Morgan says Witherspoon, a fellow Tennessean, suggested she play her big sister in the upcoming comedy "You’re Cordially Invited": "That little thing believes in me"
During the pandemic, comedian Leanne Morgan doled out down-home advice to keep spirits up. “I was doing back porch videos telling everybody, 'Everything's going to be all right,' talking about making chicken pot pie and Jell-o salad,’" Morgan says.
And one of the fans who tuned in for her cheer happened to be Reese Witherspoon. “She messaged me and said, 'Keep going Leanne. I really think you're helping people feel better,'” Morgan tells PEOPLE. (The interview was conducted before the SAG-AFTRA strike.)
The two — both Tennessee natives (Morgan lives in Knoxville with her husband, Chuck) — became friends. “She is a living doll,” beams Morgan.
So when Witherspoon was looking for someone to play her big sister in her upcoming comedy with Will Ferrell You're Cordially Invited, she thought of Morgan. “She’s the one who suggested me for the role,” says Morgan, whose comedy special I’m Every Woman debuted on Netflix earlier this year. (Her 2017 special, So Yummy, has more than 50 million views on YouTube.) “That little thing believes in me.”
Morgan, who’s been doing standup since her three grown children were babies, has found new success — and material — as a menopausal grandma (“For this to happen at this time in my life, I’m tickled. I feel like I’m just getting started at 57 years old.”)
Film sets, however, were new to her. “I didn't know anything,” Morgan says of arriving on set in Atlanta in June (filming wrapped before the SAG- AFTRA strike began). “One of my good friends, who's a comedian, she said, ‘Leanne, there's going to be a piece of tape on the floor. Go walk to that piece of tape and then say your line.’ I didn't even know that!”
But, Morgan, who, over the years, has had four sitcom deals fall through, says she loved the whole movie experience. “Everybody on that thing wanted to see me do well,” she says. “They were precious. They answered my questions. They were so sweet and uplifting. I fell in love with everybody on that set, from the craftsmen that were cooking, to the little PAs. I could've squeezed every one of them. It’s all so exciting. I hope I get to do more!”
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