April 22, 2009

Reese Witherspoon: Monsters vs. Aliens

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If she was actually 49 feet, 11 inches tall, Reese Witherspoon vowed she'd put on "that cat suit and never take it off." The perky blond actress, who stands 5 foot, 2 inches gets a brief sampling of what it would feel like to graduate from the petite department into a towering heroine in DreamWorks Animation's newly released Monsters vs. Aliens.

"My girlfriend and I first saw the movie together and she turned to me halfway through and said, 'You look really hot.' I said, 'I know, it's not me, but it's awesome.' Just think, without working out, no dieting, she just looks hot all the time," the 33-year-old Academy Award winner for Walk the Line exclaimed.

"I'll be totally honest with you. If I never had to see the inside of a gym again I would be a very happy person. There are people who love it – it's just their thing. I can do it, and I do it for my job because I'm really lucky to have a job, but it's not my first choice of morning activities." The animated role has elevated her image in the mind of Reese's two children, Ava Elizabeth, 9, and Deacon, 5.

"It's nice to have them think that I'm actually kind of cool. Usually they think I'm a really big dork. They are like, 'Mom, stop singing in the car. You're really annoying me.' Now they are like, 'Hey, Mom can we go see your movie again?'" she laughed.

Viewing Monsters vs. Aliens as an opportunity to "reach a wider audience," Witherspoon added, "I think it's got an incredible message about finding yourself and your identity. Not just girls, but guys as well, struggle with the question of 'Who are you?' Are you a person who lives in the shadow of another person so you don't have to be alone, afraid, or find your own strengths? Or are you someone who is willing to take a chance, being a little scared of the unknown, and maybe accomplish great things in your life?"

Taking a trip down Memory Lane, Reese remembered Wonder Woman being her favorite childhood heroine. "I watched Linda Carter over and over again. I had my golden lasso and the whole costume that I must have worn for seven Halloweens."

It was around that time that Witherspoon was tapped to model in a local New Orleans florist's television commercial. A quirky twist of fate, it set her on the course of an acting career.

In 1990, she attended an open casting call hoping to land a bit part in The Man in the Moon. Instead, Reese landed the lead role of Dani Trant, a 14-year-old girl who falls in love with her 17-year-old neighbor. The decade continued with features like Freeway, Twilight, Pleasantville, and Cruel Intentions, in which she costarred with former husband, Ryan Phillippe. Closing the century out was her role as Tracy Flick, the high school over-achiever, in Election, a role that earned her the Best Actress Award from the National Society of Film Critics, a Golden Globe nomination, and an Independent Spirit Award bid.

Pivoting Witherspoon to the top of the Hollywood pay scale was Legally Blonde and its sequel Legally Blonde 2: Red, White & Blonde. Yet it was her portrayal of June Carter Cash in Walk the Line that amassed an entire mantel's worth of awards, including an Oscar, Golden Globe, Screen Actors Guild, and the BAFTA.

Actively involved off screen in a number of children's and women's advocacy organizations, Witherspoon expressed some serious concerns over the effects of the current economical climate. She commented, "It's not just about giving money, but it's about giving time, energy, and effort.

"I think the need is there, more so than ever. I think that what people crave more than financial means is the idea of giving your time and support. That kind of hands on, face-to-face, is what we are missing sometimes. We are so connected to the Internet, talking on cell phones. There is a lot of space between people. Hopefully, our current problems are going to bring communities more closely together."

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