Living in the glare of a media life can be a blinding reality, but not for Reese Witherspoon. As she enters her second decade as a major film star, the Southern-born beauty has evolved into the quintessential modern woman on her own terms and with identity intact. Now this Oscar winner's incredibly diversified life is inspiring some bold choices beyond the juggling act, at least on screen. She's tackling her first ever action film done in the classic Reese-style: starring as a woman at the center of a romantic battle in This Means War.
JORGE CARREON: We should have seen this coming. Reese Witherspoon, action star! It was cool to see you in this kind of film. Was that really you behind the wheel during that final car chase?
REESE WITHERSPOON: [LAUGHS] I have a tendency lately to be doing a lot of stunt work. I did all my stunt work on Water For Elephants, too. It was a big stunt year. Now I’m taking a break because I’m a little bit accident-prone. [SMILES]
CARREON: It is interesting to see you in what is generally a role played by men, that object of affection at the center of a battle.
WITHERSPOON: It’s a great fantasy for women to have two men fighting over you. I don’t know a better way to say it. I just think the idea that women are in control and able to choose over so many different aspects of their lives is a relatively new concept in femininity. We are the babies of the equal rights movement, so we are feeling the benefits of having the freedom of choice in many different areas. With everything that women experience, from having babies by themselves, having big careers, running companies and studios, I think women’s options are different now and in regards to who they choose to be their partners.
CARREON: Yet, we have yet to conquer the mysteries of successful dating and relationships. Why does that continue to engage us an audience to watch on screen?
WITHERSPOON: People have infinite hope for love and I think that’s great. It’s part of the human spirit. It’s what wakes you up in the morning. It’s what keeps you going. There’s always that possibility that something great is going to come into your life. I always believe that you never love in vain. Any kind of relationship or friendship you have in your life is meant to be there for a reason and just contributes to who you are as a soul. I think that’s part of it. We feel hopeful. I think there’s a real hopefulness in the movie, too.
CARREON: The film does have a challenging moral issue in this age of confused conservatism, though. Is a “sexual tiebreaker” ever really a good idea in choosing between two men?
WITHERSPOON: [LAUGHS] When we were trying to figure out what we were going to do about whether she was going sleep with these guys or not sleep with these guys, it was very difficult. Out there it’s a totally new world. I got married when I was 22 the first time and I’m married again. I don’t have an extensive knowledge of dating or relationships, so I was asking my single fiends. I was talking to other people who were working on the movie and I think we came up with a nice sort of balance of what is too much in a new relationship. You get to see her sort of tortured by it, too, which is great. She’s crazy about both these guys, she doesn’t know if she should sleep with them, all that kind of stuff.
WITHERSPOON: I’ve had great dates in my life. I’ve been really lucky. I had one incredible birthday where somebody did a treasure hunt for me. I had to go all over the city. It was really special.
CARREON: After reaching such a career high with winning an Oscar for Walk the Line, are you more concerned about the perception of your career choices? Is there something that you still want to essay on screen?
WITHERSPOON: I think it comes less from creating some sort of legacy, really. It’s just things I connect to. I think more in my life now, I’ve been connecting to where I’m from, my culture and my heritage. I’m almost having that moment of wanting to go home a little bit and tell more stories from a Southern perspective. There’s so much heartbreak and so much joy in that environment. I loved The Help. I thought that was such an inspiring film and that gets to my heart because it’s really where I’m from, that area. I look forward to doing more films like that.
CARREON: Do you find nurturing a successful career or home life as being the bigger challenge?
WITHERSPOON: Name a woman who isn’t juggling a million things at one time? I’m just like everybody else, just a working mom. I’m lucky that I get periods of time where I have breaks and then I have periods of time where I’m very busy. My children are sort of acclimated to it now, but yeah, do I wish there was another me? Yes. Do I wish just to take care of all the day to day stuff? All the things that slip through the cracks, all those teacher gifts you wish you had bought, all those personal letters you wish you had written, that are like sitting in your mind? Yeah. But, I’m on the good side of the struggle, so I’m happy. It’s nice to have a full life and to watch my kids growing up and thriving. It’s a wonderful thing.
Watch Jorge Carreon's Video Personalities interview with Reese Witherspoon in the embed to the left of the screen.
This Means War is now playing citywide.
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