Reese Witherspoon remembers going through the roller coaster of being a young Hollywood star under the male gaze.
THE Founder of the production company Hello Sunshine said Harper’s Bazaar how the infamous 1996 erotic thriller “To fear– released at the age of 20 – partly inspired her to redirect her career to become an “agent of change” for women in Hollywood.
Witherspoon unpacked the iconic roller coaster scene in which her character is touched by sinister love, played by Mark Wahlberg. Witherspoon noted that she requested a stunt double for below-the-waist scenes; THE movie was directed by James Foley.
“I had no control over it,” Witherspoon said. “It wasn’t explicit in the script that that was what was going to happen, so that’s something I think the director thought of on his own and then asked me on set if I I would, and I said no. It wasn’t a particularly great experience.
Witherspoon continued, “I’m definitely not traumatized or anything, but it was formative. It made me realize where my place was in the movie pecking order. I think it was another one of those stories that made me want to be an agent of change and someone who maybe can be in a better leadership position to tell stories of a female point of view instead of the male gaze.”
The ‘Legally Blonde 3’ star recalled how becoming a mother at 22 impacted her creative decisions, noting that she realized “something had to change” about the roles she took on.
“Who do I want my daughter to see?” I really want to be a woman she looks up to,” Witherspoon said. “I worked on it a lot.”
She added: “I had ‘Election’ and I created Tracy Flick, and I ended up being in ‘Pleasantville’, which was amazing. [My daughter] Ava was asking me the other day where I found these characters, like Tracy Flick, Elle Woods and [Melanie Smooter from] ‘Sweet Home Alabama.‘ I created them all over the span of five, six years in my twenties. Sometimes I look back and wonder, ‘How could I do that?’ »
Witherspoon is about to resume his role as Tracy Flick for an “Election” sequel, titled “Tracy Flick Can’t Win”. Alexander Payne is set to write and direct the 1999 dark comedy sequel, with Tracy Flick now a hardworking but frustrated vice-principal at a public high school in New Jersey, where she’s still vying for the top job. The original 1999 film also starred Matthew Broderick and was nominated for the Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay Based on Tom Perrotta’s Novel.