BootLeg Betty

Reese Witherspoon Acknowledges Using Outrageous Fortune As Inspiration For Movie ‘Hot Pursuit’

USA Today
Reese, Sofia buddy up for ‘Hot Pursuit’
May 7, 2015

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BEVERLY HILLS — They play foes in Hot Pursuit, but it only takes a quick scan of Instagram to see that Reese Witherspoon and Sofia Vergara have a love affair going on.

There they are mugging at the Met Gala, hilariously covering Taylor Swift songs via the app Dubsmash and feeding each other espresso and doughnuts.

On set, “we had a great time,” says Vergara, 42. “I didn’t feel like it was anything forced. Reese is easy to be funny with.”

But in Hot Pursuit (opening Friday), they’re running in opposite directions. Witherspoon plays the bumbling, no-nonsense Officer Rose Cooper, trying her best to haul in Daniella Riva, the glamorous widow of a whistleblower set to bring down a massive drug operation.

“It feels very fresh, this movie,” says Witherspoon, 39, who pulled inspiration from buddy comedy silver-screen pairings such as Shelley Long and Bette Midler in 1987’s Outrageous Fortune. “It’s a new idea.”

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They shot the movie last summer, while Vergara was on hiatus from Modern Family. (Ask Vergara to dream-cast a Witherspoon cameo on her hit TV show, and she pictures her as Manny’s teacher or “an uptight friend of Claire’s.”)

“We were developing this movie even while we were shooting Wild,” says Witherspoon, whose husband, Jim Toth, is Vergara’s agent. “I was like, ‘Honey, can I have a meeting with Sofia Vergara? I think I should make a movie with her. She’s really funny.’ ”

Witherspoon briefly ended up in the ER after a tumultuous fight scene. “I pushed her a little too hard,” Vergara acknowledges with a smile.

Although Witherspoon insists she was back at work the next day, “I had a hard time standing up, and I went to the doctor and they were like, ‘Is somebody pushing you around?’ ” says Witherspoon. “I was like, ‘Yeah, Sofia Vergara.’ ”

Meanwhile, both are building empires as their side pursuits. Vergara has endorsements including Cover Girl, Head & Shoulders and Diet Pepsi, and lines at Kmart and Kay Jewelers. Witherspoon has an active production company, Pacific Standard, and just launched a Southern-inspired e-commerce site, Draper James. “Southern women are so fashionable,” says Witherspoon. “But no one sort of caters to them.”

“Everything I put my name (on), I need to control everything from design to materials,” says Vergara, who became engaged to Joe Manganiello in December. “My perfume took one year to find what I wanted.”

Both stars are hoping moms and daughters celebrate Mother’s Day with a dose of Hot Pursuit. Witherspoon’s ultimate Mother’s Day?

“I love it when my kids just make me a card,” says the mom to look-alike daughter Ava, 15, Deacon, 11 (who waits for Mom around the corner today) and Tennessee, 2. “I tell them they have to be nice to me all day. No bickering!”

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