During a recent discussion with actress Regina King for Variety’s ‘Actors on Actors’ franchise, the 44-year-old Oscar winner said that there was a time when she wasn’t aware of what it meant to be gay.
‘That great experience of being able to look at a time that was actually 30 years ago and think: “I was a teenager then. What did my mum say about sexuality, race, class? What were the things that I was told that maybe were true or not true? How was I insensitive?”’ the mother-of-three recalled.
'No one spoke to me about sexuality when I was a teenager. I didn’t understand what homosexuality was. My grandparents didn’t explain it. My parents didn’t explain it. I had to learn from somebody I met on an audition in Los Angeles.’
Witherspoon continued, explaining that a discussion she had with her grandmother about homosexuality inspired a storyline in her Little Fires Everywhere series, which she stars in opposite Kerry Washington and Joshua Jackson.
‘We incorporated some of the conversation I had with my grandmother afterward. She said: “Homosexuality is very rare, Reese. That’s not a thing that happens very often.”
‘And we put it in the script. (My character) Elena says it because that’s what was said to me in Nashville, Tennessee, in 1994.’
During their discussion, Witherspoon also opened up about her Emmy-award winning series Big Little Lies and working alongside the likes of Nicole Kidman – with whom she executive-produces the show – and Meryl Streep, describing the experience as a ‘dream’.
‘Every day, I got excited to go to work,’ she told King.
‘I couldn’t wait to improvise with Laura Dern, or Meryl Streep. Nicole is just a class-act partner, and that began my TV-streaming producing career, these partnerships with incredible women like Nicole and Jennifer Aniston on The Morning Show.’
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