Reese Witherspoon says she had panic attacks for 3 weeks before filming 'Wild'

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Reese Witherspoon says she had panic attacks for 3 weeks before filming 'Wild'
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wild reese witherspoon
Reese Witherspoon starred in "Wild" (2014). River Road Entertainment
  • Reese Witherspoon said she had panic attacks for weeks leading up to filming 2014's "Wild."

  • She was not only scared of on-screen nudity, sex, and drugs, but also feared being alone on camera.

  • The actress told Tracee Ellis Ross for Interview on Tuesday that she used hypnosis to calm down.

  • Visit Insider's homepage for more stories.

Reese Witherspoon experienced panic attacks before shooting "Wild," a 2014 film based on Cheryl Strayed's best-selling memoir of the same name, the actress said in a new interview published on Tuesday.

In the Jean-Marc Vallée film, Witherspoon stars as Strayed, a recovering heroin user who embarks on a 1,100-mile hike along the Pacific Crest Trail.

Despite the character's lack of hiking experience, she's determined to complete the grueling journey in an attempt to discover her identity in the aftermath of her mother's death and a divorce. Witherspoon, who also lacked hiking experience like her character, revealed she was uneasy heading into filming.

"I had hypnosis, I was so scared," Witherspoon told Tracee Ellis Ross for Interview, adding, "I was having panic attacks for three weeks before I started."

wild reese witherspoon
Witherspoon played Cheryl Strayed in "Wild." Fox Searchlight Pictures

At the time she signed onto "Wild," Witherspoon was working to reinvigorate her career with increasingly complex and daring roles. But she said the film's more explicit scenes with sex, drugs, and nudity evoked fear.

The forthcoming solitude in Oregon's wild terrain and the looming reality that she would be "alone on camera with no other actors" also led her to panic.

"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.

In order to authentically portray Strayed's experience, Witherspoon went bare-faced in the film and carried her own 75-pound backpack. Her hard work resonated with fans and critics alike, and her performance earned the Hello Sunshine founder an Academy Award nomination for best actress in 2015.

"I don't know if I'll ever work that hard again, but it changed me on a cellular level," Witherspoon said.

Wild movie Reese Witherspoon
Witherspoon was nominated for an Oscar for her performance in "Wild." Fox Searchlight Pictures

The actress and producer previously said that she began therapy at 16 years old to cope with her anxiety.

"My brain is like a hamster on a wheel and it won't come off," she said on Jameela Jamil's "I Weigh" podcast in April 2020. "I've been managing it my entire life."

Witherspoon went on to explain that she struggled to control her mental health after giving birth to each of her children - Ava Phillippe, 21, Deacon Phillippe, 17, and Tennessee Toth, 8.

"After each child, I had a different experience," she explained. "One kid I had kind of mild postpartum. One kid I had severe postpartum, where I had to take pretty heavy medication because I just wasn't thinking straight at all, and then I had one kid where I had no postpartum at all."

Witherspoon said she felt "more depressed" than she ever has while suffering from "severe postpartum."

Read the original article on Insider