The Oscar winner picked up the rights for Cheryl Strayed's Wild four months before the novel was published, and now her foresight appears to have paid off - Winfrey has picked the tome for her revived book club.
Witherspoon and her Pacific Standard production partner Bruna Papandrea are planning to turn the story into a new movie, with The Kids Are All Right's Lisa Cholodenko as director.
Thrilled Papandrea says, "It was the first thing we picked up together," and Witherspoon tells The Hollywood Reporter, "Wild is a magical and evocative book about losing everything - family, money, your mother, your partner - and finding your true spirit alone in the woods."
Oprah's Book Club became a big part of the TV queen's former daytime talk show. It ended when Winfrey walked away from the show in 2010.
The recently married Oscar winner and mum of two has been acting for over two decades but Witherspoon confesses she's now eager to step behind the camera.
The blonde beauty is teaming up with gal pal and Milk producer Bruna Papandrea to create a new firm, which will empower women and ensure they have an opportunity to pursue their dreams.
The Walk the Line star tells Reuters, "We will be producing some films with a very clear female voice.
"I’ve been acting since I was 14, and I know every aspect of filmmaking at this point. I think it’s important for women who have attained a certain amount of success in this business to give back to other female writers and filmmakers and try and help facilitate their dreams."
Witherspoon launched her first production company, Type A Films, in 2000.
In 1977 Harvey Milk (Penn) was elected to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors. While this would not normally be an earth-shattering phenomenon in this case Milk became the first out-of-the-closet gay person to win a major public office in the United States -- and was assassinated in 1978 along with San Francisco Mayor George Moscone. Based in part on the Academy Award-winning documentary The Life and Times of Harvey Milk the film focuses on the last decade of his life as he moves from New York at age 40 to San Francisco with lover Scott Smith (James Franco). Using his experience as an entrepreneur as a catalyst he suddenly becomes more politically involved making a couple of runs for office and finally getting elected. With a new lover (Diego Luna) and agenda Milk takes on some major issues -- including lobbying against California’s controversial Prop 6 an initiative to fire gay schoolteachers. But his activities anger another supervisor Dan White (Josh Brolin) and soon their destinies will collide. It’s not an overstatement to say that Sean Penn’s performance here is a revelation. As Harvey Milk he not only perfectly embodies the late politician but exudes a certain kind of warmness and humor we rarely see from the star. His immersion into the persona of Milk is truly remarkable and winning. A large supporting cast includes: standout performances from Franco as Milk’s true love and friend Scott who eventually can’t compete with Harvey’s increasing ambition; Diego Luna hilarious and annoying as Milk’s lover later; and Emile Hirsch as Cleve Jones a young activist and Milk protégé. Brolin as the unlikeable White perfectly captures the frustration and simmering jealousy the man he feels steals his job. It’s a risky role and there is little room for audience empathy but Brolin makes this loser understandable if not acceptable. As the lone woman among the principal players Alison Pill is bright and appealing as Milk’s campaign manager Anne Kronenberg. Gus Van Sant’s odd directorial career encompasses a series of ups and downs with the highlights being Drugstore Cowboy and his Oscar-nominated work on Good Will Hunting. The absolute nadir of Van Sant’s resume is undoubtedly his ill-advised shot-by-shot remake of Hitchcock’s untouchable Psycho. It’s nice to report he’s back in form now with the warm funny and moving Milk a film that doesn’t quite escape the clichés of the biopic genre but still finds its own beats thanks in large part to the piercing performances. Getting such mature and joyful work from Penn a brilliant but distant actor is impressive indeed. He also imbues the movie with a documentary feel appropriate since much of the source material comes from the Oscar-winning docu. Milk paints us a triumphant and inspiring life one that won’t soon be forgotten especially with its parallels to current California circumstances. The state’s recent anti-gay marriage initiative Prop 8 could not have come at a more significant time in making Harvey Milk’s crusade seem more relevant than ever.