in her life, namely books, and in the end blossoms into a young woman. Oh Reese!
At her 21st birthday party in 1997, she met her now-husband Ryan Phillippe (Antitrust, I know what you did last summer). They hit it off fairly quickly, and on June 5, 1999 they were married in South Carolina at the Wide Awake Plantation. Both Ryan Phillippe and Reese appeared together in Cruel Intentions (1999). Making a movie with your significant other isn’t always what it’s cracked up to be, as Reese has this to say about their breakup scene:
I literally beat him up when we had to do the breakup scene. We'd gotten so tired and we'd done the scene so many times. He was off camera giving me my lines and he started to ad lib - which is a bad thing when you're doing this kind of scene, and talking like, ‘I never loved you! You're not attractive!’ Terrible things. I got upset. I just hauled off and socked him in the face. And everybody in the crew was like ‘Gasp! Can you believe she did that?’ And I'm screaming my lines and I just yelled ‘Get out!’ And then he ran off and threw up in a stairwell. And I'm, like, sobbing, saying, ‘I can't believe he said those things to me!’ And the director (Roger Kumble) came in and said 'Oh God, I can't believe it, that was so great! Can you do it again?’
Over the next couple of years she played roles in Election, Best Laid Plans, a bit part on Friends, American Psycho and Little Nicky. Maybe her biggest role yet has been the lead in Legally Blonde. Although the movie has kind of a predictable plot, you just can’t really get over how cute she is. Her upcoming films include the first film shot in New York after September 11th, Sweet Home Alabama, where she plays a cosmopolitan girl who is trying to escape her small roots past, but finds that some things shouldn’t be left behind. Wow, I sounded like the guy on TV. I should stop while I’m ahead.
Pleasantville is one of my all time favorite movies, and Reese has to be one of the reasons. Although Legally Blonde was in my opinion a slight intellectual travesty, I hope Sweet Home Alabama gives me my yearly dose of that Witherspoon goodness!
Bitca says Psst. The name of the all girls' school in Nashville TN that Reese Witherspoon attended is "Harpeth Hall" a private, nonreligious institution with a good academic but horrible social reputation...I could go into more, but it's not relevant.
Thanks also to nosfentor, CzarKhan and Roninspoon for technical corrections.