Aniston makes TV return with Witherspoon

Reese Witherspoon and Jennifer Aniston
Updated 09 November 2017
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Aniston makes TV return with Witherspoon

LOS ANGELES: “Friends” star Jennifer Aniston is coming back to television and she is partnering with Reese Witherspoon.
The Apple streaming service said Wednesday the actresses will star in and produce a behind-the-scenes drama series about a TV morning show.
Aniston came to fame as Rachel on the hit NBC comedy “Friends,” which aired from 1994 to 2004. She then focused on films, including “Office Space,” “Bruce Almighty” and “Marley & Me.”
The Oscar-winning Witherspoon (“Walk the Line”) made a TV splash last season with HBO’s Emmy-winning series “Big Little Lies,” which she starred in and produced with Nicole Kidman. The new series marks a TV reunion for its stars: Witherspoon and Aniston played sisters on an episode of “Friends.”
Landing the buzzed-about project represents a coup for Apple, which said it has ordered two seasons but did not announce the show’s title, release date or whether the shows will be distributed on iTunes or a different platform.
The series was described by Apple as “an inside look at the lives of the people who help America wake up in the morning, exploring the unique challenges faced by the women (and men) who carry out this daily televised ritual.”
It will draw on “Top of the Morning: Inside the Cutthroat World of Morning TV” by Brian Stelter, CNN senior media correspondent. The 2013 book relates the rivalry between NBC’s “Today” and ABC’s “Good Morning America.”
Stelter is a consultant on the drama, and Jay Carson (“House of Cards“) is writing the pilot and is an executive producer along with Witherspoon and Aniston.


Pressures and pains that tear a couple apart

A still from the film.
Updated 19 July 2018
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Pressures and pains that tear a couple apart

DENVER: Like a gallery wall-sized enlargement of a microscopic image, “Scenes from a Marriage” is all about size, space and perspective.
Directed by Ingmar Bergman — whose birth centenary was marked this week — at 281 minutes long, its unwieldly length presents an intimidating canvas, yet the claustrophobic intimacy of its gaze is unprecedented: The two leads are alone in nearly every scene, many of which play out for more than a half-hour at a time.
Premiered in 1973, the work is technically a TV mini-series, but such is its legend that theaters continue to program its nearly five-hour arc in its entirety. A three-hour cinematic edit was prepared for US theater consumption a year later (it won the Golden Globe Award for Best Foreign Language Film, but was ruled ineligible for the corresponding Oscar).
Not a lot a happens but, then again, everything does. Shot over four months on a shoestring budget, its six chapters punctuate the period of a decade. The audience are voyeurs, dropped amid the precious and pivotal moments which may not make up a life, but come to define it.
We meet the affluent Swedish couple Marianne and Johan — played by regular screen collaborators Liv Ullmann and Erland Josephson, both of whom clocked at least 10 Bergman credits — gloating about ten years’ happy marriage to a visiting reporter. This opening magazine photoshoot is the only time we see their two children on camera, and inevitably the image projected is as glossy, reflective and disposable as the paper it will be printed on.
The pressures, pains and communication breakdowns which tear this unsuited pair apart are sadly familiar. The series was blamed for a spike in European divorce rates. It may be difficult to survive the piece liking either lead, but impossible not to emerge sharing deep pathos with them both. Sadly, much of the script is said to be drawn from Bergman’s real-life off-screen relationship with Ullmann.
It’s a hideously humane, surgical close-up likely to leave even the happiest couple groping into the ether on their way out of the cinema.