Reese Witherspoon has credited her latest movies Wild and The Good Lie for saving her sanity during a bleak period in her acting career.
The Oscar winner admits she was lost as an artist “for a few years” and decided to start making better film choices.
She tells WENN, “I was not able to find what I wanted to do; making choices that I wasn’t ultimately happy with. What kind of started this whole string of things that I was doing personally was getting back to wanting to play interesting dynamic female characters.”
However, when the chance to play an employment agency counselor aiding three Sudanese refugees in The Good Lie came along, Witherspoon was nervous about stepping out of her comfort zone.
She explains, “I didn’t know if I wanted to make the movie because I just had a baby and I was still nursing and taking care of this infant. But then, when I read the script, I was like, ‘How am I gonna do this?’ You know how your brain is just really confused after you have a baby.
“I had to cover up all my post-baby weight! When I met with the director what I really liked is he said, ‘This movie isn’t about you. I just want to be really clear about that’. I never had a director say that to me before. It made me happy because I didn’t want to make a movie where I was a white, American girl coming to save African people. My character is just as emotionally distraught. She’s just as lost, she’s just as without family as they are.
“I thought that was a beautiful opportunity to talk about family is where you find it.”
She had a lot of help getting into character from co-star Ger Duany, who is a former Sudanese refugee.
Witherspoon adds, “I knew very little about the story. I watched documentaries and some stuff on 60 Minutes but I still didn’t know. A lot of things I learned from talking to Ger, who would tell us stories about being a young boy and walking all that way to Ethiopia and then back again to Sudan… and what it was like. It’s hard to even conceive.”