Sunday, August 10, 2014

Reel People: Reese Witherspoon is Cheryl Strayed

The film is Wild, directed by Jean-Marc Vallée (Dallas Buyer's Club). The film is written by Nick Hornby based on the memoir Wild: From Lost to Found on The Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed.

Cheryl Strayed

Cheryl Strayed was born in Spangler, Pennsylvania on September 17, 1968. At the age of 5 her family moved to Minnesota. Her parents would divorce, and her mother would remarry. She would later move again to a rural community of Minnesota in a house that there family built after they used an injury settlement to buy 40 acres of land. That home for some time did include electricity or indoor plumbing. At 17 she would graduate from high school having been involved with track, cheerleading, and was homecoming queen.

She would go to the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota for one year, with her mother also attending classes with her at that time. She would later transfer to the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, where she would eventually earn her double major in English and Women's Studies. During her college years she got married and for a period of time they traveled in London and Europe before she returned to Minnesota to finish school. In Cheryl's senior year of college (her mother's as well), her mother, Barbara Ann "Bobbi" Lambrecht was diagnosed with lung cancer. Bobbi died of lung cancer at the age of 45 during Cheryl's senior year.

After college, while writing and traveling throughout the United States Cheryl held a variety of jobs (youth advocate, waitress, emergency medical technician). Her step father also disengaged from her at the time and she became isolated and addicted to heroin. During this time she also divorced her husband Paul.

In June of 1995 she began a solo journey along the Pacific Crest Trail with a plan to begin in Mojave, California and end in Ashland, Oregon. While going on her soul seeker journey she occasionally altered her travel plans by talking a bus and hitching a ride for a short portion. She also traveled with companions she met on the trails as well. As she traveled she also adjusted her path to trek the Oregon-Washington boarder as well. She would end her journey of around 1100 miles at the Bridge of the Gods on the boarder of the two states.

took a  In 1999 she married documentary film maker Brian Lindstrom. They would go on to have two children. Cheryl also went on to get her Masters in Fine Arts at Syracuse University.

In 2006 she would publish her first book, Torch, a novel loosely based on her own experiences facing the death of her mother.

In 2012 she would publish her memoir Wild: From Lost to Found On Pacific Crest Trail, which was a best-seller, assisted by being the first book for Oprah Winfrey relaunched book club in 2012.


The film Wild was optioned by Reese Witherspoon for her company Pacific Standard three months before the memoir publication.  Nick Hornby wrote the screenplay. In addition to Reese Witherspoon staring in the lead role, the film will also feature Laura Dern as Bobbi (Cheryl's mother).

Reese Witherspoon, won an Oscar for her first and nomination for her 2005 performance in Walk the Line, and director Jean-Marc Vallée recently brought Oscar success with his stars in Dallas Buyer's Club. Will Reese Witherspoon earn and academy award nomination or perhaps win a second Oscar for her portrayal of this Real (Reel) Person.

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