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Reese Witherspoon Talks About "Walk the Line"

Witherspoon on Playing June Carter Cash in the Johnny Cash Biopic

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Reese Witherspoon and Joaquin Phoenix star in Walk the Line

Reese Witherspoon and Joaquin Phoenix in "Walk the Line"

© 20th Century Fox.
Reese Witherspoon has become such a familiar face in romantic comedies lately that it’s easy to forget she’s delivered terrific performances in dramas and darker comedies in the past. But her portrayal of June Carter Cash in “Walk the Line” (which is already generating rave reviews) is sure to remind people there are other sides to the star of such romantic comedies as “Legally Blonde,” “Sweet Alabama,” and “Just Like Heaven.”

While promoting her role in “Just Like Heaven,” Witherspoon talked a little about taking on the role of Johnny Cash’s wife in 20th Century Fox’s “Walk the Line” starring Joaquin Phoenix and directed by James Mangold (“Identity”):

Reese Witherspoon on the Oscar Buzz Surrounding “Walk the Line:” “You know, I just take it as it comes. I just want people to see the movie, first of all. It hasn’t even come out.”

Witherspoon added, “It’s just exciting. I just have to focus on what’s right in front of me, so for me right now, I’m just trying to get this movie opened. Then it will be onto the next. It’s very flattering. It’s nice people know who you are.”

Reese Witherspoon on the Difficult Task of Singing Like June Carter Cast in “Walk the Line:” “Well, [it was] nearly impossible so I just tried to be the best version of what I could be, because it was impossible to emulate her. And I’m sure on Joaquin’s part it was pretty difficult to emulate Johnny Cash. But we trained for five and a half months and learned to play instruments, record an album, and worked six or seven hours every day for five months on it. So you can’t say we didn’t try.“

Reese Witherspoon on Researching June Carter Cash: “Coming from Nashville I knew a lot about the Carter family, which is sort of the foremost family of country music. They wrote down a lot of the country songs that were being sung in the backwoods and they put ‘em on paper. So she had a long heritage of just being sort of the spokesperson for country music and the face of country music.

But it was so fun. I got to watch all these different videos and listen to so much music - and tapes of her talking and telling stories. It was very daunting. I was very nervous but I sat down with a couple of her children and just said, ‘I want you to know that I’m just trying my best to honor your mother.’ And that really helps because they were really helpful and supportive. Yeah, it was a lot of work. It was a lot of work.”

On June Carter and Johnny Cash’s Relationship: “…They were just people who were deeply in love with each other but couldn’t be together because he was married or she was married and they didn’t think it was appropriate. And so, you know, it took a long time but they were finally able to be together.”

“Walk the Line” will hit theatres on November 18, 2005.

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