Production Begins on Wild, Starring Reese Witherspoon

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Fox Searchlight Pictures announced today that director Jean-Marc Vallée began principal photography in Oregon this week on Wild. The film stars Oscar winner Reese Witherspoon (Walk the Line, Mud) The screenplay is adapted by Oscar nominated writer Nick Hornby (An Education, High Fidelity) from author Cheryl Strayed’s New York Times #1 best-seller “Wild,” the book that re-launched Oprah’s Book Club 2.0. Pacific Standard’s Witherspoon and Bruna Papandrea (Warm Bodies, All Good Things) are producing with River Road Entertainment’s Oscar-nominated Bill Pohlad (The Tree of Life, 12 Years a Slave). The film’s executive producers are Hornby, Bergen Swanson (The Kids Are All Right) and Nathan Ross (Dallas Buyers Club), Vallée’s producing partner.

Thomas Sadoski (HBO’s “The Newsroom”), Michiel Huisman (World War Z, HBO’s “Treme”), W. Earl Brown (The Lone Ranger, There’s Something About Mary), Gaby Hoffman (Sleepless in Seatle, Veronica Mars) and Kevin Rankin (Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, Dallas Buyers Club) have also joined the cast. The film will shoot on location in Oregon and California.

With the dissolution of her marriage and the death of her mother, Cheryl Strayed (Reese Witherspoon) has lost all hope. After years of reckless, destructive behavior, she makes a rash decision. With absolutely no experience, driven only by sheer determination, Cheryl hikes more than a thousand miles of the Pacific Crest Trail, alone. Wild powerfully captures the terrors and pleasures of one young woman forging ahead against all odds on a journey that maddens, strengthens, and ultimately heals her.

“I am truly honored to have the opportunity to bring Cheryl Strayed’s amazing journey to life on film, and to work with Pacific Standard, River Road Entertainment, Fox Searchlight, and Reese, “says Vallée. “There is so much naked honesty to her book, so much humanity. And I can say the same about Nick Hornby’s screenplay: a page turner. I couldn’t put it down. So emotional. So unique. This tale is not just set in the ‘wild,’ it’s about the ‘wild’ in all of us.”

“Nick Hornby’s script about author Cheryl Strayed’s 1,100 mile trek through largely untouched wilderness captures the poignancy and spirit of the life-altering journey that the author lived 18 years ago. Having Cheryl available to us here in Oregon is invaluable… her spirit, her presence, and her input on the physical and emotional details of her trek are a gift to the production,” said Witherspoon and Papandrea. “We couldn’t mount this challenging production without the unwavering support of Fox Searchlight.”

Claudia Lewis, Fox Searchlight Pictures President of Production states: “We are thrilled to be working with Jean-Marc – as well as Reese, Bruna, and Bill – on his vision of this inspirational and personal story of self-redemption. I can’t imagine another actress who could personify the grit and vulnerability of the character… Reese’s physical and emotional transformation into Cheryl Strayed will be extraordinary.”

Once again joining director Jean-Marc Vallée are director of photography Yves Bélanger, production designer John Paino, editor Martin Pensa, and visual effects supervisor Marc Côté, who all collaborated with Vallée on his acclaimed Dallas Buyers Club, starring Matthew McConaughey, Jared Leto and Jennifer Garner. The costume designer is Melissa Bruning (Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, Parker).

The filmmakers are aided by the cooperation of the State of Oregon, and the Pacific Crest Trail Association in safely and responsibly capturing the wild trail experience for film audiences around the world.

Fox Searchlight Pictures President of Production Claudia Lewis, SVP of Production David Greenbaum and Director of Production DanTran Nguyen will oversee the project.