Reese Witherspoon Talks About Her Role as Movie Producer
02/27/2008 AT 03:55 PM EST
Her new movie: the offbeat fable Penelope, starring Atonement's James McAvoy and Christina Ricci as the rich girl of the title – who is cursed with a pig nose as she awaits the love of a nobleman.
"This was the first film that we found the script, found the director and did all the heavy lifting," Witherspoon – who is partnered with Jennifer Simpson in the production company Type A Films – tells the Associated Press.
What drew Witherspoon to Penelope, which the 31-year-old helped develop, cast, edit and distribute, was, "It had a really great female character who was strong, ambitious, but definitely had a journey to go through to get to the place where she would find herself."
Not that Witherspoon is entirely behind the scenes in the movie, which opens Friday. In it, she plays Annie, a free spirit who shows London to Penelope – and helps restore her self-esteem.
"It's very freeing to play a supporting character," says Witherspoon, who reportedly abandoned an original idea of taking the lead herself. "Those are the kind of parts I came up playing, so it was kind of nice to return to that."
As for the producing game, "I got to learn a lot," she says, "things I don't normally get to touch."