Reese Witherspoon is the cover star of the February issue of Vogue, which features a story on how the Hollywood talent successfully juggles multiple pursuits (acting, producing, running media and retail businesses) while also serving as one of the entertainment world’s most vocal and effective social activists. But the publisher’s online film that accompanies the piece reveals that Witherspoon has yet another skill: she can read minds.
"Digital Content," the new short from Matthew Frost, captures Witherspoon in the midst of all her multi-tasking--which includes squeezing into her busy schedule some sort of branded content obligation--this very film.
We enter the tale via Witherspoon’s assistant, who predicts there will be issues with this particular project as she pulls pages of script from the printer. “Oh my god, that’s way too much dialogue,” she groans. After she presents the pages and itinerary details to the actress, she gives herself a mental pat on the back. “Nice job. I want to be your best friend. I want to be your best friend,” she says to herself--or so she thinks.
It’s then Witherspoon realizes she can hear people’s thoughts--the assistant’s mental mumblings and then, the sycophantic thoughts of the P.A. on set, making for big moments of “Awkward!” when he actually starts speaking to her.
Frost says the film, produced out of Iconoclast, was inspired by the “unique push and pull” between PR, talent and brand that he’s experienced when working on projects like this. “Some of the lines in the script are directly pulled from correspondence leading up to the shoot,” he says.
Frost's oeuvre largely mines the comedy that can be found in the world of celebrity and fame. His past Vogue jobs include films starring cover subjects Kate Winslet and Jessica Chastain. When creating such films, he says the challenge is “really about coming in with a clear idea that is achievable and hopefully relatable to [the talent] on some level,” as often there’s very little turnaround time. Contrary to what’s implied in the film, “It’s also good if I can explain it without a script even though there is one.”
Along with the short, Frost created an accompanying soundtrack, “Opportunity & Taking Chances,” which examines the story from the P.O.V. of the P.A. as he makes the “leap” to actually speak to Witherspoon.