How Do You Know: Interview with Reese Witherspoon

Reese Witherspoon stars in "How Do You Know," the new romantic comedy written/directed by James L. Brooks. The film, which also stars Owen Wilson, Paul Rudd, and Jack Nicholson, is being released by Columbia on December 17.

“If this movie is about one question, it’s ‘How do you know when you’re really in love?’” says Witherspoon.


Working with a legend 


“Jim first called me and said he was thinking about his next movie and he’d like me to play the lead character,” the actress says.  “I was honored and thrilled, because I’m such a huge fan of his work – I thought we were just going to have lunch, and then he said he wanted to write a movie for me.  It was just unimaginable to me that he could think of me in that way.


“So we talked about his ideas a bit, and slowly after that he started sending me scenes and different things he had written as he did the research,” Witherspoon continues.  “It was a great experience, because when I finally got to read the actual, full-length script, I’d already known the character.  I was excited to see where he was going to take her and where she was going to end up.”


“Jim has an extraordinary understanding of the absurdity of normal life,” she says.  “He can look at a very simple, even mundane situation and find it absurd and completely hysterical – that’s the perspective he brings.  He’s also brilliant at drawing characters who are grounded in reality – he finds these times in people’s lives when they are at a crossroads and finds what is so beautiful about those moments.”


On her character


“Her whole life has been based on creating goals for herself and then exceeding them,” says Reese Witherspoon.  “When we meet her in the story, she’s at a crossroads, because she’s uncertain about the future of her career.”


"I think every athlete has the idea in the back of their mind that someday they’re going to have to change paths; a sports career doesn’t last forever,” says Witherspoon.  “But it’s another thing to be suddenly thrown from the ship.  She’s forced to rebuild her life without a clue of how to do it.”




“All we have in movies is detail,” says Reese Witherspoon.  “Detail is what makes a movie funny, it’s what makes it real, what makes it authentic.  It’s why you invest in the characters.  Details from the amount of money people make, how much they travel and how they travel, who their closest friends are, what kind of people they date, what they eat and don’t eat.  All of that informs your character and the story.”