Jennifer Aniston, Reese Witherspoon starring in Apple's streaming TV debut
By David Villafranca
Apple is a novice in the "streaming" sector, but in making its debut in streaming television it is relying on veteran actors, with Jennifer Aniston (L), Reese Witherspoon (r) and Steve Carell (not shown) as the stars of "The Morning Show" series, the big event for the launching of Apple TV+. Photo made available on Oct. 23, 2019. EFE-EPA/APPLE TV/Editorial Use Only/No Sales
By David Villafranca
Los Angeles, Oct 23 (efe-epa).- Apple is a novice in the "streaming" sector, but in making its debut in streaming television it is relying on veteran actors, with Jennifer Aniston, Reese Witherspoon and Steve Carell as the stars of "The Morning Show" series, the big event for the launching of Apple TV+.
Nov. 1 will be the date for the launching of the digital platform and its entry into the "streaming wars" - the heated competition among big entertainment companies for online business.
Apple TV+ aspires to go up against the current top gun in the market - Netflix - and is not allowing itself to be intimidated by new rivals such as Disney+ by making available high-end series with all-star casts such as "The Morning Show."
With a clear feminist component, the series focuses on the day to day operations of a morning news and entertainment show, a TV genre with a long and prestigious US tradition.
Alex (Aniston) and Mitch (Carell) are the ideal professional couple who every day come into millions of homes to bring the news and morning talk, but their program and their lives blow up in their faces when he is accused of sexual assault.
"The show existed before #MeToo happened," Aniston said at a press conference in Los Angeles.
"The show was always going to be pulling a curtain (back) on the New York media world and the behind the scenes of morning talk shows. (But) once #MeToo happened, the conversation drastically changed and we just incorporated it (into the show). ... And we sat and thought what the tone would be. We wanted it to be raw and honest and vulnerable and messy and not black-and-white, obviously," said Aniston, who is also an executive producer on the show, along with Witherspoon.
It is worthwhile to review the success and fame of the cast to get an idea of the star quality Apple TV+ has assembled for its debut.
"The Morning Show" is the first starring TV role for Aniston since "Friends," but her popularity has remained intact over the intervening years. Last week, for instance, she launched her Instagram account and already has 15.9 million followers.
Meanwhile, Witherspoon has become an indispensable beacon for women in Hollywood with a clear stance: If the industry doesn't give you good roles, create them yourself as a producer.
She turned out a triumph with "Big Little Lies," both in front of and behind the cameras, and she is already preparing "Little Fires Everywhere" for Hulu, two examples why last week she was selected by The Hollywood Reporter as the 37th most powerful person in Hollywood, ahead of her being not a single actor or actress but only producers, directors, screenwriters and executives.
And Carell continues to be one of the best-loved actors in the US since his unforgettable role as Michael Scott in the surrealist and still much-watched comedy series "The Office."
Getting back to "The Morning Show," a key element in the series is the relationship between Alex and Bradley (Witherspoon), an intrepid and up-and-coming reporter with a penchant for involving herself in other people's problems.
"I was actually asked by a reporter a few weeks ago, 'So, the show dynamic between Alex and Bradley isn't Thelma and Louise (1991), but it's also not All About Eve (1950), so what is it?' I was like, 'Do you know there are like 7,000 types of relationships women can have with each other? And this is just one of those 7,000 that has never been explored,'" said Witherspoon.
"What I think is really interesting about our characters is that she's existed in a system that barely made space for her," said Witherspoon of Aniston's character in the series.
"She felt lucky to be the only woman in that space. My character comes in and says, 'Hold on. Just one woman isn't enough. There needs to be more,'" she added.
With a tone recalling the brilliance and intensity of Aaron Sorkin (in "The West Wing," for instance), "The Morning Show" also includes Billy Crudup and Mark Duplass in the cast and half of the 10 episodes already in the can were directed by Mimi Leder ("Pay It Forward," 2000).
With a second season already confirmed by Apple, Witherspoon also emphasized the value of the online platforms to foster diversity on TV.
"The reality with emerging social networking and the idea that streaming services actually have empirical data that audiences want to see people of different ages, different backgrounds, it validates our audiences and it creates an opportunity for new voices to emerge and new storytellers to emerge. I am enormously grateful to these streaming services. It has changed my entire career," said Witherspoon.