Reece Witherspoon Rendtion Interview
Shes cute and perky although she wasnt that perky at the Rome International Film Festival. As soon as she hit town the paparazzi got into gear keen to get a photograph of her and new boyfriend Jake Gyllenhall together. They chased the pair all around town and in the end the two gave up and decided to enjoy the sightseeing paparazzi or no paparazzi. Reece Witherspoon was officially in town to promote her latest film Rendtion, (in which Gyllenhall also stars). In the film she plays the wife of an Egyptian national who disappears en-route to the US. Gaynor Flynn caught up with the petite actress at Rome and heres what she had to say.
Gaynor Flynn: If I said to you can you explain the practice ofRendition how would you describe it?
Reece Witherspoon: It started in the 19990s under the Clintonadministration, and it was in response to the growingevidence of terrorist threats that came out of theMiddle East. So the CIA developed a covert programmeknown as extraordinary rendition and what this allowedthe CIA to do was to identify people of interest,apprehend them and them take them to some facility. They basically disappear off the face of the earth asfar as their families are concerned. Its horrendous.
Gaynor Flynn: What made you say yes to this film?
Reece Witherspoon: I thought it was really wonderful. I liked the idea ofpeople living in isolation and I just thought thestory was so far reaching and it was really wellwritten. Then I met with Gavin Hood who had just wonthe Oscar for Tsotsi and he was just so passionateabout the material and really articulate and I likethe idea that hes a South African living in theUnited States of America and I felt that he had aunique kind of stranger in a strange kind of landaesthetic. Particularly the idea of approaching the USgovernment asking for something and trying to find away to actually procure some results so thats when Isigned on to the piece.
Gaynor Flynn: What did you know about the practice of Rendition?
Reece Witherspoon: I never knew this went on and so I learned about it. And as the film progressed we heard about more andmore cases and I was interested in the side of it toldin Africa and the stories the families there had andhow theyre treated like criminals basically and itsso dehumanising.
Gaynor Flynn: So some people could see this as a patriotic, film didthis worry you?
Reece Witherspoon: Not at all. One of my ancestors signed theDeclaration of Independence and I feel like ourcountry is based on the questioning of government bythe people for the people based on the pursuit ofpolitical freedom and religious freedom and those aretwo of the tenants our government was built on. Ithink its wholly American to question your governmentand to question actions particularly if theyre donein a way thats unconstitutional I mean this was apractice put into law without representation by thepeople. It just feel through some sort of loophole andI think its important for the American people to beaware that thats happening, there are laws happeningthat we know nothing about. Its not constitutional.
Gaynor Flynn: But it hasnt changed the law.
Reece Witherspoon: But it shouldnt change civil liberties another pointthat my character in the movie brings up is the amountof privacy weve lost because of 911. Our governmenthas access to our emails to our telephones, to wiretapping to all sorts of things and at a certain pointit feels like the loop hole is just getting bigger andbigger.
Gaynor Flynn: Have you ever wanted to use your fame to speak outagainst what is happening?
Reece Witherspoon: Im not a politician. I feel people are educated,people read a newspaper they form their own politicalbeliefs. Im not here to tell you how to feel aboutpolitics. Im here for the right of human emotionalperspective on something that I find interesting. AndI thought this character was very moving in herdesperation and her desire to keep her family in tact,thats what I connected with. You know I dontconnect to preach my ideas and my beliefs, its notwhat I like....
Gaynor Flynn: Was it a difficult role to play?
Reece Witherspoon: Yeah it was very emotional role to play. Every storythey were all so small but every woman I met with wasvery traumatic and it was a very pivotal moment ineach persons life so yeah it was intense.
Gaynor Flynn: Are films often cathartic for you? Do they allow youto escape or is it just a job sometimes?
Reece Witherspoon: Probably both. Sometimes its a job and sometimesits this great experience where you learn so muchabout yourself and sometimes its about processingwhat youve already been through every moviedifferent.
