Reese Witherspoon and her producing partner Bruna Papandrea spoke about the need for women to get more involved in filmmaking, both in front of and behind the camera, at the 7th annual Produced By conference at the Paramount Pictures lot in Los Angeles on Saturday.
“Women make up 50 percent of the population, so we should make up 50 percent of the [roles and stories] in movies,” Witherspoon said during the panel, according to the Hollywood Reporter. “It’s not a crazy thought, it’s just a representation of reality.”
Witherspoon, who along with Papandrea produced this year’s Oscar-nominated films Gone Girl and Wild under their Pacific Standard shingle, said that just because women are the main characters in their films, that does not mean the films are strictly for women.
“We share the goal of making movies solely with women at the center of the story,” the actress and producer said during the panel. But, she added: “The films we make aren’t for women, they’re not chick flicks.”
Witherspoon cited her Academy Award-nominated turn in Wild as an example, saying industry executives thought it was “a movie about a girl hiking.”
“It’s actually about a human being,” she said. “It’s about a human being dealing with grief and loss.”
When the panel opened up for audience questions, Witherspoon was reportedly asked if she would ever consider playing Hillary Clinton.
“I’ve actually been asked to play Hillary Clinton a couple of times,” she said. “But didn’t I play her already? When I did meet Hillary Clinton, she said, ‘Everybody talks to me about Tracy Flick in Election all the time.'”
Witherspoon and Papandrea have a busy schedule ahead of them; the duo are next set to produce a film based on the memoir Ashley’s War: The Untold Story of a Team of Women Soldiers on the Special Ops Battlefield. Witherspoon will also produce and star alongside Nicole Kidman in the HBO series Big Little Lies, while Pacific Standard will also produce Lionsgate’s Luckiest Girl Alive, based on the novel by Jessica Knoll.
“We are looking for great female parts,” Witherspoon said during Saturday’s panel. “If she’s the girlfriend or the wife, probably don’t send it to us.”