Premiering at Los Cabos International Film Festival in a red-carpet gala, "Wild", produced by and starring Reese Witherspoon gave us all much to laud about
Reese. Opening Wednesday January 3 in U.S., we’ll see if it equals the gross of Danny Boyle’s “127 Hours” (U.S. gross $18,335,230, offshore $ $42,403,567) or Sean Penn’s “ Into the Wild” whose U.S. gross was $18,352,454 and offshore gross was $37,900,786.
I had first heard of Wild when author Cheryl Strayed spoke at Madelyn Hammond’s first annual Motion Picture & Television Fund’s Women’s Conference, “Deal with It”. She spoke
about her experience and handed out signed copies of the book.
In keeping with Los Cabos’ mission of creating the Canadian-U.S.-México connection, the movie is directed by Canadian director Jean-Marc Vallée (“Dallas Buyers Club”) who has created a name for himself in Hollywood
which is taking him next into “Demolition” to star Jake Gyllenhaal and “Get It While You Can” the long gestating biopic of Janis Joplin to star Amy Adams
with his producing partner Nathan Ross who was, his agent at ICM and switched roles after seeing “C.R.A.Z.Y.” at Toronto, and Robert Katz, known for
“Gettysburg” and “Selena” exec producing.
Laura Dern who plays Reese’s mother in the film may be nominated as best supporting actress for her role. The film has been a call to action to other women
to gear up and lean in. With this and her other newly produced film “Gone Girl”, Hollywood has been knocking on — if now down — her door asking Reese
about what her next films are, and she has many films in development.
In her interview with Los Cabos director Alonso Aguilar-Castillo, who saw the film in Telluride and got the Latin American premiere told her how much Cabo
loves the film and that a portion of the ticket bought will go toward feeding the children of the city.
She said it was the most difficult film she ever made, actually taking the 1,100 mile walk across desert, through snow, shooting every day. Emotionally it
was also very intense as the character was very close to her. The author, Cheryl Strayed, sent her the book in November 2011 and she read it in 24 hours
and cried. It was very cinematic as well. She called her the next day. The deal was closed with Jean-Marc Vallée last year at Cabo when “Dallas Buyers Club” was making its Latin
American premiere, so it has made a full circle.
When Alonso sat next to a 50 year old man in the audience who was sobbing, he knew this film connected with the audience. Reese responded that it is most
important to build a bridge to the audience with her work; that is what artists do, they build bridges.
When he asked what her dream role might be she said that this film fulfills many parts that she would never have a chance to play otherwise. But she has so
many ideas and likes to grow with her audience. She does like fantasy and thinks of “Snow White and The Huntsman”.
A Mexican journalist asks, “You have two very strong women in this film; men are like shadows. Did you think about this when you made the film?”
She responded “Yes, it is called a ‘woman’s movie’ but if it were about a man, it would never be called a ‘man’s story’. It is really a universal story.
And her encounters with men are all very positive. It’s about humanity. She learned that she was ultimately safe in the world.”
“I don’t see many complex, dynamic women’s films and so it is important to me that this and ‘Gone Girl’ are successful.”
“How did this film land at 20th Century Fox?” I asked her.
“This was made with private equity, there was no studio money involved. We presented it to all the studios in one day and the second day we received four
offers from four studios. I said that I would not change a single word of writer Nick Hornby’s and we chose 20th Century.”
Reese answered a question about what she thought about working with Eugenio Derbez and she responded that she had asked him to be in her movie, but he was
busy. But she was still talking to Eugenio Derbez and hoped they would make a movie together. The audience loved hearing that!
I later spoke of this to Ben Odell, now partners with Eugenio at 3Pas Studios). He said that actually that would be a great idea but they had not spoken
about it. However, they are both represented by CAA, so it would seem like a natural and really exciting pairing.
After all (I say here), aren’t "Legally Blond" and "Beverly Hills Chihuahua" the same film? She is certainly on a role as a producer with "Wild" and David
Fincher’s "Gone Girl" as Eugenio is with his U.S. career, riding high on the $100 million dollar-grossing “Instructions Not Included” and his first look
deal with Pantelion which also seems to be poised to become part of the Chinese giant competitor of Amazon, Alibaba.
Now is the time for women, Latinos and all the diverse populations to lift their voices, lean in, make movies!!
Thank you Reese Witherspoon for taking up the banner!
"Wild" open today December 3rd.