Reese Witherspoon Reveals She Was Cast for Johnny Cash Movie ‘Walk the Line’ at a Wedding

by Blake Ells

Reese Witherspoon joined Kerry Washington for her Audible podcast recently and talked about her role in Walk the Line. The 2005 biopic was about the lives of Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash. It was kind of a full-circle moment for the Nashville native.

“That’s a funny story because I had grown up in Nashville. I played Mama Maybelle Carter in the fourth grade play,” she said. “That’s June’s mom who was one of the very first country recording artists in the 1920s.”

She met director James Mangold in a pretty unlikely place.

“We were at a wedding and he goes, ‘Hey, you’re from Nashville aren’t you?’ and I was like, ‘I am. Yeah.’ And he goes, ‘Do you know who June Carter is?'” she recalled. “A year later, he called, and he said, ‘I’ve written this movie about June Carter and Johnny Cash.’ He goes, ‘Do you want to play June Carter?’ I was like, ‘I mean, with all due respect, I think she’s about 75.'”

She eventually agreed to play the younger version of Carter. The role earned Reese Witherspoon an Oscar for Best Actress. Joaquin Phoenix was snubbed for his performance as “The Man in Black.”

The film co-starred some other country and Americana stars. Alabama native Shelby Lynne portrayed Carrie Cash, while two other Nashville-born and bred musicians landed other roles. Waylon Payne starred as Jerry Lee Lewis, while Shooter Jennings portrayed his father, Waylon. Memphis musician Amy Lavere had a small role as “Wanda.”

Phoenix landed an Oscar nomination for Best Actor. The film also earned nominations for Best Film Editing and Best Costume Design. But Reese Witherspoon was the only member of the cast that took home any hardware.

Reese Witherspoon and Country Music

Reese Witherspoon has a long relationship with country music as a Nashville native. She’s pals with Keith Urban and Nicole Kidman, and even made an appearance at one of his Bridgestone Arena shows in her hometown.

Next up for Witherspoon is a collaboration with the greatest of all time. Reese’s production company, Hello Sunshine, will release the film adaptation of Dolly Parton and James Patterson’s book, Run, Rose, Run. Working with one of her idols is a dream for Witherspoon.

“Growing up in Nashville, I’ve loved Dolly since the moment I heard her magical voice and say her luminous personality shine on stage,” she said. “Beyond her magnetic artist as an artist and performer, she is one of the greatest songwriters and storytellers of our time.”

The film is about a young woman pursuing a country music dream in Nashville. There’s no word on when the adaptation will hit the big screen. It is currently listed as being in “pre-production” by IMDb.