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Reese Witherspoon is an impossibly successful actress, but she rarely challenges herself … like, really pushes herself to the limit. The talented beauty can sleepwalk through How Do You Know, This Means War, Four Christmases or even Water for Elephants - it’s beyond been-there, done-that. But at the age of 36, it sounds like the A-lister is ready to take a few risks by accepting more complicated parts, and her latest might be Wild.
According to Deadline, Witherspoon and Bruna Papandrea will co-produce the based-on-fact story of Cheryl Strayed, a woman who – in an effort to recover from her mother’s death and a crumbling marriage – hiked a 1,100-mile trail that stretches the Pacific Crest Trail from California to Washington.
Here’s the twist: Deadline says that Witherspoon has asked novelist Nick Hornby (High Fidelity, About a Boy) to adapt Strayed’s memoirs for the screen – a task that usually falls to an outside screenwriter adapting one of Hornby’s books. Said Hornby about the opportunity,
"I loved Cheryl Strayed’s memoir. It’s moving, funny, painful and brave, and the moment I’d finished it I wanted someone to let me have a go at adapting it, because it was clear to me that it could make a wonderful movie. I’m thrilled to be given the chance; the fact that this chance was given to me by Reese Witherspoon, a great actress who feels exactly the same way about the book as I do, makes this project all the more exciting."
Let me clarify: I don’t think Witherspoon can’t challenge herself. I’d like to see her do it more often. When she tears down her superficial barriers she can break your heart in movies like Walk the Line or Election. But Atom Egoyan’s Devil’s Knot, about the West Memphis Three, sounds great, and Wild feels important. Hopefully Witherspoon is turning an important career corner.