Academy Award-winning actress Reese Witherspoon scored herself another Oscar nod for her role in the new release Wild, but she almost stepped away from the film because of its intense sex scenes.
The film, based on the best-selling memoir by Cheryl Strayed – a former sex and heroin addict who trekked the 4,286 km Pacific Crest Trail on the US east coast to exorcise her demons – has won Witherspoon universal accolades.
The 38-year-old produced the film through her company, Pacific Standard, which also produced Gone Girl, snatching up the rights to the book three months before it was even released.
However, she told website Stylish 365 she almost didn’t go through with the Wild role because the drug-fuelled sex scenes required for the film were too raw.
“I nearly backed out of the film when I started thinking more and more about how I was going to do those scenes,” Witherspoon said.
“I’ve never done sex scenes like that before, and I was feeling a lot of anxiety the closer we came to starting production.
“I even called my lawyer and told him that he had to get me out of the film because I didn’t feel I could do it. I was frantic with worry and told him: ‘I can’t make this movie. I’m going to have to be more raw, more emotional, more sexually explicit than I’ve been in any movie!'”
Fortunately, Witherspoon said her lawyer, some close friends and her husband (producer Jim Toth) calmed her down and convinced her to “toughen up and get on with the job”.
The actress and mother of three added that Strayed’s honest story was important in its portrayal of female sexuality and empowerment.
“Too often, women are made to feel ashamed of their sexual behaviour,” Witherspoon said.
“A lot of women grow up with the impression that casual sex is something bad or shameful and that you can’t be as free about sex as men are allowed to be. Society still attaches a lot of stigma when it comes to women who are very free about sex or having many relationships.
“But this movie is making a point that there’s nothing necessarily wrong with having sex with a lot of different guys.
“There’s something liberating about being able to say that and women shouldn’t feel ashamed or be made to feel ashamed about having an active sex life.
* Read the full interview with Witherspoon at Stylish 365 now.