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Reese Witherspoon Endured Such Severe Panic Attacks From This Movie Role, She Underwent Hypnosis

“It changed me on a cellular level.”

When it comes to female-empowerment in Hollywood, Reese Witherspoon is one of the biggest champions. The actress is so dedicated to the cause; she created an entire production company ‘Hello Sunshine’ which aims to break down barriers for women in the industry.

In her most recent interview with Tracee Ellis Ross for Interview magazine, the 45-year old actress got extremely candid with her career experiences and mental health. While there’s no shortage of films she’s had a starring role in, she admitted that one in particular really took a toll.

When asked which role changed her the most throughout her career, Reese replied:

“Probably Wild. I was so scared to do that, Tracee. I had hypnosis, I was so scared. I was having panic attacks for three weeks before I started.”


Explaining why this role in particular was so terrifying for the actress, she said, “There was the nudity, sexuality, and drug-use aspect, but also being alone on camera with no other actors. I hadn’t ever been alone in scenes for days and days. There were probably 25 days of the shoot where I had no other actor opposite me. It was just me and a camera and a backpack. I was like, “Is this going to be so boring?”

As we all know, the movie certainly wasn’t boring. In fact, she scored both Oscar and Golden Globe nominations for it. If you haven’t seen the film, it follows the journey of a recently divorced woman who decides to hike the 1,100 mile-long Pacific Crest Trail – alone. As she progresses further into the trek, she begins to discover herself. It’s a very intense, emotion-inducing movie, so one can only imagine how much Reese put into it.

Speaking about the memoir the film was based on, Reese said:

“Cheryl Strayed’s book was so beautiful and sacred to me because it spoke to me so deeply about how we as women have to save ourselves. There’s no mother or father coming to save us. There’s no spouse. I thought it was radical that at the end of the film, she ends up with no family, no money, no job, no partner, and she’s happy. 

Reflecting on the entire experience, she then added, “I don’t know if I’ll ever work that hard again, but it changed me on a cellular level. “


Things are showing no signs of slowing down for the actress, with her starring role in Legally Blonde 3 being announced earlier this year. The trailer for the second season of The Morning Show also dropped yesterday, where she’ll return to her role as TV host Bradley Jackson alongside Jennifer Aniston.

Speaking about her expansion into television, Reese admits it’s a far greater commitment than movies.

“TV is a bigger commitment than I’ve ever experienced. I just finished season two of The Morning Show and I’ve never worked that long on a project in my whole career. I started when I was 43 and we’re wrapping when I’m 45.”

We love how open and honest Reese has always been about her life, good and bad. She’s been increasingly more candid in speaking about her mental health, especially during the global pandemic. She told E Online that she’d sometimes “lay on the floor and cry” because she’s simply “overwhelmed.” 

Thank you Reese, for always keeping it real. 

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