Reese Witherspoon Wins Bidding War to Produce First Female Army Rangers Film

Reese Witherspoon Wild
Fox Searchlight

Actress Reese Witherspoon’s Pacific Standard production company, in partnership with Fox 2000, has secured the rights to the Gayle Tzemach Lemmon book Ashley’s War: The Untold Story Of A Team of Women Soldiers On The Special Ops Battlefield.

The book, which is set for publication next month, tells of the creation by the U.S. Army Special Operations Command of CST-2, a pilot program of elite handpicked women from the Army who were allowed on the battlefield with Green Berets and Army Rangers in Afghanistan in 2010, reports Deadline.

Witherspoon will reportedly play the leading role as 1st Lieutenant Ashley White, who was killed in action in 2010, in the film adaptation.

The actress has been pushing for more female-driven stories, which ultimately led her to found Pacific Standard with producer Bruna Papandrea.

According to Variety, during a series of top-level meetings with studio executives in 2012, the actress grew frustrated by answers she received from studios in response to the question: “What are you developing for women?”

“I think it was literally one studio that had a project for a female lead over 30,” she said. “And I thought to myself, ‘I’ve got to get busy.’ ”

Witherspoon and Papandrea were quick to pursue the rights to Ashley’s War, reports Deadline, after missing out on Lynsey Addario’s memoir rights.

Director Steven Spielberg and Jennifer Lawrence will instead take on the Addario project, titled It’s What I Do: A Photographer’s Life of Love and War.


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