Reese Witherspoon’s performance in “Wild” may have won her a Best Supporting Actress nomination but it also brought her panic attacks and anxiety so severe she resorted to hypnosis.
Witherspoon shared that revelation with fellow actress Tracee Ellis Ross for a new Q&A in Interview magazine.
“I had hypnosis, I was so scared,” Witherspoon told Ross. “I was having panic attacks for three weeks before I started. There was the nudity, sexuality, and drug-use aspect, but also being alone on camera with no other actors. 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?'”
Despite those issues, Witherspoon, who had optioned the book on which “Wild” is based and served as a producer on the project, was adamant about bringing the story to the screen.
“Cheryl Strayed’s book was so beautiful and sacred to me because it spoke to me so deeply about how we as women have to save ourselves. There’s no mother or father coming to save us. There’s no spouse,” she said. “I thought it was radical that at the end of the film, she ends up with no family, no money, no job, no partner, and she’s happy.”
Added Witherspoon: “I don’t know if I’ll ever work that hard again but it changed me on a cellular level.”
During the interview, Witherspoon also admitted she was in an emotional state of mind.
“My gosh, I’ve been crying a lot this week. I’ll have memories of my kids when they were little, or I’ll remember my favourite English teacher from high school, and I’ll just burst into tears,” she said.
Now that her children are grown, she pondered “the idea of having a long relationship with adult children. I never expected the kind of relationship that I have with them, but it’s so rewarding to be able to have kids that you can process life with a little bit, and they help me understand the complexities of what it means to be a human now. So I’m really, really grateful that these little humans are in my life. Adult humans. I have two adult children now, Tracee. It’s crazy.”