Jennifer Aniston’s ‘She’s Funny That Way’ Nears $4 Million Deal With Clarius Entertainment
Toronto might be inching to a close, but the second weekend of the festival saw another heated bidding war. New distributor Clarius Entertainment is nearing a $4 million deal for domestic rights to the screwball comedy “She’s Funny That Way,” Variety has learned.
The film is directed by Peter Bogdanovich, after a 13-year hiatus, and stars Owen Wilson (as a Broadway director who hires a prostitute), Imogen Poots (as the call girl) and Jennifer Aniston (as a therapist).
Clarius has so far released the animated “Legends of Oz” and Michael Douglas comedy “And So It Goes.” It hopes to make a big splash with its latest acquisition.
“She’s Funny That Way” premiered at the Venice Film Festival in late August, and although it wasn’t officially a Toronto selection, it screened in Canada this week. Several studios placed competitive bids for the project, given its commercial potential.
The deal, which is being handled by CAA and UTA, is expected to close on Sunday.
TIFF 2014: Jennifer Aniston Sparks Oscar Buzz With Drama “Cake”
Jennifer Aniston — Oscar contender? You better believe it after the tumultuous standing ovation she received at the Elgin Theatre on Monday afternoon for her potentially career-changing film Cake after the end credits had rolled. Sans makeup but for scars and other disfigurements, Aniston proved way beyond cosmetic changes that she is the real thing. She’s heartbreakingly good, alternately bitingly dramatic and funny in this story of a woman suffering with chronic pain. It is also partially to the credit of writer Patrick Tobin and director Daniel Barnz (Phoebe In Wonderland, Won’t Back Down) that Aniston’s character Claire doesn’t strike a false note throughout.
Given the right distributor (and I hear several are in the hunt) this should be Aniston’s Monster or Monster’s Ball — or even Dallas Buyers Club, which transformed Matthew McConaughey’s career last year and brought him the Best Actor Oscar. There are really no tricks to this performance. It’s raw and real, poignant and unexpected.
In a conversation shortly after the screening the palpably excited star told me the reaction received by the film and her performance was a bit overwhelming. “It was such an emotional moment for me. I was nearly brought to tears,” she said. In fact I heard she was in tears later backstage, when the positive tweets started coming in. As for the film, she said she simply couldn’t turn it down when it came to her less than a year ago. “You have to go with the script,” she said. “When I read it I knew it was the role of a lifetime. How could I turn that down?”
At the post-screening Q&A she elaborated: “It was a no-brainer. Just reading Patrick’s script I actually saw myself doing it. I just felt like it was already happening and it was pretty easy to say ‘yes.’ It was such a beautiful, complex, layered, tortured character. I just tapped into something I was meant to do,” she said. She did extensive research and even had friends who suffered with similar pain and addiction to prescription drugs to curb it. She said she talked to a lot of people who deal with this huge problem, who could “walk me in that walk.”
Many pundits would probably dismiss Aniston as a major studio movie star who does lighter fare like We’re The Millers (a personal favorite by the way), but she has proven in the past with indie fare like The Good Girl and Management that she is no one-trick pony but rather a star with still-untapped potential. I actually thought she was great opposite Vince Vaughn in The Breakup, a wildly underrated studio dramedy.
Barnz says she was a joy to work with, jumping in feet first into the project that came together unusually quickly. He had reluctantly been judging a screenwriting competition in Southern California when it suddenly dawned on him the winner was a script he should make. “That was June, 2013; we were in pre-production in February and before the cameras in April, finishing in May,” he said of the accelerated schedule. He managed to get some more money from the producers for a faster postproduction schedule and got it ready just in time for Toronto. Aniston jokingly told me that quick pace caused windburn and whiplash, but they got it done in 25 days. One of the key producers is Mark Canton, largely known by his own admisson as the guy behind heavy testosterone flicks like 300. He says in addition to those he wants to do a program of about 10 smaller films of this kind of quality, even though he’s not quitting his day job. (He will be on the set for his latest epic, The Last Witch Hunter, today.) Canton told me at the after-party that there is no question they want to get this film out this year in time to qualify it for Oscars. They should, not only for Aniston’s bravura turn but also for past Supporting Actress nominee (for Babel) Adriana Barraza.
