Reese Witherspoon, Vogue

VOGUE/Mikael Jansson

Get ready to see a whole new side of Reese Witherspoon—because the Southern belle is shedding her sweet and sassy image. 

After a string of box office flops, the 38-year-old beauty is taking a risk, and pushing her acting limits, in the upcoming drama Wild, based on Cheryl Strayed's memoir Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail in which she chronicles her journey of self-discovery across the Pacific Crest Trail following the sudden death of her mother. 

Witherspoon plays Strayed in the film—a role unlike any other and a far cry from past characters such as Elle Woods in Legally Blonde—but according to the Oscar-winning actress, who spoke at length about the forthcoming flick in an interview with Vogue magazine, the mother of three welcomed the opportunity to step out of her comfort zone. 

Reese Witherspoon, Vogue

VOGUE/Mikael Jansson

"When people underestimate me, it's actually a comfortable place for me," she explains to the mag while looking stunning on the October cover in a chic red dress. "'Oh, that's what you think I am; well, no, I'm not.' I'm a complex human being. I have many different shades."

Those various shades will be on full display on the big screen when Wild hits theaters on December 5 as the film provides a painstakingly real portrayal of the rock bottom Strayed hit, dabbling in heroin and taking part in a string of one night stands, as she attempts to cope with her mother's sudden passing.  

"I just didn't want to hear, ‘Oh, we don't want to see Reese have sex. . . . Oh, can we not have any profanity?' " the actress recalls. "I wanted it to be truthful, I wanted it to be raw, I wanted it to be real."

Reese Witherspoon, Vogue

VOGUE/Mikael Jansson

Strayed had to show Witherspoon how to shoot heroin on set— "I was like ‘Come on, people, haven't you guys ever done this?'" the author recalls—and, according to Vogue, the blond stunner even brought in a hypnotist to help calm her nerves before shooting her sex scenes. 

But despite the stark juxtaposition between Witherspoon and her character, the This Means War star did draw upon her own experiences to embody the role of Cheryl Strayed. 

"Nobody knows what goes on behind closed doors, but I think there's a general sense now that I've lived a pretty textured life," she admitted. "So many of the things that Cheryl goes through in the book I've been through, you know? I've been married, I've been divorced. I haven't lost my mother, but my mother's mother died in a very similar way, of an aneurysm very suddenly...Cheryl has this idea that the things that have happened to you are part of you. There's something really beautiful about that idea."

Are you excited to see Reese on the big screen in Wild? Tell us in the comments! 

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