In Glamour, Reese was interviewed by author Cheryl Strayed, who wrote the book Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail – and whose life Reese portrays in her latest film Wild. Reese gets candid about her family, finding happiness, her fears, and her Oscar buzzworthy role in Wild – sex scenes and all.
In Wild, Reese plays Strayed, a former drug addict who takes a “1,100 mile solo hike on the Pacific Crest Trail following the devastating loss of [her] mother and [her] marriage”.
After she read the manuscript, Reese told Harper’s Bazaar, “I was in a river of tears. I was so moved by Cheryl’s words. I didn’t know who this woman was but I had to call her.” She called Cheryl and said, “I want to hug you. I feel like I know you. I feel like I went on this journey with you. I would love to option this book.”
On playing a former drug addict, she mentioned “I’ve never done drugs. I was really confused. I didn’t know what I was doing.”
Nonetheless, she was able to draw in other emotions in order to play the role, saying “It just required being in a really raw emotional place that didn’t feel good.”
And though she’s an actress by profession, Reese expressed to the magazine the hesitation she experiences at the beginning of every new project. She said, “I think about backing out of everything. I get to the beginning and I’m like, ‘I do not want to make this movie,’. I’ve never had an experience where I was like, ‘I can’t wait to start.'”
Other than intense drug scenes, Wild also has some intense sex scenes, which had Reese scared to do!
“[The sex scenes were], like, three percent of the movie, but it took up a tremendous amount of fear in my mind because it’s daunting. Sometimes I was just terrified. Like a cat on a raft…‘You can’t make me do it.'”
She said similarly to Strayed in Glamour, that “Yes, it’s hard to do sex scenes with strangers…It’s not fun. It wasn’t fun for the guys. I called you so mad! I was like, ‘Please don’t make me do this.'”
For other emotional aspects the role demanded, Reese got into character thinking of her own mother, telling Strayed she thought about three people: “One third you, one third me, one third my mother. My mom’s mother died when she was 50 and my mom was 20—I never knew my grandmother—and my mom still carries that grief. A big part of my performance in Wild is my mother and [her sorrow about] losing her mom at a young age.”
She also expressed what she’d like to teach her own daughter Ava about being a woman: “To not be ashamed about any of her experiences. To live life fully, with curiosity and love, and to be brave.”
Reese had her first child when she was only 23. Cheryl asked her what she’d like to tell 23-year-old Reese, to which she responded, “All those things that you’re worried about are not important. You’re going to be OK. Better than OK. You’re going to be great. Spend less time tearing yourself apart, worrying if you’re good enough. You are good enough. And you’re going to meet amazing people in your life who will help you and love you.”
That being said, Reese, 38, confessed it wasn’t until her 30’s that she figured out how to be happy.
“I don’t think I realized [in my twenties] that no one else makes you whole. You have to take responsibility for your own happiness. That took me until I was about 31 to know. It wasn’t easy to realize, Oh wait, I am purely responsible [for my life]—no relationship, no children, no nothing is going to make you a happy person. Every day you have to choose to find and cultivate your own happiness.”
Wild will begin showing in theaters on December 5th.