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Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Wild Fun Facts!

As promised, here's more on my writer's conference at Esalen in Big Sur.* Cheryl Strayed, our lead presenter, shared tidbits on the upcoming movie Wild, based on her novel. Her story captures Cheryl's emotional journey as she undertakes an 1,100 mile hike across the Pacific Crest Trail.
*I couldn't afford this retreat but did it anyway. I say this because I hate the filthy rich and don't want you to think of me that way. By "filthy," I mean people who advertise their material wealth. Anyway...

Onto Wild FUN FACTS:
  • Reese Witherspoon read Wild, then contacted Cheryl Strayed to ask if she could make the book a movie. Cheryl didn't immediately say "Yes!" She very thoughtfully engaged in extensive conversations with Reese before agreeing (what Reese liked most about the book, why she wanted to turn it into a movie, etc.). They became close friends as a result.
  • Wild is an independent film, produced on a budget of "only" $15 million. It was Reese's "little" project.
  • Laura Dern (of Jurassic Park, I Am Sam, and many other roles) plays Cheryl/Reese's mother in the movie. Laura is 47 and Reese is 38.
  • Laura was at the retreat with me (and 150-ish others); Cheryl had invited her; they became close friends on the set. She appeared a humble person and caring Mom to her kids. Laura wore sunglasses in the dining lodge, preferring to maintain a low profile. I tried not to gawk and stare, while trying to gawk and stare.   
  • Cheryl's daughter plays a young Cheryl/Reese in the movie; it's her first acting debut. She's a beautiful, bright spirited girl and looks like a natural in the trailer.
  • Regarding having her book made into a movie, Cheryl said it feels "strange".
  • Reese is forecasted to win an Oscar for her performance as Cheryl Strayed. I'm very excited for Cheryl. You know how you feel as though you've become close friends with a character of a book? Well, I took it to another level. One night I found myself gazing at a wondrous campfire. I was literally knocking elbows with Cheryl Strayed on one side, author Alan Heathcock on the other. The three of us, chatting, laughing, enjoying ourselves. I couldn't believe it and told myself  "Whether or not this is real, DO NOT MOVE. This is the place to be."
  • The trailer looks excellent. I've pasted below.
  • Movie will be released December 5. I rarely see movies, but I plan to be first in line for this one. (Sorry I can't figure out how to post the trailer so it's not so wide.)

What do you think?
Ever taken an 1,100 mile hike? Yeah me neither.
Have you read Wild? Do you plan to see the movie?
Actually, I wasn't a Reese fan until now. It appears to me this may be her best performance yet.

Be well.


  1. Wow.
    I am so very happy that you gave yourself that retreat.
    And, as a fellow non movie goer, this looks good. Very good.

  2. Reese is looking good, and I hope Laura Dern has aged well, I always thought she was fine-looking woman.
    Did Cheryl tell you why she went on a 1000-mile hike?

  3. Thanks, EC. I'm happy I did too - very happy. I agree, it looks great.

    GB, she'd lost her mother and was lost in many ways. She picked up a brochure for the hike and just felt drawn to it. That's what she wrote. It looks as though the movie portrays it all fairly accurately.

  4. The trailer looks so amazing I'm going to have to find the book now!

    I'm so glad you gave yourself this retreat Robyn; you needed it and it's already payed off for you in so many ways.

  5. What an opportunity, Robyn! Glad you splurged and went. Ironic there's only nine years between Reese and Laura. (Connery played Ford's father in Indiana Jones III and there's only a dozen years between them, so why not?)

  6. I am VERY intrigued by this movie. I want to see it. And I love Laura Dern!!

  7. I've heard this is a really good movie. I would like to see it on cable though as I'm not a movie goer. I love both Laura & Reese. I've been a fan of Laura's father since I was a little kid.

  8. Looks like a fantastic movie.
    I'm looking forward to see Reese overcome "Legally Blonde," "Legally Bimbo" or whatever.
    I get exhausted walking down the driveway to check the mail.
    Then again, I'm not as young as Reese. Or Laura, for that matter.

  9. Sounds like a wonderful writer's conference! Sometimes we have to do things to nurture ourselves and just say damn the expense! YOLO

  10. I've never been a fan of Reese Witherspoon because I've only ever seen the movies where's she portrayed as the "ditsy blonde", but this movie actually looks really great! It's already changed my opinion of her, and I have yet to see it. I'm very impressionable.

  11. I really want to see this one.

    I am so incredibly happy for you that you got this Once In A Lifetime Experience. I am certain that you will remember different things from that retreat for MANY years to come. You never know how it will influence your writing or your life... but it is thrilling that it WILL.

