Comedian Leanne Morgan on Filming Her First Movie Role With ‘Living Doll’ Reese Witherspoon (Exclusive)

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"

<p>Catherine Powell</p> Reese Witherspoon with Leanne Morgan in Nashville, Tenn., at the Ryman Auditorium in August 2023.

Catherine Powell

Reese Witherspoon with Leanne Morgan in Nashville, Tenn., at the Ryman Auditorium in August 2023.

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.”

<p>Netflix</p> Leanne Morgan in her 2023 Netflix special "I'm Every Woman"


Leanne Morgan in her 2023 Netflix special "I'm Every Woman"

Related: Reese Witherspoon Wishes Her Mom a Happy Birthday: 'Thank You for Always Believing in My Dreams'

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.”)

Related: Leanne Morgan Turned Her Night Sweats and ‘Chicken Fuzz’ Hair Into Netflix Special Comedy Gold (Exclusive)

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!”

<p>JOSEPH LLANES/NETFLIX</p> Comedian Leanne Morgan


Comedian Leanne Morgan

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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