Reese Witherspoon Gets Raw for 'Wild' Role


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To leave the Elle Woods memories behind, Reese Witherspoon embarks on riskier career choices.

Witherspoon helped produce two highly anticipated films that hit the big screen this fall: Wild and Gone Girl. Director David Fincher's new suspense drama Gone Girl comes out next month. The film stars Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike as a complex married couple with lots of dark secrets. In December, Witherspoon stars in Wild, a film about a hiking trip that helps a woman overcome her grief. Gone Girl takes on a subject matter you wouldn't associate with Witherspoon, while Wild shows the complexities of her acting.

Wild, based on Cheryl Strayed's memoirs Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail, forced Witherspoon to challenge herself as an actress. The film is about Strayed's rockbottom because of her mother's sudden death. She engaged in one night stands and heroine usage. Witherspoon graced the cover of Vogue's October issue.

In the magazine she shared some of her acting struggles, and issues with playing this character. "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 revealed. "I wanted it to be truthful, I wanted it to be raw, I wanted it to be real."

Embracing the role of Cheryl wasn't as easy as Witherspoon expected. During the filming of Wild, Strayed had to show the Legally Blonde actress how to shoot heroine. Witherspoon also had some trouble filming the sex scenes. According to Vogue, she needed a hypnotist on set to calm her during sex scenes.

Despite some of Strayed's coping methods, Witherspoon relates to her struggles. "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...Cheryl has this idea that the things that have happened to you are part of you. There's something really beautiful about that idea," Witherspoon shared.

Wild hits theaters December 5.