Why Reese Witherspoon Thinks the Time Is Right for Netflix’s New Romance Limited Series ‘From Scratch’

Why Reese Witherspoon Thinks the Time Is Right for Netflix’s New Romance Limited Series ‘From Scratch’

October 18, 2022

When executive producer and Academy Award-winning actress Reese Witherspoon was tasked with casting a performer to play Amy Wheeler in “From Scratch,” Netflix’s limited series adaptation of Tembi Locke’s memoir, she looked no further than her dinner table.

Witherspoon was dining across from Zoe Saldaña, who was accompanied by her Italian husband and exchanging bits of dialogue in his native tongue, when she realized the “Avatar” star would be the perfect actor to play Amy.

The show is an epic love story about Amy’s whirlwind romance with a hunky Sicilian chef named Lino (Eugenio Mastrandrea), who she meets while studying abroad in Italy. When Lino is diagnosed with cancer, the couple must reconcile with family and navigate their love in the face of imminent loss.

“I don’t know if there’s a lot of romance in the world right now,” Witherspoon told Variety on Monday at the series’ pilot episode screening in Los Angeles. “We haven’t seen a modern romance that’s a true story like this in quite some time, so it’s really beautiful to see Zoe Saldaña — who actually has married an Italian man and speaks Italian on film — to watch that love story happen and know that it is so deeply personal to her.”

Though the project marks Saldaña and Witherspoon’s first time collaborating together, Saldaña was already familiar with some of the cast and crew when she joined the production as an actor and executive producer — particularly Judith Scott, who played her mother in the 2005 comedy “Guess Who.”

“From Scratch” also marks Attica Locke’s second production with Hello Sunshine, Witherspoon’s female-forward media company, following the release of “Little Fires Everywhere” in 2020. On the upcoming release, Attica served as showrunner and worked as an executive producer alongside her sister, Tembi.

“I love stories about fathers and sons, about fathers and daughters, about parents’ relationships with their children,” Keith David — who plays Amy’s father, Hershel — said on the carpet. “How it can get broken, and how it can be mended. How it can be repaired. All of that is part of this.”

Previous Hello Sunshine films have been released on other streaming services like Apple TV+ (“The Morning Show”) or Hulu (“Little Fires Everywhere”), but Witherspoon told Variety that releasing “From Scratch” on Netflix was a deliberate choice to make the cross-cultural romance series more accessible in the international entertainment sphere.

“We just thought it was the perfect platform because of the international aspect of the show,” Witherspoon told Variety. “The nature of the ability for Netflix to just reach people all over the world was something that was really important to us.”

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