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Reese Witherspoon, Laura Dern, Thomas Sadoski and director Jean-Marc Vallee graced an earth-tone carpet surrounded by trees, Salt and Straw ice cream and other Oregon staples in the middle of Beverly Hills for the premiere of Wild on Wednesday night.
The film, based on Cheryl Strayed’s book of the same name, focuses on her harrowing solo hike up the Pacific Crest Trail, from the Mojave Desert to Portland, Ore.
“The vision was to be honest, to be respectful,” Vallee said. “This is all about Cheryl’s world, Cheryl’s roots.”
Strayed, who reached out to Witherspoon’s production company to option her book herself, said she knew the actress was “the one” to portray her in the movie. She also had praise for Dern, who played her mother, Bobbi, in the film.
“It always makes me cry; every time I see it, I weep,” Strayed said. “And other times, the beauty Laura brought to that role, the way she brings her own optimistic force to embody who my mother really was. … I think Laura made my mom alive again. Her spirit lives on, and I love that this essence of hers is now in Laura.”
“There is a sappy Hollywood version of the book you could have done,” said Nick Hornby, who wrote the script. “Reese didn’t want to do that. She wanted to make the book.”
Hornby said he is attracted to writing the stories of compelling young women, and he lamented the lack of women’s roles in Hollywood.
“I think I’ve just run out of things to say about guys,” Hornby said. “There are so many great actresses and there’s just not enough material for them.”
Wild is distributed by Fox Searchlight Pictures and will hit theaters Dec. 5.
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