Reese Witherspoon on Hollywood stereotypes: 'Don't put me in a box'

Reese Witherspoon is many things: an Oscar winner, perennial best-dressed on the red carpet, and mother of two. But don't let those very public facts give you too many preconceived notions about the 38-year-old.

Reese Witherspoon at a recent charity event in LA

As someone who started her career with light and airy rom-coms like Legally Blonde and Sweet Home Alabama, it can be easy to pigeon-hole the pint-sized Tennessee beauty as sweet, cute and a breezy crowd-pleaser.

"Don’t put me in that box. Or any box, for that matter," Reese said in an interview for the January 2015 issue of Harper's Bazaar UK. "People are complex, on-screen and off. Can’t we do justice to that?"

In recent years, however, her career has taken a turn for the serious with her Oscar-winning turn as June Carter in Walk the Line and her upcoming film Wild, which is already garnering some award season buzz.

Reese on the cover of Harper's Bazaar UK January 2015

In Wild, based on the auto-biographical account of author Cheryl Strayed, Reese plays Cheryl on a post-divorce quest in the form of a solo hike on the Pacific Crest Trail. After reading the book, the actress approached Cheryl on behalf of her new production company, Pacific Standard.

"At the end of it, I was in a river of tears," Reese said of reading the book. "I was so moved by Cheryl’s words. I didn’t know who this woman was, but I had to call her. ‘I want to hug you. I feel like I know you. I feel like I went on this journey with you. I would love to option this book.’"

Reese is already receiving Oscar buzz for her emotionally-charged performance in Wild

One of the many things that attracted Reese to the story was the complexity of the main character Cheryl had written.

"It wasn’t as if there was a lack of roles being offered to me," the Hollywood star said. "It was the dynamic aspect of playing a really interesting, complicated person that was not readily available. Honestly, I don’t know a woman who isn’t complicated. It’s strange that you don’t see many complicated women on film; complicated meaning complex, I should say."

Wild hits theaters December 5.

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