In Wild, Reese Witherspoon plays a woman who embarks on a 94-day, 1,100-mile hike alone, and the actress says the role is "the hardest I've ever done"—and not just because she had to carry a heavy backpack while filming so her movements would look realistic. The movie is based on Cheryl Strayed's memoir about hiking the Pacific Crest Trail after her mother dies and her marriage ends, and the film includes explicit sex and drug scenes. "The physicality was really difficult, but after that was the emotional part of it," Witherspoon told reporters before last night's European premiere in London. The raw role could pay off, as Witherspoon's performance is generating no small amount of Oscar buzz.
"The sex scenes were the hardest thing for me to do. I've never had to do anything like that in my entire life," Witherspoon continued, according to the BBC. "I had to do all the parts of the movie, the parts that made me feel uncomfortable, too, because it is about emotional honesty." And Strayed herself was there during filming, which initially "scared" Witherspoon, she said, but ultimately, "it would actually help me get into the scene." British novelist Nick Hornby, who wrote the screenplay, underscored Witherspoon's take on the movie: "It's about grief and heroin addiction and promiscuity and being really tough physically and mentally," he said. "So it's not really like any chick flick I've ever seen." (Click to read another recent Witherspoon interview in which she opens up about her other new movie.)