Reese Witherspoon has credited her latest movies Wild and A Good Lie for saving her sanity during a bleak period in her acting career.

The Oscar winner admits she was lost as an artist "for a few years" and decided to start making better film choices.

She tells Wenn, "I was not able to find what I wanted to do; making choices that I wasn't ultimately happy with. What kind of started this whole string of things that I was doing personally was getting back to wanting to play interesting dynamic female characters."

However, when the chance to play an employment agency counsellor aiding three Sudanese refugees in A Good Lie came along, Witherspoon was nervous about stepping out of her comfort zone.

She explains, "I didn't know if I wanted to make the movie because I just had a baby and I was still nursing and taking care of this infant. But then, when I read the script, I was like, 'How am I gonna do this?' You know how your brain is just really confused after you have a baby.

"I had to cover up all my post-baby weight! When I met with the director what I really liked is he said, 'This movie isn't about you. I just want to be really clear about that'. I never had a director say that to me before. It made me happy because I didn't want to make a movie where I was a white, American girl coming to save African people. My character is just as emotionally distraught. She's just as lost, she's just as without family as they are.

"I thought that was a beautiful opportunity to talk about family is where you find it."

She had a lot of help getting into character from co-star Ger Duany, who is a former Sudanese refugee.

Witherspoon adds, "I knew very little about the story. I watched documentaries and some stuff on (U.S. Tv show) 60 Minutes but I still didn't know. A lot of things I learned from talking to Ger, who would tell us stories about being a young boy and walking all that way to Ethiopia and then back again to Sudan... and what it was like. It's hard to even conceive."