When Reese Witherspoon signed up to play Cheryl Strayed in Wild, she knew she wanted to be as real and truthful as possible.
"I had to make a choice when I decided to do the film on how much I wanted to bear," she told E! News. "I have a real story to tell here because Cheryl was completely honest when she wrote her book."
With that mindset, the 38-year-old agreed to film some naked scenes for the big-screen adaptation.
"It was scary and challenging," she added after signing up. "It's not just a movie about somebody walking. It's really about someone who feels profoundly hurt and lost."
In the highly anticipated film, which will be released Dec. 5, Witherspoon plays a former heroin addict who decided to tackle a 1,100-mile hike after experiencing several tragic events, mainly a devastating divorce caused by drug use and infidelity.
Fox Searchlight Pictures
Despite the physically challenging role, Strayed had big hopes that Witherspoon would ultimately agree to the project. In fact, she was on top of the New York Times bestselling author's list of actresses to portray her.
"I knew her to be a talented actress with wide range," Strayed explained. "Something I always felt with Reese was that no matter what character she was playing, I felt her presence. She was at the top of my list."
Her decision to accept the role has paid off.
The mother-of-three is getting all kinds of Oscar buzz. Plus, those closest to the project can't help but applaud her dedication to the role.
"It's beautiful to see her let go and get out of her comfort zone and say, ‘I am going to produce it, star in it and I am going to do it in a way that's going to be tough and I'm going to be naked and raw, both physically and emotionally,'" Wild director Jean-Marc Vallée recently told E! News.