Fox Searchlight tapped the rights to Cheryl Strayed’s memoir Wild a few months ago with Reese Witherspoon to not only star, but produce the film about a woman who, at the end of rop, due to the difficulties in coping with the loss of her mother and end of her marriage, decides to hike over a thousand miles of the Pacific Crest Trail alone and without any experience. The book, a 2012 best-seller, was an Oprah book club selection. The film is taking shape as a director has been announced as guide to Witherspoon’s journey – Jean-Marc Vallée. Nick Hornby, whose novels About a Boy, High Fidelity and Fever Pitch have all been transferred to the screen wrote the screenplay. He previously adapted An Education, the Carey Mulligan romantic drama, which earned him an Oscar nomination.
Vallée has the film Dallas Buyers Club heading to theaters this fall, which stars Matthew McConaughey in the true story of a homophobic electrician who battles the pharma-world when he gets infected with the AIDS virus and begins a search for alternative medical treatments and access to drugs. That film, which is being distributed by Focus Features, will premiere in the upcoming Toronto Film Festival and will open wide December 6th. Dallas Buyers Club also stars Jared Leto and Jennifer Garner, and made headlines due to the way McConaughey transformed his famed muscular frame, dropping more than 40 pounds for the role. Vallée’s other films include the Oscar-winning Emily Blunt film The Young Victoria and the queer art house film C.R.A.Z.Y.
Witherspoon, who co-starred earlier this year with McConaughey in the spring art house hit Mud, is in the midst of an impressively busy schedule. Her next film, Devil’s Knot, was directed by Atom Egoyan, and focuses on the real-life crimes of the West Memphis Three (immortalized in the three-part Paradise Lost documentary series). She also has a role in Paul Thomas Anderson’s upcoming thriller Inherent Vice, and a starring role in The Good Lie, concerning a woman who takes in a Sudanese refugee.
As for Wild, which is likely to be a predominantly one actor film (perhaps not unlike Tom Hanks in Cast Away or Sandra Bullock in this fall’s Gravity), it should give the Academy Award-winning Witherspoon the potential for one of her meatiest roles to date. Witherspoon is producing Wild with partner Bruna Papandrea under her Pacific Standard company. Her company is also producing the already announced Gone Girl, another 2012 best-seller, to be directed by David Fincher and starring Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike.