Reese Witherspoon Talks to Vogue About 'Raw' Sex Scenes in 'Wild'

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Reese Witherspoon on the cover of VOGUE
Reese Witherspoon on the cover of VOGUE

By Allison Takeda 

Reese Witherspoon appears different from her usual self on the cover of the October issue of Vogue, and opens up to the magazine about filming sex scenes for her new movie, Wild.

The girl next door is suddenly a girl gone Wild. After a string of unsuccessful movies at the box office, Reese Witherspoon is ready to take some risks with her career. Her next big film is the Jean-Marc Vallee-directed Wild, which she discusses at length in the October issue of Vogue. (She’s also in the upcoming movies The Good LieInherent Vice, and Don’t Mess With Texas, and she’s a producer on the highly anticipated big-screen adaptation of Gone Girl.) 

Reese Witherspoon in Wild
Reese Witherspoon in Wild

Reese Witherspoon roughing it in ‘Wild’

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Gracing the cover of the magazine in a red eyelet dress, her blonde hair in voluminous retro waves, the Walk the Line Oscar winner even looks different from her usual sunny self. (Commenters on Vogue’s Instagram have criticized the image, saying the mag used “too much Photoshop” and lamenting that the picture “doesn’t even look like her.”) 

Indeed, there’s a perception of Witherspoon, 38, as this sassy but sweet Southern Belle — a perception she hopes to change with Wild and other upcoming films. “When people underestimate me, it’s actually a comfortable place for me,” she told Vogue. “‘Oh, that’s what you think I am; well, no, I’m not.’ I’m a complex human being. I have many different shades.”

Watch Witherspoon answer 73 questions for Vogue, including whatever happened to Tracy Flick?

Not all of the shades are easy for her to wear, but that’s the point. According to Vogue, for her role in Wild, based on Cheryl Strayed’s memoir about hiking the Pacific Crest Trail on a journey of self-discovery after her mother’s sudden death, the Mud actress had to learn how to look like she was shooting heroin, and employed a hypnotist to get her through the racy sex scenes.

"I just didn’t want to hear, ‘Oh, we don’t want to see Reese have sex…Oh, can we not have any profanity?’" she explained tothe magazine of stepping outside her comfort zone for the movie. "I wanted it to be truthful, I wanted it to be raw, I wanted it to be real." 

Witherspoon drew on her own experiences for the film, too. “Nobody knows what goes on behind closed doors, but I think there’s a general sense now that I’ve lived a pretty textured life,” she told Vogue. “So many of the things that Cheryl goes through in the book I’ve been through, you know? I’ve been married, I’ve been divorced,” says the mom of three, who split from Ryan Phillippe in 2008 and married her second husband, Jim Toth, in 2011. 

She added: “Cheryl has this idea that the things that have happened to you are part of you. There’s something really beautiful about that idea.”

Read the full interview with Witherspoon at Vogue.com.

Watch the trailer for ‘Wild’ below: