Reese Witherspoon underwent hypnosis prior to filming ‘Wild’ to treat panic attacks: ‘I was so scared’

Reese Witherspoon
Photo credit Getty Images
By , Audacy

One of Reese Witherspoon’s most acclaimed roles came at a cost to her mental health.

The 45-year-old has opened up on how the emotional toll preparing for her Oscar-nominated turn in the 2014 film “Wild” led to panic attacks.

Witherspoon shared the experience while speaking to Tracee Ellis Ross for Interview magazine.

The conversation got on the subject after Ross asked which of her roles “changed” her the most and Witherspoon said it was “Wild.”

"I was so scared to do that, Tracee. I had hypnosis, I was so scared" she said. "I was having panic attacks for three weeks before I started."

"There was the nudity, sexuality, and drug-use aspect, but also being alone on camera with no other actors," she added. "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?'"

“Wild” is based on Cheryl Strayed’s memoir and deals with her journey of self-discovery walking 1,100 miles of the Pacific Crest Trail.

"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," Witherspoon continued. "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."

"I don't know if I'll ever work that hard again," the mother of three said, "but it changed me on a cellular level."

For the role, Witherspoon received an Academy Award nomination for Best Actress. She previously won a Best Actress Oscar for portraying June Carter Cash in the 2005 film “Walk the Line.”

Audacy's I’m Listening initiative aims to encourage those who are dealing with mental health issues to understand they are not alone. If you or anyone you know is struggling with depression or anxiety, know that someone is always there. Additionally, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 1-800-273-8255.

I'm Listening
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