After what seems like way too long of a romantic comedy hiatus, Reese Witherspoon will star in two Netflix rom-coms, Deadline announced on May 12. That's right, the Oscar-winning actor will finally return to her rom-com roots, and she's doing it with the help from fellow rom-com vet Aline Brosh McKenna, who wrote The Devil Wears Prada, and will direct one of the upcoming films. Witherspoon will also produce the films through her company, Hello Sunshine.
The first film, Your Place Or Mine, will follow the relationship of "two long-distance best friends who change each other’s lives when she decides to pursue a lifelong dream and he volunteers to keep an eye on her teenage son," per the official description. Brosh McKenna, known also for her work on Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, will make her movie directorial debut on the project. She also wrote the screenplay. "So happy about this. Love all these people I get to work with!" McKenna tweeted on May 12, before adding, "And excited to land my first directing gig at the v v v young age of 52." (She clarified on Twitter that this is her first time directing a movie and that her TV directorial debut didn't happen until "the even younger age of 47.")
The second film is titled The Cactus, based on Sarah Haywood's bestselling novel of the same name. Witherspoon will play a 45-year-old woman who becomes pregnant unexpectedly and causes her to "rethink the structured life she has created for herself and leads her on an unconventional journey toward love, family, and learning to embrace the unexpected."
Witherspoon, of course, is no stranger to the rom-com genre — Legally Blonde, Sweet Home Alabama, and Just Like Heaven are just a few on her resumé. As much as she loves a good rom-com, Witherspoon recognizes that in order to make a rom-com today, the same format can't be used. "The romantic comedy as it existed 15 years ago just isn’t viable," she said in a 2017 New York Times interview. "I think people know that every life doesn’t have a happy ending, and they’re not going to be force-fed some idea of what romance is."
A big part of that is making sure that female leads are interested in more than just love, something Witherspoon teased when announcing her new Netflix rom-coms, saying in a statement, "Both Sarah Haywood’s and Aline Brosh McKenna’s stories blend everything we love about traditional RomComs with strongcourse, smart and determined female leads."