In her new film Wild Reese Witherspoon couldn’t be further away from her signature bubbly personality that she showed off for roles in popcorn films like Legally Blonde and Sweet Home Alabama. As real life Cheryl Strayed, Witherspoon is broken, her spirit is frayed, and there’s flashes of sexual promiscuity and illicit drug use. For fans of the actress that are used to her cheery self, Wild is hard to swallow, but for good reason.
Witherspoon’s performance is unlike any other role she’s taken on, even Walk the Line, which she won an Oscar for, seems like it’s in a different realm when compared to her astounding performance in her latest film.
In Glamour’s latest issue, Reese talks about this image of America’s Sweetheart, and how she’s not as sweet as people may think.
“I certainly didn’t self-identify as anyone’s sweetheart. I’m friendly, but I don’t think I’m sweet. I’m honest.”
— Glamour (@glamourmag) December 2, 2014
Of Wild, the actress says that it was her greatest challenge to step into Cheryl Strayed’s shoes. “I was scared of the really emotional scenes. I was scared of the sexuality. I was scared of the grittiness and of being bare on-screen. It’s not just about having no makeup on your face, like I did in the film.”
For someone who was in the limelight for so long, this role was a breath of fresh air. “It’s about not being conscious of how you’re perceived, allowing yourself to be broken, the way she did so fearlessly in the book.”
— ELLE Magazine (US) (@ELLEmagazine) December 2, 2014
Back when she was first starting to promote Wild she snagged headlines by pointing out that the film’s central theme was about sexual liberation.
“It’s such an important message about female sexuality. We kissed that guy or we had sex with that dude in college. We’re totally ashamed of so many things. I think this movie says, ‘That’s OK. Maybe I was meant to sleep with all those guys. Maybe I wanted to. Maybe if I could go back and do it all again, I’d do the same thing.’ It’s a total liberation, especially for young women.”
— Mother Jones (@MotherJones) December 2, 2014
Wild hits theaters on December 5, 2014.
[Image via Fox Searchlight Pictures]