Getting to ‘Know’ Reese Witherspoon
Witherspoon plays struggling athlete caught in love triangle in new comedy
Reese Witherspoon steps out of her comfort zone for her newest comedy, “How Do You Know,” opening Friday.
In this film from James L. Brooks (“Terms of Endearment,” “As Good as It Gets”), Witherspoon, 34, plays Lisa, a fading softball champion who juggles two suitors (Owen Wilson and Paul Rudd). The role takes her leagues away from the lovably perky Elle Woods of her “Legally Blonde” hits.
“The biggest challenge for me was that she’s not verbal, and I’m used to playing really talkative characters, women that speak about their relationships and talk about love and dynamics and boys with their girlfriends,” the Oscar-winning actress (“Walk the Line”) told reporters recently in New York.
“She’s like, ‘Shut up. I don’t want to talk to you right now. I have to go.’ That was a new character for me.”
But true, she discovered, for the female athletes she met.
“A lot of them were like that. They talked about very little other than the game. They never talked about their relationships. I was always trying to get more out of them, and it was really hard.”
Witherspoon noted how Lisa isn’t eager to settle down and have children.
“She isn’t ready to have a family, isn’t even sure if she wants to have a family. I have a lot of friends like that.”
Witherspoon praised Brooks’ ability to capture the emotional honesty of a woman who resists walking a traditional path.
She added, “Obviously, it’s not like myself. I have two kids and a very sort of settled-down life, but it was cool to play that girl.”
She did note one odd similarity: Both she and her character rely on Post-It Notes.
“Oh, yeah. I’m definitely one of those people that has Post-Its everywhere, like, ‘The six evils in the world and how to avoid them.’ I really do: ‘Desire, greed, envy.’ I try to tell myself all those things to avoid. The positive affirmations, I have to say. That ‘Judge not less ye be judged’ is a pretty good one. That’s sort of guided me through life.”