Watching your life flash before your eyes on the big screen can't be easy. It can be even more emotional if you're watching it in person on set. Cheryl Strayed can now join that select club.
The author of the bestselling novel “Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail,” Strayed has seen a dramatic moment in her life brought to the big screen by director Jean-Marc Vallee and producer and star Reese Witherspoon. The movie “Wild” tells the tale of her 1,100-mile trek on the Pacific Crest Trail and how it brought closure to a difficult time in her life.
Speaking to HitFix in a “Wild”-themed set-up in a rustic Hollywood Hills park, Strayed is asked if revisiting any of the locations on the hike was difficult for her to revisit. It turns out the very last day of the film's shoot was in the actual place where her journey began.
“When you see Reese on the side of the road and taking those very big steps on the PCT, that is where I began my hike in June of 1995,” Strayed says. “I was incredibly moved. I had not been back there since then. To be in that very same spot. My life had gone in directions I would have never imagined at that point. I was really brought back to that place. Watching Reese, I remembered how much I hoped for in that moment. How vulnerable I was and how much I was seeking my strength again.”
Witherspoon, who clearly deserves her inevitable Oscar nomination for a fantastic performance, shepherded the project to the screen and eventually decided to play Strayed herself. She had little experience with the sort of hike Strayed embarked upon, but this kind of adventure wasn't out of bounds to her.
“I grew up in Tennessee and running around the countryside doing motocross and go-karting and jumping off of trees,” Witherspoon says. “I wasn't daunted by the wilderness. The thing I think is extraordinary about what Cheryl did on this hike was that she did it all alone. Ninety-four days by yourself. That sounds overwhelming.”
For more of Strayed, Witherspoon and co-star Laura Dern's thoughts on “Wild,” check out the video embedded at the top of this post.
“Wild” is now playing in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Washington, D.C., Scottsdale, Ariz. and Toronto.