Acting sure is a challenging task, but for Reese Witherspoon starring in the drama “Wild” turned into a feat in itself when she started getting panic attacks before the shoot.
The Legally Blonde star opened up about the toll the 2014 movie posed during a conversation with Tracee Ellis Ross for Interview Magazine.
“Probably Wild,” the 45-year-old actress answered when asked by Ross which of her roles “changed” her the most. “I was so scared to do that, Tracee,” Witherspoon recalled during the interview published Tuesday.
“I had hypnosis, I was so scared,” Reese Witherspoon said of the panic attacks that occurred during the portrayal of her role
Adding, “I was having panic attacks for three weeks before I started. There was the nudity, sexuality, and drug-use aspect, but also being alone on camera with no other actors. I hadn’t ever been alone in scenes for days and days. There were probably 25 days of the shoot where I had no other actor opposite me.”
“It was just me and a camera and a backpack. I was like, ‘Is this going to be so boring?'” she told Ross.
“Wild” is based on the 2012 memoir by Cheryl Strayed whom Witherspoon portrays in the movie. The movie centers on a long, rigorous 1,100 miles hike along the Pacific Crest Trail that Strayed went on. The theme, however, is more than the physical journey. The hike is also a deeply personal emotional journey that Strayed underwent. Something Witherspoon had to capture in her own performance.
“And Cheryl Strayed’s book was so beautiful and sacred to me because it spoke to me so deeply about how we as women have to save ourselves,” Witherspoon admitted. “There’s no mother or father coming to save us. There’s no spouse. I thought it was radical that at the end of the film, she ends up with no family, no money, no job, no partner, and she’s happy.”
Reese Witherspoon received an Oscar nomination for Best Actress in 2015 for her performance in “Wild.” Meanwhile, Laura Dern was nominated for Best Supporting Actress the same year for her portrayal of Strayed’s mother in the film.
However, the panic attacks did seem to sway some of her spirit. She confessed, “I don’t know if I’ll ever work that hard again, but it changed me on a cellular level.”