Reese Witherspoon on being afraid of ‘Wild’ sexuality (Exclusive Video)

“The sexuality was stuff I’d never done before in a film, but I had to make a choice,” admits Reese Witherspoon to Gold Derby editor Tom O’Neil during their recent video chat (watch below) about Oscar contender “Wild.” Also participating in the discussion are her on-screen mother Laura Dern and the real-life Cheryl Strayed, who wrote the book upon which the film is based.

“Cheryl was so honest with her memoir,” Witherspoon says. “I think it was important that I was just as brave and honest as an actress to do the parts that made me afraid.”

Witherspoon looks like a shoo-in to be nominated for the Best Actress Oscar, a trophy she already took home in 2005 for “Walk the Line.” Gold Derby’s Experts, Editors and Users give her 4/1 odds of winning her second Oscar, just behind Julianne Moore (“Still Alice“) with leading 9/5 odds. (See Gold Derby’s official Oscar rankings and racetrack odds.)

Oscars news: Reese Witherspoon goes ‘Wild,’ ‘The Imitation Game’ honored at Palm Springs film festival

“It was definitely the most challenging part I have ever done,” she tells us. “Partly because of the physical aspects of it … being on the top of mountains and being hung off by ropes, or just crossing freezing rivers and falling into them, or just the emotional parts of it.”

Being mostly set outdoors, did anything go wrong during the filming of “Wild”? “Two days before we started shooting, the goverment shut down all national parks. So we basically were scrambling,” Witherspoon reveals. “We had all our money, we had all of our prep work, and every scene of the first five weeks was in a national park. So we scrambled and we moved locations and it all worked out. I don’t know how it worked out, but by the time they re-opened the national parks, we had moved into different things.”

Of Witherspoon’s performance, Strayed coos, “She takes my breath away. I expected so much of her before production began. And by the time production ended, she had so exceeded anything I imagined. I mean, there’s just something about Reese. She’s so natural. She seemed like me to me, which is really saying something. She inhabited the experience so fully, it seemed to be in every cell in her body.”

Laura Dern on the story of ‘Wild’: ‘It cracks your heart wide open’ [Exclusive Video]

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