Fox Searchlight Pictures Begins Production on “Wild”

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LOS ANGELES, CA  October 11, 2013 – Fox Searchlight Pictures announced that director Jean-Marc Vallée began principal photography in Oregon this week on WILD. The film stars Oscar winner Reese Witherspoon (Walk The Line, Mud). 

The screenplay is adapted by Oscar nominated writer Nick Hornby (An Education, High Fidelity) from author Cheryl Strayed’s NY Times #1 best-seller Wild, the book that re-launched Oprah’s Book Club 2.0.  Pacific Standard’s Witherspoon and Bruna Papandrea (Warm Bodies, All Good Things) are producing with River Road Entertainment’s Oscar nominated Bill Pohlad (The Tree Of Life, 12 Years A Slave).  The film’s executive producers are Hornby, Bergen Swanson (The Kids Are Alright) and Nathan Ross (Dallas Buyers Club), Vallée's producing partner.

Thomas Sadoski (HBO’s “The Newsroom”), Michiel Huisman (World War Z, HBO’s “Treme”), W. Earl Brown (The Lone Ranger, There’s Something About Mary), Gaby Hoffman (Sleepless In Seattle, Veronica Mars), and Kevin Rankin (Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes, Dallas Buyers Club) have also joined the cast.  The film will shoot on location in Oregon and California.

With the dissolution of her marriage and the death of her mother, Cheryl Strayed (Reese Witherspoon) has lost all hope.  After years of reckless, destructive behavior, she makes a rash decision.  With absolutely no experience, driven only by sheer determination, Cheryl hikes more than a thousand miles of the Pacific Crest Trail, alone.  WILD powerfully captures the terrors and pleasures of one young woman forging ahead against all odds on a journey that maddens, strengthens, and ultimately heals her.

"I am truly honored to have the opportunity to bring Cheryl Strayed's amazing journey to life on film, and to work with Pacific Standard, River Road Entertainment, Fox Searchlight, and Reese, "says Vallée. "There is so much naked honesty to her book, so much humanity. And I can say the same about Nick Hornby's screenplay: a page turner. I couldn't put it down. So emotional. So unique. This tale is not just set in the ‘wild’, it's about the ‘wild’ in all of us."

“Nick Hornby’s script about author Cheryl Strayed’s 1,100 mile trek through largely untouched wilderness captures the poignancy and spirit of the life-altering journey that the author lived 18 years ago.  Having Cheryl available to us here in Oregon is invaluable… her spirit, her presence, and her input on the physical and emotional details of her trek are a gift to the production,” said Witherspoon and Papandrea.  “We couldn’t mount this challenging production without the unwavering support of Fox Searchlight."

Claudia Lewis, Fox Searchlight Pictures President of Production states: “We are thrilled to be working with Jean-Marc - as well as Reese, Bruna, and Bill - on his vision of this inspirational and personal story of self-redemption.  I can’t imagine another actress who could personify the grit and vulnerability of the character… Reese’s physical and emotional transformation into Cheryl Strayed will be extraordinary.”

Once again joining director Jean-Marc Vallée (Dallas Buyers Club, Café De Flore) are director of photography Yves Bélanger (Laurence Anyways), production designer John Paino (Kill The Messenger, Margin Call), editor Martin Pensa (Café De Flore), and visual effects supervisor Marc Côté (Immortals, Café De Flore),  who all collaborated with Vallée on his acclaimed Dallas Buyers Club, starring Matthew McConaughey, Jared Leto and Jennifer Garner.  The costume designer is Melissa Bruning (Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes, Parker). 

The filmmakers are aided by the cooperation of the State of Oregon, and the Pacific Crest Trail Association ( in safely and responsibly capturing the wild trail experience for film audiences around the world.

Fox Searchlight Pictures President of Production Claudia Lewis, SVP of Production David Greenbaum and Director of Production Dantran Nguyen will oversee the project.

Fox Searchlight Pictures is a specialty film company that both finances and acquires motion pictures.  It has its own marketing and distribution operations, and its films are distributed internationally by Twentieth Century Fox.  Fox Searchlight Pictures is a unit of 21st Century Fox.

Since its launch in 2012, PACIFIC STANDARD, a full scale film and production company run by partners Reese Witherspoon and Bruna Papandrea, acquired two bestselling novels that are currently in production. The film adaptation of bestselling novel, WILD, in which Witherspoon will star in and produce for director Jean-Marc Vallée (Dallas Buyer’s Club) for FOX Searchlight features. Also in production is GONE GIRL, a novel by Gillian Flynn, a film that David Fincher is currently directing for FOX.    Pacific Standard’s development slate includes the buddy comedy, “Don’t Mess With Texas,” a co-starring vehicle for Witherspoon and Sofia Vergara, as well as “Who Invited Her” at Dreamworks, and “THE Engagements” at Fox 2000. 

River Road Entertainment is one of the leading independent production companies known for developing, producing and financing distinguished feature films and documentaries that astonish, inspire, reveal and provoke, among them is Terrence Malick’s “The Tree of Life,” which was nominated for three Academy Awards® including Best Picture.  The company recently produced Steve McQueen’s “12 Years A Slave” which Fox Searchlight releases on October 18, 2013.  Currently, River Road is in production on “Love & Mercy,” a film centered on Brian Wilson, the mercurial singer, songwriter and leader of The Beach Boys.  River Road founder and CEO Bill Pohlad directs “Love & Mercy,“ which stars John Cusack, Paul Dano, Elizabeth Banks, and Paul Giamatti.


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