As for Aniston, this is the fourth time she’s been to the Toronto Film Festival. “Let’s hope the fourth time’s a charm,” she laughed, although it wouldn’t surprise me at all if it were.
As for the one and only Monday of this TIFF, it was chock-full of a number of other films that could be considered contenders. And now that the hot festival real estate of the first four days has passed, there’s room for some very big names that chose instead to premiere first at Telluride or Venice. Foxcatcher, a Cannes and Telluride hit, was received here with equal praise after its premiere Monday night with the entire cast in tow. Jon Stewart’s Rosewater, a Telluride debut now coming to TIFF as a special screening, screened earlier Monday and has the advantage of coming to TIFF with strong word of mouth.
Two more Monday fest debuts: Reese Witherspoon in Wild, which world premiered in Telluride, won another enthusiastic standing ovation and further cemented Witherspoon’s Oscar potential. And 99 Homes, previously on the circuit at both Venice and Telluride, also came from a position of strength within the competition and looking to finalize a deal here that would put it squarely in the heart of this year’s awards race. The threat by TIFF to demote any film that played Telluride first didn’t seem to have an effect one way or another. On Tuesday night, another Telluride expat, The Imitation Game, gets its day in the Toronto sun. And so it goes.
Toronto Interview: Jennifer Aniston on Her ‘Dream Role’
Jennifer Aniston says her performance in new drama “Cake” was physically and emotionally tough, but it was “beyond a dream role.”
Aniston came to the Variety Studio Monday to chat about the film, which has its world premiere Monday at the Toronto Film Festival.
Co-starring Anna Kendrick and Sam Worthington, the indie drama finds the actress playing a character who is in massive chronic pain, who’s addicted to pills and booze and who has alienated everyone in her life.
“She basically has to decide whether she wants to live or die,” Aniston said. “The woman’s journey is so heartbreaking but so uplifting, because she’s gone through a trauma but maintains her wit, which is very endearing.”
The project, which is looking for a U.S. distributor, came together very fast. Director Daniel Barnz and his partner, producer Ben Barnz, discovered the script in a screenwriting contest 13 months ago and met with the actress in November.
Filming started April 3, the final touches were added weeks ago.
Aniston said as soon as she had finished reading the script (by first-timer Patrick Tobin), “I knew I was going to do it,” because it was a challenge but an opportunity “to express empathy” for the character and all those undergoing similar experiences.
Aniston allowed herself to be photographed without makeup and looking haggard (though, it should be noted, in person she looks pretty spectacular).
Every movement for the character is painful, “which was hard on my body for five weeks of shooting. I spent weekends seeing a chiropractor and getting massages and trying to maintain my sanity.”
Early word on her performance is very positive and Aniston is upbeat about “Cake,” which she sums up as “the little indie that could.”
Toronto: Jennifer Aniston Loses the Makeup for Gritty ‘Cake’
“Cake,” which world premieres on Monday afternoon at the Toronto Film Festival, features a breakthrough performance from Jennifer Aniston as a 40-something woman who suffers from chronic pain.
To inhabit the character, Aniston went through an arduous rehearsal process, according to the film’s director Daniel Barnz. She interviewed patients of the condition and watched documentaries. “She also really worked the timbre of her voice and settled on something more gravelly than the Jennifer Aniston we know,” he says.
But just as the cameras started to roll, Barnz asked Aniston to take a big risk. He didn’t want her to wear any makeup onscreen. “Not a stitch,” he says (although he did allow for Chapstick). “You can see the wrinkles in her face and the pores. She’s not wearing makeup because that’s true to the character: this is a woman who doesn’t take care of herself.”
The road to make “Cake” was as unusual as a 45-year-old star leaving her glam squad at home. Barnz stumbled upon the script because of a promise he made himself after directing 2012’s “Won’t Back Down” — that, for one year, he’d agree to all requests he’d normally turn down. “One of the things I said yes to is judging a screenwriting competition, which I don’t often do because it’s a lot of work,” he explains.
