ZodGory (zodgory) wrote in ohnotheydidnt,

Witherspoon was Initially Nervous about Acting Alongside Sudanese Refugees

It didn't take much to convince Reese Witherspoon to jump on board The Good Lie.

"The producer sent me the script and I just wept and wept through it," the Oscar winner told me at the movie's premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival. "I thought it was so beautiful about family and it was funny and what does it mean to be a stranger in a strange land?"

Based on real events, the film tells the story of an American woman (Witherspoon) who takes four Sudanese refugees under her wing when they win a lottery for relocation to the U.S. Screenwriter Margaret Nagle told me she always had Witherspoon in mind for the role while she was writing the script.

Sudanese actors were hired to play the refugees, including Emmanuel Jal, who was a child solider during the Second Sudanese Civil War.

"When they first told me they wanted to hire real refugees for the parts, I was a little nervous," Witherspoon admitted. "I didn't know what that was going to be like that."

Fortunately, everything turned out just right. So much so that there's already buzz that Witherspoon could pick up an Oscar nomination for her work (most likely as a supporting actress). "They were teaching me things that I didn't understand and know," Witherspoon said. "In the very end of the movie, we got to go to Africa to the refugee camp that's in the movie. It was a great educational opportunity for me."

Witherspoon is also getting major Oscar buzz for her starring role in Wild, the movie adaptation of Cheryl Strayed's memoir, Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail.

Before showing at TIFF, Wild premiered at the Telluride Film Festival.

Oprah Winfrey, who selected Strayed's book as the first pick for the launch of Oprah's Book Club 2.0, was a surprise guest at Telluride.

"Oprah is amazing," Witherspoon told me. "She is really unbelievable. She is such a force and the fact that she decided to come and support us for Wild, we were thrilled and honored.

Wild is in theaters on Dec. 5.

Tags: adaptations, film - drama, reese witherspoon, side eyeing you

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