In THR’s annual actress roundtable, this season’s top seven awards contenders — including Amy Adams, Patricia Arquette, Laura Dern, Felicity Jones and Hilary Swank — open up about how to fight the lack of female leads and what you teach your daughter when you yell at a paparazzo to “leave us the f— alone”. This story first appeared in the Nov. 28 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.
If the vibe at this year’s Hollywood Reporter Actress Roundtable was especially convivial, it was because the panel was packed with longtime friends and colleagues. Patricia Arquette, 46 (Boyhood), has known pal Laura Dern, 47 (Wild), for more than two decades; Dern has worked with Julianne Moore, 53 (Still Alice), and currently is promoting her supporting turn in Wild with star Reese Witherspoon, 38; Amy Adams, 40 (Big Eyes), and Hilary Swank, 40 (The Homesman), met each other at THR’s Actress Roundtable in 2010 and stayed in touch after Adams sent Swank a thank-you note; and relative newcomer Felicity Jones, 31 (The Theory of Everything), has been getting to know her self-professed idols while making the rounds this awards season.
The hourlong roundtable, held for the first time in a soundstage on the 20th Century Fox lot and taped to air on the A&E network Dec. 28, featured a candid discussion about everything from Jennifer Lawrence’s hacked photos to the recent attention on Renee Zellweger’s face (“It’s cruel and rude and disrespectful,” says Witherspoon). An edited transcript is below, with the full video available Nov. 25 on THR.com.
Q: What has been your bravest moment as an actress?
HILARY SWANK For me, it would probably have been Boys Don’t Cry, playing Brandon Teena or Teena Brandon. I felt a huge responsibility because it was a harrowing, tragic event that happened and I wanted to be able to tell it as honestly as possible. What about you guys?
REESE WITHERSPOON I played Cheryl Strayed in Wild. And she was standing there the whole time, which was hard. I felt embarrassed for the first three days. Was I doing her voice right? And is she going to judge me? She was amazing and really lovely. But one of the hardest days on that shoot was, I had to do a sex scene with two guys that — I’ve never had to do a sex scene like —
JULIANNE MOORE Two at once? (Laughs.)
WITHERSPOON I called Cheryl that night, and I was like, “I can’t believe I have to do that.” And she was like, “Sorry I was such a slut in the ’90s!” (Laughs.) Laura [Dern] was on the set because she’s an apparition, watching me. She had to literally watch me, and she told me a great story that helped me get through that. But I don’t know if you want to tell that story.