"Rendition" director Gavin Hood, whose South African drama "Tsotsi" won the 2005 foreign-language Oscar, said Witherspoon's casting served as a Trojan horse to draw people into the movie.
"I don't need this movie to play to the choir," he said. "I need this movie to play to the people who are deeply skeptical to what I'm doing, so that they can be engaged in the debate. Well, who better to help take that out there to that world than the all-American girl?
"Reese is a woman of integrity. She is not a flighty, fluffy person. She's an intelligent woman who's done great work, who is also an all-American girl. This is the reality. It can happen to Reese. And it could. The girl next door who happens to marry a nice Egyptian guy who was at NYU."
Co-star Peter Sarsgaard, playing an old friend of Witherspoon's character now working for a U.S. senator, said the actress subtly captures a woman coping with a nightmare scenario without giving in to one-note anguish.
"She was playing a grieving woman in every scene in the movie. It's an incredibly difficult thing to do, just because it's hard to act like you're in grief or be in grief. It's hard to create variety within that," Sarsgaard said.
[...] Starting acting lessons as a child in Tennessee, Witherspoon broke into movies with the 1991 teen drama "The Man in the Moon." She later turned heads with 1996's "Freeway," a Red Riding Hood black comedy in which she plays an illiterate youth who goes toe-to-toe with a real-life big bad wolf (Kiefer Sutherland).
[...] In next year's comedy "Four Christmases," Witherspoon and Vince Vaughn play a couple rushing to squeeze in holiday visits to each of their divorced parents all in one day.
Thanks to Maria for sending me the first and second pictures.