INT: Reese Witherspoon

If GHOST and WHEN HARRY MET SALLY... were somehow fused together into one mammoth, unstoppable super chick-flick, that film would be called JUST LIKE HEAVEN. And who better to star in it than box office behemoth and all-around super chick Reese Witherspoon. Thanks to the success of the Legally Blonde films, Witherspoon now ranks among the elite actresses in Hollywood . And yet she still has time for her family. Is there anything she can’t do?

Reese stopped by the Regent Beverly Wilshire recently for a press conference to promote her latest project. Here are some excerpts. JUST LIKE HEAVEN opens this Friday. Check it out.

Reese Witherspoon

How do you feel about the term “chick flick”?

Umm, I’m becoming more comfortable with it.

Is this a “chick flick”?

I don’t know. We’ve got some great parts of it that I think are going to open up the audience a lot. Jon Heder – I think he’s incredibly funny and a great comic talent and he had a role in this that I think is going to widen out his audience a little bit. And it was exciting to work with him, too, because he’s really the real deal. I thought he was going to come in with the puffy, curly hair and the glasses and the dorky suit and the whole thing. (laughs) He’s just a really nice, regular guy, and very funny and witty. And also Mark Ruffalo I think has a very diverse audience that I think opens it up out of the “chick flick” genre. But you know, if your girlfriend drags you (to the movie), you might like it too. (laughs)

Mark Ruffalo seems like somewhat of a risky choice for a film like this. What was it like working with him?

They called me two weeks after I signed on and said that Mark Ruffalo’s our top choice and that (director) Mark Waters really loved him and wanted him and was I ok with that? And I said yeah, it’s a great idea. I was just thrilled. Because I’ve learned that movies can just go the wrong way if someone doesn’t have some genuine emotion and real talent. And I think he did a great job.

Anytime you’re doing a film that requires comedy, you want to have somebody that understands character. And I was really thrilled with how funny he was. I didn’t expect to come to the set and be laughing everyday. He’s kind of silly and…girly sometimes. (laughs) He’s funny. He reminds me a lot of myself. It’s funny, because I said to him at the end of the shoot, “More than any other actor I’ve worked with, you remind me of myself.”

Your character in this film is quite a workaholic. How much did you relate to her in that sense?

It was a big part of my decision to take the part. I read a lot of scripts and I liked the idea that this one had a really great idea at its heart, of nurturing yourself and how important that is, to nurture your spirit. You can work your whole life and take care of other people, but it’s important to spend some time taking care of yourself. And if you don’t, what happens? And I liked that sort of “It’s a Wonderful Life” opportunity of being able to have a second chance.

I like when films have a reason to watch them over again. Whether it’s a surprise or a twist – something a little deeper. I have a busy life, too. That’s a big part of it. There’s times where I feel like I’m on a hamster wheel and I can’t get off. Or a speeding train and I have no idea where I’m going. So it’s nice sometimes to just take a break and step back. And I think a lot of people have these experiences. A lot of people can relate to this working and working and trying to accomplish things and not concentrating on the things that are important.

You get to play a doctor in this one.

It was kind of fun playing a doctor, because my parents are both in the medical profession. And I got to dress up in my scrubs and take lots of polaroids and send them to my parents and say, “Are you happy now? This is what I would have been like.” (laughs)

I like to grow with my roles and I like to think that I’m playing a little bit older, a little bit more mature women as time goes on. And I think this opportunity to play a sort of “everywoman” type character is really the greatest thing when you have a film that with and idea and a message that really speaks to a lot of people. It makes more sense to not play a sort of “out there,” extreme character.

What are your own thoughts about the afterlife?

I hadn’t really thought about it until yesterday, when I started getting lots of questions about it. But I do believe that there is a certain part of your spirit that carries on. I had grandparents that I was really close to and I’ve had moments where I was…like when I was having my children I was in the hospital, I felt like my grandparents were with me. I saw them in the room. It was just sort of a comforting thing – not a spooky thing.

What was it like doing all of the special effects work?

For me it was a really exciting experience, because I’ve never worked with green screen or stop motion cameras. So it was all very much an education for me. It is different. It’s not a very natural process. Poor Mark Ruffalo had to deal with it more than anybody. He had to do every scene like three times. I think it was all a bit maddening for him.

How do you find balance in your own life?

Well, the most important thing in my life is my children. And my marriage. So once I take care of those things in my life, then everything sort of radiates out of that. Everything becomes more easy to deal with. As long as they’re safe and happy and healthy and feeling good, then I feel like I’m free to sort of go out and accomplish whatever I want to do.

Were your children able to stop by the set?

My daughter got to come and get her hair and makeup done. And she tries all the clothes in the wardrobe trailer, and there weren’t many on this one. She was very disappointed it wasn’t Legally Blonde 3. (laughs) But they all got to come and visit, so that’s really nice. And everybody on this film had children. Mark Ruffalo’s wife was pregnant, so that was a little Just Like Heaven baby. She’s so cute. She looks just like Mark. (laughs).

How do you keep your children grounded?

Well Ryan and I grew – he grew up in Delaware and I grew up in Tennessee, so we don’t have a lot of tolerance for children that want their way and that sort of thing. We just sort of raise them with the values that our families raised us with. We don’t give them credit cards or fancy clothes, and we don’t plan on it anytime soon. In fact, we’ve discussed how hard it’s going to be for our children to see us living this nice life and still have to live in an apartment and drive a crappy car. (Laughs) It’s gonna be a real bummer.

Do you believe in soulmates?

I guess I do. I’m very lucky that I met somebody in my life so young who is just my greatest friend, beyond any kind of bump in the road or, you know, the journey of life. We really like each other. We make each other laugh. We like the same crappy television shows – me more than him. (laughs)

What crappy television shows do you watch?

Ummm, I like "What Not to Wear". A good television show I like is "Lost". I just can’t tear my eyes away from it. And I’m like, “Ryan! Ryan! Watch this.” And he’s like, “Yeah, I know, honey.” (laughs) Sometimes he even pretend to watch 30 minutes of it with me and pretends he cares about the plot twists. And I’m like, “Can you believe that just happened?” “No honey, I can’t believe it. That’s really astounding. I’m going to go take a shower.” (laughs)

You get to play June Carter Cash in the upcoming film WALK THE LINE. What was that like?

June Carter was an interesting opportunity that I didn’t really foresee. When Jim Mangold was writing a script about Johnny Cash and he called me and said, “Would you like to play June Carter?” I said, “Isn’t she like 70 or something? I don’t really think I’m ready.” (laughs) And he said, “No no no. It’ll be when they were young and on tour together.” I really didn’t have any…I’m mean I’d grown up in Nashville, but I really didn’t have any knowledge or recollection of them at that time period. So I did a lot of research and five months of singing lessons and autoharp lessons and recording studios and meeting with musicians and recording albums and it was definitely a long journey. It was like the longest rehearsal period I’ve ever had on a film but it was definitely worth it. I think the film is really beautiful and really moving.

Questions? Comments? Manifestos? Send them to me at [email protected].

Source: JoBlo.com



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