Reese Witherspoon Talks About Shooting Heroin In Wild

Truth rating: 10
Reese Witherspoon Vogue October 2014

By Daniel Gates

Reese Witherspoon Vogue October 2014


Reese Witherspoon is shedding her sweet girl next door image for her racy portrayal in Wild of Cheryl Strayed, a former heroin user who finds herself during a 1,100-mile hike on the Pacific Crest Trail.

The Oscar winner acknowledges she stepped outside her comfort zone by adapting Strayed’s candid memoir with her new production company Pacific Standard.

In the October issue of Vogue, Witherspoon admits a famous director once refused to meet with her for a part because she was “Southern and sweet and huge.”

She notes, “I was like, ‘All right, back to the drawing board.'”

Witherspoon, determined to change Hollywood’s perception of her,” started creating her own roles by producing the films Gone Girl and Wild.

“When people underestimate me, it’s actually a comfortable place for me,” she says. “Oh, that’s what you think I am; well, no, I’m not. I’m a complex human being. I have many different shades.”

The star was in the running to play Amy Dunne, the lead character in Gone Girl, but admits she wasn’t right for the role, stepping aside after learning that the film’s director David Fincher was looking for someone “cool and unapproachable.”

“Whatever I am, I’m not that,” she said of the role that went to British actress Rosamund Pike instead.


But Witherspoon related to Strayed’s experience in Wild and dedicated herself to the role, which required shooting racy sex scenes and learning how to properly inject heroin.

“I just didn’t want to hear, ‘Oh, we don’t want to see Reese have sex… Oh, can we not have any profanity?’” Witherspoon says of choosing to produce the film. “I wanted it to be truthful, I wanted it to be raw, I wanted it to be real.”

While shooting the movie, she and Strayed had long conversations about their past experiences, including Witherspoon being arrested for disorderly conduct, while her husband Jim Toth was busted for a DUI.

Strayed tells Vogue of the incident, “She said to me, ‘When those things happen, it just proves what I’ve always been telling people, and that is I’m not perfect.'”

Witherspoon explains, “Nobody knows what goes on behind closed doors, but I think there’s a general sense now that I’ve lived a pretty…. textured life. So many of the things that Cheryl goes through in the book I’ve been through, you know?”

“I’ve been married, I’ve been divorced. I haven’t lost my mother, but my mother’s mother died in a very similar way, of an aneurysm very suddenly,” she adds, noting, “Cheryl has this idea that the things that have happened to you are part of you. There’s something really beautiful about that idea.”

The actress recalls once reading the The New Yorker and finding herself on a list of actors, whose days of topping the box-office were behind them.

“And there I was thinking I was reading about Ben Stiller!” she says. “Thank God their articles are so long. I was on page six. Nobody can have got that far.”

Witherspoon adds, “It’s not that the roles dried up. They just weren’t as dynamic or as interesting as anything I felt I could do.”

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