Reese Witherspoon has slammed the treatment of her fellow Hollywood A-lister Renée Zellweger, after the Bridget Jones actress was subject to a round of vicious plastic surgery speculation recently.
Zellweger, 45, attracted a stream of gossip about what she had done after many commented her face looked different at the Elle Women in Hollywood Awards in Beverly Hills in October. She later laughed off surgery rumours, saying "I'm glad folks think I look different!".
But Oscar-winner Witherspoon, 38, was unimpressed by the tirade of speculation.
"It's horrible. It's cruel and rude and disrespectful, and I can go on and on and on. It bothers me immensely," the Walk The Line star said of Zellweger's treatment, in an annual Roundtable discussion hosted by The Hollywood Reporter for their latest edition.
"I know this is so Pollyanna of me, but why — and it's particularly women — why do they have to tear women down? And why do we have to tear other women down to build another woman up? It drives me crazy. Like, this one looks great without her makeup but that one doesn't look good without her makeup, and it's all just a judgment and assault that I don't — look, men are prey to it as well. I just don't think it's with the same sort of ferocity."
Witherspoon also talked about not being right for the part of Amy in the big-screen version of Gone Girl (the role eventually went to Rosamund Pike).
"I was always open to doing it, but whenever David Fincher says he wants to do a project, you just sit back and say, 'Whatever you want to do.' We had a long conversation where he was like, 'You're not right for it. And this is why.' And I actually completely agreed with him," she said.
Also present at the wide-ranging roundtable chat were actresses Patricia Arquette, Laura Dern, Julianne Moore, Amy Adams, Hilary Swank and relative newcomer to the world of movies and showbiz, British actress Felicity Jones.
The women discussed a whole variety of topics, including the leaking of nude photos of Jennifer Lawrence and more than 100 other female celebrities online earlier this year.
"I feel really strongly that there's nothing deviant about two lovers sharing sexual intimacy," said Arquette, 46. "That is normal. It's been happening since the beginning of time. Through any different medium. We had paper. Before that, we met behind the bush. You know? What is deviant is when a community decides that they can break into your sexuality, steal that from you, insert themselves, observe your private sexuality."
The ladies talked about being stalked by the paparazzi, with Arquette confessing: "I had a big fight with one [paparazzo]."
"He kept following us. And I said, 'OK, leave us the f— alone.' And he goes, 'Nice, mom! Good job!' I said, 'I'm teaching my daughter. If a man is following you and you tell him to go away and he doesn't, you turn around and say, 'F— you!' as loud as you can.' Because there's no difference. I don't care if he has a camera."
Adams, 40, added: "I wish I had been there to have your back."
Talking about the impact of fame on her personal life, Swank, 40, who won a best actress Oscar for Boys Don't Cry, said:
"I got this award last night at the Outfest for my work in Boys Don't Cry, which has been 15 years now. I started the [transgender] conversation with that. But the presenter got up and said, 'When I was 19 years old and I was questioning my sexual identity, I was looking for things that helped me connect to myself, and Boys Don't Cry was a pivotal moment and it changed my life. And in fact, in a lot of ways it was my lifesaver.' I never became an actor for that. But that became this side effect of it, and it is so touching."
"My sister is transgender," Arquette added. "As a sister, a sibling of a transgender person, it's really scary when you're growing up, especially in the world of the early '80s. You're going to get killed, people are going to beat you up. People are assholes out there; it's a dangerous world. And also, will you be accepted? Will you find someone who loves you, who accepts you as you are? So when I saw that movie, it just was so important to me."
Of her ideal role, Witherspoon said she wanted to play Beyonce. "I just want to be her," Adams confessed.
Recalling her most embarrassing Hollywood moment, Witherspoon said: "Bad auditions, where you just totally f—ed it up. I did this audition for a director and I really wanted that part. I got to the end of it and I thought I nailed it, and he was like, 'Why are you playing it stoned?'"
See more from the roundtable discussion in the latest edition of The Hollywood Reporter