Barnz was so entranced by the winning entry (from Patrick Tobin) he decided to make the film. “Cake” tells the story of Claire (Aniston), a woman dealing with chronic pain who develops a relationship with the husband (Sam Worthington) of a woman who kills herself (Anna Kendrick).
In June 2013, Barnz and his husband-producing partner, Ben, optioned the screenplay. In July, they met with Tobin to offer their notes. By September, they had a finished rewrite, which they started to shop around. “As soon as this went out, there was an incredible amount of interest,” Barnz says. But he wanted Aniston, so he wrote her a passionate letter about the project. “Because the role is hard, you want someone you’d forgive immediately,” he says.
After she had signed on, the rest of the pieces fell into place quickly. Barnz secured financing from Cinelou Films (the budget was under $10 million), shot in Los Angeles in April for 25 days and wrapped in the middle of May. “This was 13 months from inception to completion,” he says. “My first film, ‘Phoebe in Wonderland,’ was 13 years. I sort of feel like there’s a karmic retribution.”
WME and CAA are handling domestic rights and Conquistador Ent. is selling international.
“Horrible Bosses 2″: ‘Ransom Note’ Trailer Released
A new trailer for Jennifer’s upcoming film “Horrible Bosses 2″ has been released. The film looks absolutely hilarious and I can’t wait to Jen reprise her role! You can watch the trailer below. Enjoy!
Jennifer Aniston Opens Up on Aging, Style, & Perfect Hair
I have been a fan of Jennifer Aniston’s forever. I love her cool, laid-back style; from her hair to her clothes she really does make it all look so easy. Because I’ve admired Jennifer so much from afar — she’s my favorite actress — I was actually a little nervous to interview her. She couldn’t have been more fun and open during our chat. She dished on everything from how her fiancé, Justin Theroux, would feel if she went under the knife to why she thinks that aging is awesome. Read on for Jennifer’s candid interview.
BB: I have never been more nervous in my life — can I tell you why?
JA: [Laughs.] Sure!
BB: Everyone always asks me, who is your style icon? And it’s you!
JA: Are you kidding me?
BB: No! I tear pictures out of all those awful magazines with you walking down the street with your awesome hair and perfect T-shirt and cool jeans. It is such a unstyle, but it is my style.
JA: You know what that is? It’s just called laziness.
BB: No it’s not, it is perfection — you make it look so easy. Anyway, it’s a girl crush.
JA: You are so awesome, thank you so much. I am such a fan of your makeup and have been forever. I literally had to say it three times, “OK, Bobbi Brown is interviewing me? The makeup artist?” I want you to do my makeup!
BB: It would be a dream, but honestly I would probably tell you that you don’t need any.
JA: Oh you don’t know…
BB: I know. OK good, so you have to tell me what T-shirts and jeans you love, and about the blazers you always wear. I want to know everything.
JA: This is my secret: The trick to T-shirts is I that I usually tailor them. Which is silly, but it works. Or you just have to find the perfect one. James Perse has really great T-shirts and tank tops, Theory is great for T-shirts and basics, and for jeans, I have these Genetic jeans that they don’t even make anymore. I take the pockets off of Hudson jeans, because I like the fit, but not the pockets. Helmut Lang does a good skinny jean, too. And I wear Saint Laurent jackets.
BB: I have always wanted to ask you if your stylist Christopher McMillan lives with you. How does your hair always look like that? Do you wake up with perfect hair?
JA: Oh god no! Right now it is in a sweaty ponytail because I just worked out, but my hair is usually better the day after; it always looks better with that slept-in look. And Chris doesn’t live with me; I wish he did. I’ve learned a lot from Chris and I have become very handy with a hair dryer and a round brush.
BB: Tell me more about the Living Proof products. They are absolutely amazing; my hair got really dry from going into the ocean and honestly, they saved me. They’re excellent!
JA: Have you discovered the Restore Mask yet? That’s a game changer. I do it every Sunday because I do highlight my hair. The one thing with hair, as we get older, is it doesn’t necessarily react as beautifully as it used to when we were in our 20s, which I never knew. Did you know that, that hair ages?
