Reese Witherspoon has revealed that an “awful… terrible” script she received a few years ago helped make up her mind to move into production and to star in more meaningful projects.

The 39 year old actress, who used to be famous for throwaway movies in the noughties, has undergone something of a renaissance in the last few years, with credits in the likes of Wild and Gone Girl making her one of the more respected female actors in the industry. She also spearheaded the '#AskHerMore' effort on Twitter to get reporters to ask female interviewees more than just about their appearances or family.

Reese WitherspoonReese Witherspoon spoke about an "awful" script she was sent a few years ago

In a round-table discussion for Entertainment Weekly alongside Kerry Washington, Elizabeth Banks and Eva Longoria, she claimed that, around 2012, she was sent a script for a “dumb comedy” that was so bad she resolved at that moment to take on more substantial roles.

“About four years ago I got sent an awful, terrible script,” she explained, “and this male star was starring in it, and there was a girlfriend part. And I thought, 'You've got to be kidding me. No, I'm not interested’.”

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She didn’t name the movie concerned, but said that the filmmakers then tried to persuade her to change her mind afterwards, telling her that “three Oscar winners and two huge box office leading ladies” were also going for the role.

It was this that inspired her to make the change in her own career, but also to highlight problems in the industry itself concerning gender equality. “I thought, 'Oh, that's where we're at? You're fighting to be the girlfriend in a dumb comedy? For what?’,” she recalled. “And by the way, two Oscar winners did it,” she dropped.

Furthermore, Witherspoon revealed that she still has to fight for control of her own projects despite her recent upturn in status. She frequently encounters studio executives “who have given half a million dollars to a big male movie star to run his own company, but won’t pay a woman to do the same thing. But, they want to acquire everything I’m doing with my own money.”

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