Reese Witherspoon knows how to read the room. In the middle of a pandemic that has ground America’s dating scene to a halt, the Oscar-winning actress has signed on to star in a pair of romantic comedies for Netflix, and frankly, I love it. People want to feel good right now, and what genre gives you that warm, fuzzy feeling inside more than a good old-fashioned rom-com?
She’ll be in good company on the first project, Your Place or Mine, which will mark the feature directorial debut of The Devil Wears Prada screenwriter Aline Brosh McKenna. Though it may be McKenna’s first time behind the camera, she’s a veteran scribe who has no doubt learned a ton during her time in the trenches, and has more than earned this opportunity. She also wrote the script and will produce via her Lean Machine banner, while Witherspoon and her Hello Sunshine partner Lauren Neustadter will produce alongside Jason Bateman and his Aggregate Films partner Michael Costigan.
Your Place or Mine focuses on two best friends who change each other’s lives when he volunteers to keep an eye on her teenage son while she pursues a lifelong dream. Bateman carries a lot of weight at Netflix thanks to Ozark, and the streamer seems eager to do right by Witherspoon, so I imagine the two producers will be able to get McKenna everything she wants.
As for the second project, Netflix has acquired Sarah Haywood‘s bestselling novel The Cactus, which will be developed as a star vehicle for Witherspoon, who will once again produce with Neustadter. Witherspoon would play a 45-year-old woman who unexpectedly becomes pregnant, which forces her to rethink the structured life she has created for herself as she begins an unconventional journey toward love, family and self-acceptance.
Deadline broke the news and the site was provided with a barrage of beauty quotes from all parties, so here are the highlights. Witherspoon said that both projects “blend everything we love about traditional rom-coms with strong, smart and determined female leads.”
Elsewhere, Costigan said that Netflix is the perfect home for Your Place or Mine, which he called “a sophisticated and very contemporary romantic comedy that we believe global audiences will be excited to see.” Netflix’s Scott Stuber called it a “brilliantly funny romantic comedy,” while McKenna praised Witherspoon for her producing skills, calling herself “the hugest Reese Witherspoon fan on Earth.”
Witherspoon has been making the rounds at all the top networks, having produced and starred in projects for HBO (Big Little Lies), Apple (The Morning Show), and Hulu (Little Fires Everywhere), though none of those series veered into rom-com territory. While Deadline’s report made it out to seem like Your Place or Mine would be Witherspoon’s first time working with Netflix, the streamer won a bidding war for the sci-fi movie Pyros, which she’ll produce with Simon Kinberg.