"I want to make optimistic stuff that makes girls excited to be women in this world," Reese Witherspoon said
Reese Witherspoon knows what her fans want.
As Witherspoon, 47, spoke during a panel discussion at Hello Sunshine's inaugural Shine Away Event in Los Angeles on Saturday, the actor and producer said she has always been "obsessed with comedy and things were light and optimistic" when asked what kind of stories she prefers to tell in her work.
"I came to this realization, and I'm sure you guys are going to find this shocking: I'm not meant to be doing dark, heavy, intense, heavy horror, gore, darkness movies," Witherspoon told the event's attendees. "People like to see me do light movies. And I was like, okay. And it's not always like — it doesn't put you in the cool kid club a lot. I don't care."
"I don't want to be in the cool kid club. I really don't," she added. "I want to make optimistic stuff that makes girls excited to be women in this world because it is a wonderful thing to be a woman in this world."
Witherspoon is no stranger to darker and serious acting roles (Election, Wild) but she is best known for comedic roles with films like Legally Blonde and her most recent movie, the Netflix rom-com Your Place or Mine with Ashton Kutcher.
Witherspoon has even maintained a lighthearted tone in her recent writing work with her Busy Betty children's books, the most recent of which she published on Oct. 3.
Hello Sunshine's experiential fan event Saturday offered a variety of panel discussions and interactive activities with various authors, athletes and Witherspoon's friends like Jennifer Garner and Mindy Kaling.
Kaling, 44, agreed with Witherspoon's assessment about "light" material, though she noted that she primarily strives "to entertain" when she works on a film or television project.
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"When people talk about romcoms or chick flicks in these things that are considered light, it's because they star women," she said. "And that's how we've always been sort of subjugated and relegated to that. When I make shows I want to entertain. That's my primary objective."
"I think a lot of people come to this space, they look at me and I'm such an 'other' in so many categories, but I come first to my job as an entertainer," Kaling added.
Elsewhere during the event's panel conversation, Garner, 51, spoke to her strong friendship with Witherspoon when she recalled that Witherspoon helped her while she was "going through a very public, very hard moment in my life" during a pregnancy.
Garner did not specify the difficult life moment she was referring to, but she did go on to share her and Witherspoon's experiences working out together that eased her through the difficult time.
"[Reese] was right there and the way I needed to get through it was dance cardio," Garner said. "And I danced cardio-d so hard, we broke her foot, but she kept going! It was like, okay, we worked out at seven on vacation, we're going to work out again at two. She was like, ‘I'm going to be there. I'm going to be there.' "
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