Reese Witherspoon, This Is Your Year

by James Patrick Herman 7:27 AM PST, January 07, 2015
Photo: Getty Images

It takes more than a village to make an award-worthy performance -- it takes a million tiny moments that together create a film or TV show more magical than its parts. This week, ETonline talks with Golden Globe nominees about all the big and small ways stars have to align for a great idea to make it to the screen.

Golden Globe nominee Reese Witherspoon is up for Best Actress in a Motion Picture, Drama for Wild. The multi-tasking mother of three optioned Cheryl Strayed’s best-selling autobiographical novel of the same name and produced the movie. In addition to this passion project, the actress-turned-producer brought Gillian Flynn’s bestseller, Gone Girl, to the big screen and found time to co-star in Paul Thomas Anderson’s Inherent Vice.

VIDEO: Reese Witherspoon is 'Wild' in New Trailer

ETonline caught up with Witherspoon at the Palm Springs International Film Festival over the weekend, where she received the Chairman’s Award for her work on Wild.

ETonline: How did the stars align in this particular case?

Reese Witherspoon: It was a lot of hard work. [Laughs]

Even for an Oscar-winning actress?

Witherspoon: Yes. It took a lot of making a lot of calls and trying to convince people that I was the right person to produce the movie for the first time — and star in it — and that I needed the money and I needed the support and I needed help. And I was amazed that I got the opportunity to do it.

What was your first exposure to the project?

I read the book in galleys in 2011. [Author] Cheryl Strayed sent it to me. I read it within 48 hours — and I just knew immediately that I had to have the chance to play Cheryl in a movie.

How did you eventually get that chance?

I called Cheryl the next day and said: "I don’t know you. But I feel like I went on this journey with you, and I love you." We talked for a long time. And about seven days later she said: "OK. I’ll let you produce the movie. And be in that movie."

Learn more about how Witherspoon fought to get Wild to the big screen in the video below.