Reese Witherspoon Gets Elected
REESE WITHERSPOON is involved in a vicious high school ‘Election’ in her new movie. She reminisced about her own high school days and gave us the inside scoop about her baby on the way!
Entertainment Tonight: This movie does bring you back to high school. Were you at all similar to your character?
Reese Witherspoon: No. Not at all, thank goodness. My character was so bizarre and over the top. She’s such a chronic overachiever. I wasn’t that motivated in high school. I was doing movies at the same time I was trying to get through high school, so I was just trying to make people not notice me.
ET: What were you like in high school? Did you run for student council ever?
Reese: No, I never ran for student offices. I was just trying to blend in. I was just trying to be like everybody else, because I was doing movies at the time that I was going to high school. It was such a nice time to relax for me.
ET: Your character in this movie is a bit impulsive. Tell me a little bit about her.
Reese: Well, I play Tracey Flick. She’s just a really chronic compulsive and overachieving girl who is determined to do everything just so she can put it on her college application. She’s just one of those people that you couldn’t stand in high school, one of those that just always looked really put together… And always had all the great grades and was president of everything. I knew one of those people that I just couldn’t stand and they always seemed to get ahead. It’s unfortunate and you keep thinking that something bad will happen to her because you can’t stand her so much. But those people just end up succeeding — just like Tracey does in this movie. That’s just life.
ET: I had one of those, too.
Reese: They’re just so perfect. I think this is sort of universal. It’s not just high school. I think people have people in their life that are like this, too. They seem to have the perfect marriage or the perfect job. And you just think, “I can’t stand that person!” You can’t understand why everyone else can get along with them. So that’s a lot of what I tried to tap into with this character. It’s fun coming to work and being the annoying one.
ET: Did you bug everyone on the set?
Reese: I think everybody on the set got a big kick out all of my lines, and they would come to set and act like my character. It was funny. It was endlessly amusing to the crew.
ET: It’s a cool character to get into because it’s so unlike your personality. MATTHEW BRODERICK actually said yesterday that he had to keep up with you. Your energy level was so wonderful. Did you feel that way between the two of you?
Reese: What? That I had more energy than he did? (laughs) I think it was funny because I would come somewhat in character to the set. I would come and I would be kind of perky and high energy, and I would kind of pester him like an annoying little sister. So we had great rapport with each other. It was fun. I had fun sort of picking on him while we were shooting because he’s so passive and he can be so laid back. I enjoyed poking at him with a stick.
ET: He’s really nice, though. He seems like a good person to work with.
Reese: Yes, he is. I was so excited when they called me and told me that Matthew was going to be playing the role of Mr. McAllister. I watched every one of his movies when I was little and I probably had a little crush on him. I just thought that he was so funny and it’s great to see in this movie that it’s sort of the return of Matthew Broderick as the guy that you love to laugh at in the movies. It’s great to see him do that again.
ET: Yes, I think he’s enjoying that.
Reese: He’s just as funny as he ever was. He has just a wonderful sense of humor.
ET: What do you think of the resurgence of teen films today?
Reese: Well, obviously, there’s a huge market for youth-oriented films. Young people are going to see movies. It only makes sense that, if they’re the ones paying the money, they should be getting what they want. It makes sense that all of these movies are kind of teen-oriented. I don’t think this film in particular is teen-oriented, though. I do think this is more of a mature comedy. It’s really about a guy going through a mid-life crisis and he happens to be a high school teacher. Another thing I really love about this film is that it’s everything that you could never imagine about your high school teachers and you can’t imagine them having a real life. It just breaks down all of the walls between students and teachers and gives you an inside look about what this guy’s life is.
ET: It’s sort of scary, too.
Reese: It’s sad! He wears the same outfit, he teaches the same thing every year. My character has this great speech where she says that she can’t believe that he sits there and does that while his students go on to great colleges, move to big cities, have great jobs, and make big money. It’s true. It must be very hard. It’s such a martyr’s job educating for the future of the world.
ET: It’s necessary, but they have to let them go. How much fun would it be to be in high school now, with everything you know?
Reese: Trust me. It’s endlessly frustrating to sit through classes and realize how much mis-information you’re getting. Also, how ridiculously unimportant most of the stuff you’re learning really is. Not to say that everything is, but a lot of it seems a little unnecessary. To get into the role, I went to an all-girls school in Omaha for a couple of days. It was really interesting to be back in that setting.
ET: Did you bond with any of them? Did they know who you were?
Reese: I think that by the second day they figured out who I was. People were throwing stuff at me in the cafeteria saying, “You’re Reese Witherspoon! Why don’t you just tell us who you are? This is ridiculous!” At the end of the day I went on the PA and told everybody that I was who they thought I was. It was really interesting the trauma of walking into the cafeteria and not knowing where I was going to sit and now knowing who were my friends. Oh, it was just awful! But it was good for the show.
ET: How is the baby going to affect your career?
Reese: I don’t know! We’ll just see how it happens. Obviously, this isn’t the time in my life that I would have chosen to do this, but I feel like life gives you these challenges for a reason. I feel so happy and glad to be in the place that I am. I really feel blessed. This is something I need to face and take control of.
ET: How are you feeling physically?
Reese: I feel great, really good. I’ve been having a great time and I’m really enjoying myself. I feel so great to be young and to have this experience.