Reese Witherspoon kept her promotion going for How Do You Know by granting a long interview to Entertainment Weekly for their current issue. She's been busy chatting up the James L. Brooks film for the last week, including at last weekend's NYC junket, where she chatted about how she loves self-affirmations and dished on working with Robert Pattinson in Water For Elephants. Reese had more to say about shooting with Paul and Owen last year in Washington, DC, and she also opened up about how she's getting pickier about roles. Reese further discussed how she got through her divorce from Ryan Phillippe despite the public scrutiny, and is now moving on and happy with non-actor boyfriend Jim Toth. Reese said:
- On if she kept things together during her divorce: "No, no, I didn’t keep it together. I don’t know what you’re talking about. [Laughs] I mean, I didn’t fall down on a public street and have a meltdown—I did it in my own house! But I wouldn’t say I kept it together. [Pauses] When I think about it from a different perspective, though, I’d say 99 percent of the people who come up to me, the energy is totally positive. Not that people don’t come up and go, “I hated your last movie. It sucked”—and I go, “I know, I’m sorry. Do you want your money back?” [Laughs] But I’m very lucky. I don’t know why, but I have in the past and will hopefully in the future elicit positive feelings from people. You can’t ever feel bad about a life lived like that, where so many people are giving you love and hopefully you’re creating a little bright spot in what can be a really difficult life for someone."
- On the roles available to her now: "I don’t know what happened. I just didn’t read anything I liked. And I think if you don’t work for a while, you get a little, like, stuck. It was particularly hard around the writers’ strike. But it feels different now, too. The movies that are being made feel different. There are a lot of really, really, really big movies about robots and things—and there’s not a part for a 34-year-old woman in a robot movie. I’ve never done the giant robot movie. Never done the superhero movie. That doesn’t interest me too much."
- On what she does when she's not working" "I also have kids, so when I’m not working, it’s not like I’m sitting around doing nothing. I’m taking care of two kids who are rapidly growing up in some bizarre time warp. I mean, somehow I now have an 11-year-old."
- On learning from her past: "I don’t feel bad about any of the things I’ve gone through, whether it’s divorce or breakups or anything like that, because that’s all part of the life journey, and I have those experiences just like anyone else. And I think it deepens what you tap into creatively. My favorite quote is from Martha Stewart: “I have a short memory for painful things.” And I do. I have one of those incredible memories where I just erase painful things. Maybe that’s really unhealthy, and I probably need to see a therapist. But I don’t dwell. You just keep going forward. Also, I have kids. What are you going to do? Are you going to teach them to be one of those people who keep looking in the rear view mirror, or are you going to teach them to be one of those people who go, “Tomorrow’s another day”?"
- On dating actors and non-actors: "Who’s to say? I truly believe you never lose in a relationship. You’ve always gained something. I’m finding that currently it’s been very easy to be with somebody who doesn’t do the same thing but understands what I do on a day-to-day level. But there are always differences. Even if they’re doing the same thing as you, they’re doing it in a different capacity or on a different set."
To read what Reese says about meeting the President in the White House, Googling herself, and not watching her own movies, just read more.
- On meeting Obama at the White House: "We were shooting in Washington, D.C., and we were like, “Do you think we could get into the White House?” So we called somebody and got in. And while we were getting a tour, we got a message from the Oval Office that Obama wanted to say hi to us. We went to the Oval Office, and there was Hillary Clinton having a meeting with Joe Biden. It was insane. Then Obama came out and he turned to Paul and said, “I loved you in I Love You, Man.” I grabbed Paul and I was like [whispering], “Are you freaking out right now?” He’s like, “I’m freaking out!” We were so tongue-tied it was ridiculous. Obama was like, “What are you guys doing in town?” I started talking about the movie and I was like, “We’re doing a movie and…uh, I’m playing a character, who, uh…I’m working with Owen, uh…Owen…” I could not remember Owen’s last name. And Paul goes, “Wilson!” Like it was a party game."
- On Googling herself: "Oh, only in very, very dark moments—moments of pure self-loathing—do I type my name into Google. [Laughs] And I know what I’m in for. You never read anything positive—you always go straight to where you know they’re going to say something nasty about you."
- On not watching her own movies: "I have no idea how people perceive me. I’m chronically unaware of that. I’m self-conscious about other things. Like I can’t even watch playback of myself on a movie. [Director] McG was showing me some footage of This Means War, and I just went apoplectic. I couldn’t talk. I started to cry. I don’t watch any movie I’m in. What’s enjoyable about that? It’s horrifying! I’ll see it in a dark room one time with my managers, who I’ve been with for 18 years, and we’ll talk about it for 10 minutes afterward—and that’s it. [Laughs] I probably shouldn’t say this. I’m getting myself into quicksand. But it’s not for me to enjoy—it’s for other people. I’ll just focus on something stupid, like, “I hate my laugh. Why did I smile?” Sometimes I look at myself and think, “Dude, I have the biggest, goofiest smile on earth.” [Shakes her head] Ugh—it’s just horrifying."