Wild producer Bruna Papandrea talked with Deadline’s Mike Fleming Jr. at our recent The Contenders event about adapting Cheryl Strayed’s memoir for the big screen, and why star Reese Witherspoon was such a good choice for the challenging role.

The Fox Searchlight film stars Oscar winner Witherspoon as a woman whose life is falling apart around her. She decides to drop everything to hike the 1,100-mile-long Pacific Crest Trail, solo.

Papandrea says it was Witherspoon’s emotional journey to capture the character that proved more taxing than the physical one.

Jean-Marc Vallee directed Wild from Nick Hornby‘s adapted screenplay. Laura Dern and Thomas Sadoski co-star. Papandrea and Witherspoon produced via their Pacific Standard shingle along with River Road’s Bill Pohlad. The pic is due out Dec. 5.