BB: I am learning that now unfortunately. It grows thinner.
JA: [Laughs.] It loses weight.
BB: Your body doesn’t get thinner, but your hair does. That’s how I know God is not a woman.
JA: I also love the beach spray because it doesn’t have drying elements in the ingredients. There is no silicone in any of the Living Proof products. That’s the trick. Most other products are great at first—there is that love affair period where your hair just loves it, and then, after a while, it just starts breaking. And you have to wash it everyday because all this silicone attracts all this dirt and oil so your hair feels dirty the next day. That is the thing that feels so great; the products really do what they promise.
BB: You don’t seem to age! What is your secret?
JA: My dad is 100 percent Greek; he turned 81 and he barely has a wrinkle. And neither does my grandmother, who was 95 when she died. But it’s also just water, drinking a lot of water, using really nice good products for your face. Don’t overproduct, that’s the other thing. Getting proper sleep is always important.
BB: I read that you are really healthy, you exercise, and you eat good food, too.
JA: I have a Greek salad in front of me, but I also indulge. Oh my god there’s a balance.
BB: So tell me how you balance it, because I kind of get crazy when I go up and down with weight. How do you do it? Do you eat bread ever?
JA: Yes definitely! I just had a bagel. I usually give myself bread on the weekends, but really, my body doesn’t love carbs. These days, if I was being super picky, I would love to drop 5 pounds. That is just where I have always been really comfortable at about 110 to 113 pounds. But it is harder at this age.
BB: One of the reasons I took this job at Yahoo Beauty is because all my years being a makeup artist I’ve been interested in the self-esteem issues women face. I wonder what it’s like from your perspective. What is it like walking out your door and constantly being photographed? How do you deal with seeing good — and bad — paparazzi pictures of yourself? How does it affect your self-esteem?
JA: The truth is you just go, “If they get a picture, that picture comes and goes, so who cares?” Then you have 30 mean people who sit at their computers and spend their entire day picking apart and insulting celebrities about how ugly they are just so they can feel better — I guess — about themselves. I don’t understand it. There is also this pressure in Hollywood to be ageless. I think what I have been witness to, is seeing women trying to stay ageless with what they are doing to themselves. I am grateful to learn from their mistakes, because I am not injecting s**t into my face.
JA: No honestly, I see them and my heart breaks. I think, “Oh god if you only know how much older you look.” They are trying to stop the clock and all you can see is an insecure person who won’t let themselves just age. I also have a fiancé; who will put a gun to my head if I touch my face in any way.
BB: My husband is the same way. When I feel that I am not looking as young and fresh as I like—usually after a night of tequila and bread—I will put extra moisturizer and face oil on my skin so that whatever lines are in my face look better. It is just about being hydrated; that has been my secret.
JA: Well, that’s true, it’s hydration, and there are also so many things that women can do today with technology in terms of LED light therapy, good lasers that tighten the muscles, and massages for your face—and don’t forget great creams. I think that’s the route to go. I also understand that age is kind of awesome. I am fortunate enough to know women like Gloria Steinem, who I think is one of the most stunning women on the planet, and doesn’t touch her face. Diane Keaton, Annette Bening, all of these fabulous fearless women who are flawless, they embrace it! You know, to each their own; I don’t judge it if you do it, but sometimes I wish I could beg the people I know, who I am very near and dear to, to not touch their face.
BB: I think we should encourage women to just be happy with who they are and look in the mirror less.
JA: Look in the mirror less, yes. I also just read that Charlotte Rampling, who is almost 70 years old, is going to be the face of NARS, I think that’s awesome! I think fashion people need to start incorporating all ages, not just these 20-something perfect people, or not just for anti-aging [ads]. Represent beauty in all ages! You know what I mean?
BB: I do know and I think it is amazing to have someone who is so well known be such a great voice of this movement. And it is a movement, I have talked to Gloria Steinem about it. You are great role model thank you so much for such a great interview! I can’t wait to meet in person.
