Based on the true story of Cheryl Strayed, Wild follows a woman trying to rid herself of a destructive lifestyle of heroin abuse and promiscuity. She undertakes a journey of more than 1,000 miles, from the Mojave Desert through California and Oregon to the border of Washington State.
“It’s the hardest movie I’ve ever made in my life,” said Witherspoon in a recent press conference, explaining that to play Strayed she had to shoot on location in tough weather conditions.
“The book started everything,” she continued. “In November of 2011, Cheryl Strayed sent me the manuscript for the book that would be released four months later. I read it in 24 hours on a plane to New York. I was sobbing. I got off the plane and I called my agent and I said, ‘I have to meet this woman. I don’t know who she is. I need to hug her!'”
Directed by Jean-Marc Vallée (Dallas Buyers Club) and co-written by Nick Hornby and Cheryl Strayed, Wild will see Witherspoon play her most gritty, vulnerable and physical part to date. In order to portray Strayed’s troubled past, she had to do a sex scene with two men in an alley, something Witherspoon was extremely uncomfortable with.
“I really didn’t want to do the sex scenes,” she said, explaining that she phoned Strayed before the scene. “[She] said, ‘I’m sorry I was such a slut in the 90s, but you’re just gonna have to do it’.”
With no backpacking experience, 26-year-old Strayed walked alone into the wilderness, over mountains and across desert, and eventually came out the other side.
Wild is released in the UK on January 15, 2015, watch clips and the movie trailer here: