A Chat with Reese Witherspoon from Sing

REESE WITHERSPOON plays Rosita in the animated film Sing. Here is what she had to say about the whole thing...
Q. Were you looking forward to working with Illumination Entertainment?

Oh yes, I was excited about the idea of working with Chris Meledandri and Illumination. We are big fans of Despicable Me in my house and Minions is my youngest son’s favorite film, so we watched that a lot, too! I just think they do a great job at making movies that are likeable to grownups and kids of all ages. And I loved being a part of a quality family film that is about joyful things and that celebrates life.

Q. Having done it before on numerous occasions, what is your favorite thing about voicing a character in an animated movie?

That it’s so freeing and creative. There are endless possibilities! That experience of having no boundaries is kind of magical.

Q. Like in your Oscar-winning performance for Walk the Line, you sang all your songs. How was that experience this time around?

It was really good. We had great musical producers like Harvey Mason, who was amazing and really encouraging. He let me sing Firework and Shake it Off a million times! They just really helped me with the whole performance aspect of it all.

Q. Those performances say a lot about your character, Rosita.

Yes, because they let you know how she is feeling: strong, weak…

Q. Mothers all over the world are going to love Rosita.

I hope so, because the truth is that she is that invisible mom that no one really values or realizes has a song in her heart. I think mothers everywhere can relate to her and hopefully kids will appreciate that their moms were real people before they were mothers and that they had their own dreams.

Q. It takes a while for her husband to appreciate that too…

Yes, which is precisely why I find the moment so beautiful when Rosita’s husband runs up on stage and kisses her.

Q. How important is it for Rosita to be selected for this singing contest?

It’s very important because I think she feels invisible. And I think that a lot of women feel that way too when they become a mom, as they stop working and then don’t know how they are going to get back to what they wanted to accomplish. Some women have a loss of identity. So, I think it’s great that Rosita gets this opportunity because she is thrilled to be a part of this group of people.

Q. There is a lot of strength and courage in her.

Yes, although she does feel a bit defeated when she can’t get her steps right. Then, she has her great breakthrough moment in the grocery store when she thinks no one is watching. I love watching people dance and enjoy themselves without fearing the judgment of others. There is something really beautiful about that.

Q. And we can all relate to her fear of failing.

For sure! I have been scared many times in my life, but sometimes you just have to do it and be brave enough to try. And it certainly helps when it works out well, because then you are willing to take an even bigger leap.

Q. What do you like about this story?

I like that it has such a hopeful message and also that there are all these multi-generational characters in it. There are a lot of great aspects of family represented in the film.

Q. Why do you believe Garth Jennings, who makes his directorial debut in animation with SING, was the right filmmaker for this project?

I think Garth does a great job at being compassionate about each character. He would tell me why he related to Rosita and who she was in his life. It’s just great to approach character with humanity and an understanding of where you want him or her to end up. You could sense that he was a real leader and he does that with a lot of benevolence and kindness. You just want to do anything for someone who is so supportive.

Q. In addition to this, Garth is the voice of Miss Crawley, Buster Moon’s secretary.

I love Miss Crawley and I think she is so funny! The way she walks in her little orthopedic shoes just cracks me up.

Q. At its core, SING is about relationships.  The film is also a love letter to music. What part does it play in your life?

Yes, and I like how the movie sets up these conflicts and is capable of resolving them by the end. It’s a lot!

Music is a big part of my life. Growing up in the South, I listened to a lot of country music, which made me want to be a storyteller.

Q. What did you think of SING when you finally saw it?

It was a great cinematic experience. There was real tension and I was surprised by how emotional I got at times.

Q. Did your kids enjoy it too?

They loved it! And it’s nice for them to participate in something I am in. They heard me rehearsing the songs around the house all the time, so they felt very invested.

I was stunned by how many popular songs the film has from incredible artists like The Beatles, Elton John, Stevie Wonder and many more. It’s just great to hear these songs you love in a different way. 

Sing is out on DVD and Blu-Ray from Wednesday the 26th of April 2017