"If your nerve deny you, go above your nerve."

These are the first words of the first trailer from the upcoming Reese Witherspoon drama Wild. Based on an incredible true story of resilience and self-discovery, this biopic promises to be an emotional journey. But could it also throw Witherspoon back into the award season spotlight?

See the trailer in hi-res at Apple.

Based on Cheryl Strayed's critically celebrated memoir Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail, Wild aims to unfold the life story of a young woman who felt lost and completely alone at 22. Her beloved mother had died. Her marriage was in ruins. Her family scatted to the winds. Four years clicked by, and her life was in a downward spiral. To stop it, she made an impulsive and impractical decision to hike the Pacific Crest Trail. This journey of 1,000 miles would take her from the Mojave Desert, through California and Oregon, to Washington. And she would do it alone.

This 2012 non-fiction book became a New York Times Best Seller, and earned an enviable spot on Oprah's Book Club's required reading. Reese Witherspoon was quickly counted as one of its fans. By the fall of 2012, she announced plans to team with Bruna Papandrea and co-produce a movie adaptation of Strayed's story. Despite being 12 years older than Strayed was when she made her memorable trek, Witherspoon set herself up to star. Then, rather than turning to Strayed to write the screenplay, Witherspoon chose celebrated novelist and screenwriter Nick Hornby for the job.

In movies, Hornby is best known for having his novels High Fidelity and About a Boy adapted into comedies. But in 2009, he took on the heady task of adapting British journalist Lynn Barber's memoir An Education into a compelling dramatic screenplay. His efforts paid off big, with An Education winning scads of praise as well as earning him an Academy Award nomination for Best Adapted Screenplay. In short, Witherspoon made a strategic call with her screenwriter.

Early on, Lisa Cholodenko was being eyed to helm Wild. But by the summer of 2013, she had left the project, leaving Fox Searchlight seeking a director. They ultimately landed on Jean-Marc Vallée, who had a banner year as helmer of the three-time Academy Award-winning biopic Dallas Buyers Club. Production began in Oregon last October. And now Wild is headed to hit theaters in time for Christmas, prime real estate should Oscar-winner Witherspoon be pushing for further Academy notice.

For the film's first poster, the focus is not so much on the star as it is the path before her.

Wild Poster

Wild opens December 5th.

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