Gaynor Flynn: Has the Oscar changed your life and your career?
Reece Witherspoon: Ultimately for me its given me a more internationalrecognition because people all over the world see youin a way they havent seen you in certain things thatand its opened up a lot of opportunities for me towork, I would never have been offered these kinds ofroles.
Gaynor Flynn: Was it difficult to choose your next role after theOscar?
Reece Witherspoon: Yeah, there was a lot pressure right after and a lotof people wanted me to do a really big movie, but Iwasnt sure. I just wanted to do something more sortof personal, I wanted something small and sort ofreal.
Gaynor Flynn: What about your production company?
Reece Witherspoon: Were working on a lot of projects and we havePenelope coming out thats starring Christina Ricci inFebruary, Im just working on a lot of projects mainlyabout young women and Im producing another movie withtwo young women its fun with me.
Gaynor Flynn: Do you want to direct?
Reece Witherspoon: Maybe, when my children arent so small and very veryneedy.
Gaynor Flynn: How old are your children now?
Reece Witherspoon: My son is four and my daughter is eight.
Gaynor Flynn: How do you juggle being an actress and a mother? Doyou have nannies? Youre a single mother now.
Reece Witherspoon: Yeah Im a single mom and my mother helps out a lotand I do have a nanny that is very helpful but I dontwork that often, I really try and stay home with mychildren as much as possible this is the only filmIve done in two years. Im about to start a movie,Im nervous. Thats going to be the longest shootIll have been on since 2005.
Gaynor Flynn: Do they come with you to work?
Reece Witherspoon: Yes and I try to move jobs to where I live so theydont have to miss school and things.
Gaynor Flynn: You started acting very young right? You wanted to bean actress from 7 but first role was at 14?
Reece Witherspoon: Yes 14.
Gaynor Flynn: Would you allow your daughter to start at such a youngage?
Reece Witherspoon: You know whatever your children are interested in Ithink its important to support their dreams and Imreally an example of my parents not looking at me likeI was crazy when I said I wanted to be an actor. Theywanted me to be a doctor because theyre both doctorsbut they just really supported me and believed in meand made me who I am today.
Gaynor Flynn: But was it really a conscious choice at that age?
Reece Witherspoon: At seven? Yeah but I didnt do a movie till I was 14but I was mature, my parents had rules so I was onlyallowed to work in the summer and then I had to stayin school and then I had to go to college so they keptme very close to home.
Gaynor Flynn: Given the politics in this film, do you think its timefor a female president in the U.S?
Reece Witherspoon: My daughter and I talk about that a lot. I think itsexciting that there is a potential for that. I thinkwomen are incredible multi-taskers and they thinkabout many, many different things at once so it wouldbe great. This is going to be an interesting electionwith interesting possibilities.
Gaynor Flynn: Whats your life like in between films?
Reece Witherspoon: Its just really about taking care of the kids andthat pretty much wears me out. Then I have work and Ihave girlfriends I have a lot of girlfriends who Ihang out with.
Gaynor Flynn: Do you work out?
Reece Witherspoon: Yeah I like yoga, I run, I go hiking. Im very active,I like being outside so California is good, and itswarm all the time.
Gaynor Flynn: It seems that you do less interviews than a lot ofother actresses. Is that conscious, to try and stayout of the media?
Reece Witherspoon: I want to make sure that when Im doing it I have aproject. I dont do magazine covers to feel good aboutmyself now, its all about your work so when I havework so thats why you dont see as much of me.
Gaynor Flynn: You started so young, but you never went off therails. What saved you do you think? Was it yourapproach to work, that work is work and this is myprivate life?
Reece Witherspoon: Probably I have a real sense of privacy and a bigfamily which is very supportive that always encouragedme that if it doesnt work out you have otherpossibilities in your life and they were never moreinterested in my career than I was so I see thatsometimes, it seems like the mother or the dad is moreinterested in the career than the kid was which wasweird.