Reese Witherspoon is opening up about feeling like she “didn’t have control over” a sex scene in 1996’s Fear.
During an interview with Harper’s Bazaarpublished online Wednesday, the actress, who has been outspoken about creating opportunities for women to feel safe and empowered in Hollywood, recalled an experience she had earlier in her career.
While filming the James Foley-directed psychosexual thriller, Witherspoon, who was 19 at the time, had to film a sex scene on a rollercoaster with Mark Wahlberg’s character, who was her love interest in the film. Although she remembers requesting a stunt double to take her place for below-the-waist shots, she noted that she “didn’t have control over it.”
“It wasn’t explicit in the script that that’s what was going to happen, so that was something that I think the director thought of on his own and then asked me on set if I would do it, and I said, No,’ ” she explained. “It wasn’t a particularly great experience.”
The film follows teen Nicole (Witherspoon) who falls in love with 23-year-old David (Wahlberg). But their relationship takes a turn when David reveals a darker side to him and becomes possessive of Nicole.
Witherspoon said she didn’t let the traumatic experience stop her from pursuing her goals. She instead said it helped shape her into the woman she is today – someone who is fighting for women to be respected and have their voices heard when it comes to creating projects.
“I’m certainly not traumatized or anything by it, but it was formative,” the actress added. “It made me understand where my place was in the pecking order of filmmaking. I think it’s another one of those stories that made me want to be an agent for change and someone who maybe can be in a better leadership position to tell stories from a female perspective instead of from the male gaze.”
And she has done just that with her production company, Hello Sunshine. The media company has already been behind several projects focused on female leads, including Big Little Lies, Gone Girl, Wild and Daisy Jones & the Six.
Later during the interview, Witherspoon also shared her thoughts on the revival of rom-coms and how she is totally on board with doing more feel-good projects.
Most recently, she starred opposite Ashton Kutcher in Your Place or Mineand she is also set to star in and co-produce You’re Cordially Invited with Will Ferrell.
“I think the human capacity to handle as much heartbreak and tragedy that’s happened in the world is really diminished,” Witherspoon said. “We’re just not meant to feel this overwhelmed by sadness and devastation.”
She continued, “I think of opportunities to make movies and television shows that are joyful, optimistic, funny – just funny. I think about what I want to see on a Friday night, and while I can appreciate a true-crime show or a podcast, I really need some levity. I think the world is looking for a little brightness.”
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