Reese Witherspoon 'Panicked' When Filming Wild's Graphic Drug & Sex Scenes

by Antoinette Bueno 10:14 AM PST, December 02, 2014
Photo: Getty Images

It's safe to say that Reese Witherspoon is way out of her comfort zone when it comes to playing a heroin addict in her new film Wild.

Known for playing the quintessential "good girl" on-screen, Reese is now opening up to Harper's Bazaar U.K. about what it was like filming graphic drug and sex scenes for her buzzworthy new role.

Reese plays the real-life Cheryl Strayed, whose bestselling memoir of the same name details the brutal solo hike Strayed took at the age of 26 along the Pacific Crest Trail.

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"I've never done drugs, so I was really confused," Reese admits. "I didn't know what I was doing. It just required being in a really raw emotional place that didn't feel good."

Photo: Harper's Bazaar

Though according to the Oscar-winning 38-year-old, filming the sex scenes was even harder. One particular scene involves Reese and two other male actors.

"There were small descriptions in the script, but when he started describing what we were going to do, that's when I started to panic," she reveals. "That's, like, three per cent 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.'"

"I would have fired myself a couple of times during rehearsals because I was so scared, oh my God," she adds. "I got my s*it together, but it took me a while."

But though filming was admittedly a grueling experience for Reese, she is proud to take on such a "complex" role.

"It wasn't as if there was a lack of roles being offered to me," Reese says bluntly about fighting for the role of Chery Strayed. "It was the dynamic aspect of playing a really interesting, complicated person that was not readily available. Honestly, I don’t know a woman who isn't complicated. It's strange that you don't see many complicated women on film; complicated meaning complex, I should say.'"

This notion of being "America's Sweetheart" obviously bothers the Southern star, who also dishes to Glamour magazine in another new interview that she doesn't identify with the title.

"I certainly didn't self-identify as anyone's sweetheart," she says. "I'm friendly, but I don't think I'm sweet. I'm honest."

Photo: Glamour Magazine

But taking on one of her most challenging roles to date and being happily married with three kids, Reese is certainly in a great place in life, which she shares comes with age.

"I don't think I realized [in my twenties] that no one else makes you whole," she says. "You have to take responsibility for your own happiness. That took me until I was about 31 to know ... No relationship, no children, no nothing is going to make you a happy person."

That being said, she couldn't be happier with her husband, CAA agent Jim Toth, who she's been married to since March 2011. She was previously married to actor Ryan Phillippe, who she divorced in 2006 after nine years together.

"Well, I have to say a very healing part of my life is my wonderful husband, Jim," she gushes. "It's really wonderful being with somebody who supports me, who loves me, who is my number-one fan. That is such an incredible experience. You have to be ready for those things. I had to be in a place where I felt all those things about myself."

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ET caught up with Reese last month to talk about why she fought so hard to make Wild, and how the book "transformed" her.

Check it out in the video below: