You should see my hotel room this morning,” Reese Witherspoon says.
It’s early in the morning, but she’s all buzzy charm, with a light bulb smile, an easy grace and, evidently, a slightly scattered hotel room.
“It’s chaos!” She laughs. “Pancakes and milk and fruit and teenagers and just—” she pauses, waving her hands over her head, “mess.”
Nothing about her seems like a mess but then, some messiness is unavoidable, given her recent schedule. After a couple of slow years, marked only by the occasional rom-com, Witherspoon appears to be attacking her career with renewed zeal and focus.
“I think, for a few years, I was a little bit lost as an artist, not being able to find what I wanted to do, making choices I wasn’t very happy with,” she says. “What started this whole string of things was just getting back to wanting to play interesting, dynamic characters.”
She has certainly done that. Starting with a small but significant role in 2012’s Mud (a film which, notably, also kickstarted the career of Matthew McConaughey), Witherspoon is easing her way back into the sort of powerhouse films that made her an Oscar winner. She brought the house down at the Toronto International Film Festival for her searing work in Wild, which she also produced. She also has work in Paul Thomas Anderson’s highly anticipated Inherent Vice. Next up, she’ll be starring in Wish List, director Paul Feig’s first film since he changed the comedy game with Bridesmaids.
“They all just happened to come out within three months of each other,” Witherspoon laughs. “I’m having a bit of a traffic jam.”
Walk the Line
The night before this conversation, Witherspoon had attended a party for the premiere of her newest film, The Good Lie, in Nashville, Tennessee.
It sounds strange to say, but it’s true: Reese Witherspoon is just good at being a star. She’s been at it long enough to master a tricky balance. She’s elegant, but approachable. She’s humble, but skirts any sort of fake “aw, shucks” humility. She walks into the room and the guests visibly electrify. She’s short—shorter than you would think—but she positively hums with energy. It’s infectious.