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January 11, 2008

Reese Witherspoon's New Passion

Reese Witherspoon

Photo Credit: M. Caufield/Getty Images

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MC: While a lot of actresses get their noses whittled to perfection, Christina Ricci actually strapped on a piggy prosthetic. How did you get her to do that?
RW: Christina is such a trouper — she was enthusiastic about wearing it. All vanity went out the window. I think she has always valued how unique she is and has used that in her performances. I admire her tremendously. As for Penelope's pig nose, it took quite a while to develop. We worked with makeup artists to make it look as authentic as possible.

MC: Unfortunately for Penelope, rhinoplasty is not an option. The only way to break the curse is to get a blue-blooded boy to fall in love with her, but the boys can't run away fast enough. Except for Max, played by James McAvoy...
RW: Yes, James is the heart of the film — his caring and compassion for Penelope is just palpable. He's a really soulful actor, incredibly intelligent and kind. He was a real get for us.

MC: How would you describe your own role in the film?
RW: Annie is a bike messenger in the city, and she talks a lot and has a lot of energy — she's this kind of whirlwind. She helps open Penelope's eyes to the wonders of the world and the excitement of being a free spirit.

MC: You've also started working on a new movie with Vince Vaughn — Four Christmases — about a couple that attempts to visit all their divorced parents for the holidays. How's working with Vince?
RW: I've been a big fan of his for so many years. Vince is one of the only actors working today who makes me laugh in every movie I see him in. Working with him has been a great experience for me, a real exercise in always staying on my toes comedically. I laugh every day at work!

MC: You've said your kids keep you real by barfing on your shoes before awards shows. Is it hard to find time to juggle work and family?
RW: I think, like every working parent, I sometimes feel that there are not enough hours in the day. But overall, I'm very fortunate that my job has a lot of flexibility. I spend a lot of time with the kids, just around the house. They're still pretty young, so I feel like what I can mostly do is listen to them and be there for them.

MC: What worries you most as a mom? And what do you absolutely not worry about?
RW: I worry about my kids growing up and how the world might hurt them. But at the same time, I absolutely do not worry about them growing up — because they have great values and a great sense of self.

MC: One of your ancestors, clergyman John Witherspoon, signed the Declaration of Independence, and your parents have been in medicine for decades. How has your family been a help to you?
RW: I had parents who believed I could do anything — and I know how that made me feel. I think both my parents, having careers in the medical profession, feel they are helping people on a daily basis, and that was inculcated in me as a value. I had to struggle with giving up the idea of becoming a doctor myself.

MC: Are you actually type A?
RW: I have to admit I was dismayed when I found out "type A" refers to a category of risk for heart disease — I thought it was just a nickname my mom gave me!

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