  12. It is good to splurge. You don't have to justify it. This will be one of those "look back and be glad forever" that you did it experiences. I read the book - thought it was well written and that she was crazy for undertaking such a challenge. That is so NOT me. But her warmth and love of life shone through - that's cool you saw it up close. I've always liked Reese - she comes across as smart and savvy and plucky. I have no doubt she's perfect for the role. All in all - awesome post

  13. Al, I'm not as young as either, either. I have a year on Laura, and she's got legs twice the length of my body. And why don't they put the mailbox in the bedroom, so we don't have to walk so far to get bills that we don't want to see anyway? Oh Al, you always get me started.

    Chiz, exactly. Legally blonde etc. movies, then the actual real life incident in which she & hubby were arrested for drunk driving. But knowing Cheryl now, and seeing this trailer, I'm very impressed. Plus, she's young & thus impressionable like you.

    I appreciate all your kind words of support. You're right. It was an amazingly profound experience. We have to take care of ourselves. This was very timely and needed.

    If you haven't read Tiny Beautiful Things by Strayed, too, I highly recommend it.

    Hugs and love,

  14. Hey Robyn,

    Good grief, trying to keep up and no success. I'm in the process of moving and yep, all the things that can go wrong, are started to happen. Yay! :)

    I hate the smug rich who seem to think that money makes them superior. Anyway...

    I'm not aware of that book or movie. Of course, I remember Bruce Dern in Silent Running.

    A retreat was well worth it. Well done, dear Robyn.

    I took a 3 day, 100 mile hike, once and only once!

    Be well, my kind friend.

    Gary :) x

  15. Sounds like an awesome retreat and the trailer looks good too. Walking that many miles though, umm err hell no lol

  16. I have (and would never) taken a 1,100 mile hike. Haven't read the book, but, thanks to you, I definitely will.

  17. It does look like a good movie, Reese or not. Despite it's 'small' budget. lol

    Funny how Laura Dern wanted to maintain a low profile by wearing sunglasses inside lol..
    Glad you got to experience this. We have such lame celebrities here.

    ps (when you embed anything from youtube, you have the option of choosing the size. If its too big it goes across your page, so smaller is better, but you can make it bigger if you want).

  18. VERY cool! That's some retreat you went on! I had not heard of this before, but now that I have I must read the book and most definitely, will want to see the movie. :)

  19. Reese's idea of "little" and my idea of little don't quite match up! Sounds like a good one. :)

  20. The movie looks so good. Reese called me, too. She wanted to play me in a movie based on my blog. I thought about it and decided I had to say no. Reese is too old to play me, and sorry to say she simply is not pretty enough.


  21. Our idea of a good hike lasts about 5 hours and ends by cracking a beer on top of a mountain. Not traveling 1,l00 miles and chasing foxes in the snow. But good on her, for the hike, the book, and the movie. That's all very cool stuff, and especially cool that you got to mingle with the folks in the center of it all.

  22. Would love to read the book and watch the movie.

  23. How cool! I don't know about the sunglasses inside the lodge- I mean if you want to go low profile, while wear them inside? And no I've never been on a 1,000 mile hike. I mean that's not a hike, it's torture...think Trail of Tears.

  24. I hadn't heard about this movie but now it's on my must see list. And I'm glad you treated yourself to that conference.

  25. Wow!! What an opportunity for you and for Cheryl. So cool.

  26. What an incredible experience! I'm so excited for you, Robyn! The trailer looks incredible. I've always liked Reece Witherspoon, and Laura Dern. I was disappointed when Laura Dern's show "Enlightened" got canceled last year. Looking forward to the movie, and it sounds like you've made a fantastic new friend!


  27. What an amazing thing for the author to have her whole life transformed like that... and I bet it will be transformed (in many ways).

    And how fun for you that you got to go to the retreat!

  28. I have heard so much about this movie lately. I'll admit, I haven't been very impressed with Reese's last few films, so I am hoping this one turns it around for me. From all the hype, I bet it will!

  29. That is great that you went on the retreat. Taking care of yourself is priority one.

    I've never hiked that far, but I've done several segments of the PCT as training to do the whole thing (over 2600 miles). I never did it and now that I'm older, I wish I had.

    Coincidentally, I have a friend who has a local radio show (about the desert). His station was recently contacted by Fox Searchlight to get Cheryl Strayed booked on his show. I don't know if it's going to happen or not, but now I really hope it does.