Justin Theroux Explains Why He and Jennifer Aniston Give Out Eggs as Presents
When you imagine getting a present from Jennifer Aniston, you can’t help but envision receiving a fab designer bag or a must-have, organic skin cream. A basket of eggs on the other hand? Not so much. But that’s exactly what you might get, as her fiancé Justin Theroux revealed during a visit to Chelsea Lately on Monday night.
While chatting with Aniston’s longtime pal Chelsea Handler, he explained that when they visit friends’ homes they give their hosts eggs as gifts because they have about 10 chickens at the house. And “each of them lays a couple [of eggs] a day, so we have too many of them,” he said. The star of HBO’s The Leftovers joked that while people think it’s a sweet farm-to-table gesture on their part, it’s actually just because they’re “slipping on eggs at the house.”
Hey, if you’re going to get eggs as a present, it would be pretty cool to get them from Jennifer Aniston and Justin Theroux. Watch the clip here and listen to the Chelsea Lately host explain why she has never received any eggs from the famous pair. (Hint: it’s not because she and Justin are feuding, as some tabloids would lead you to believe.)
Justin Theroux Jokes About His “Three-Headed Baby” With Jennifer Aniston and Talks Tabloid Troubles
ustin Theroux took a dramatic turn with The Leftovers, but he’s still got a sense of humor.
These days, the 42-year-old TV star’s ability to laugh is especially commendable, given that the tabloids frequently write about his two-year engagement to Jennifer Aniston as if it were a real-life soap opera.
“I can’t get over how terrible the narrative is, just how poorly written it is,” he says in Elle’s August 2014 issue. “It’s worse than a telenovela. It’s so dramatic. Like, ‘They’re broken up, they’re together, they’re storming out, storming in, rushing out, rushing in.’ They make every celebrity look like a schizophrenic.”
From the moment he began dating his Wanderlust co-star, Theroux admits, “My life changed a lot. More people are like, ‘Hey, man!’ And I don’t think that’s from my role in John Adams. But it only changed as much as I engaged with it, and I learned very quickly: Don’t ever engage with it. Just JKL. It was a learning curve, but it wasn’t as traumatic as you might expect. It’s just annoying. Occasionally you’ll get a stewardess congratulating you, on, I don’t know, whatever, some three-headed baby we just had.”
Though his relationship with Aniston is under the microscope, Theroux has managed to keep an air of mystery. In fact, when the interviewer mentions she’ll ask about his fiancée, he replies, “You can try!”
Thankfully, Amy Sedaris—who met Theroux through mutual friend Philip Seymour Hoffman—lifts the veil for Elle. “Justin’s got this dark side—he’ll go there. But more than anyone I’ve ever met, he just really does blossom with sunshine,” the comedic actress says. Taking it a step further, she reveals, “Justin is like a girlfriend. He’ll do girly things with you: He’ll tan, he’ll put your makeup on for you, he gives great advice.”
Bet you won’t find those anecdotes in the tabloids!
Jennifer Aniston Nominated for 2014 Teen Choice Awards
The nominations for the 2014 Teen Choice Awards were nominated earlier last week and Jennifer picked up a nomination for Choice Movie Liplock, which she shares with Emma Roberts and Will Poulter. You can check out who Jennifer is nominated with below.
Choice Movie Liplock
• Scarlett Johansson and Chris Evans, Captain America: The Winter Soldier
• Jennifer Lawrence and Josh Hutcherson, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
• Emma Roberts, Jennifer Aniston and Will Poulter, We’re The Millers
• Emma Stone and Andrew Garfield, The Amazing Spider-Man 2
• Shailene Woodley and Ansel Elgort, The Fault In Our Stars
Jennifer Aniston Calls Justin Theroux a “Lost Gem in the Sand,” Says He Gets Hotter With Age
Some men age like a fine wine, and according to Jennifer Aniston, her fiancé Justin Theroux is doing just that.
The 45-year-old star recently gushed about her hubby-to-be at a party held in his honor by Details magazine.
The Leftovers actor graces the cover of this month’s issue and looks pretty darn hot with his sultry gaze and signature slicked-back locks.
“He’s just so beautiful and handsome to me,” told said to Women’s Wear Daily at the Sunset Tower Hotel in West Hollywood on Tuesday.
“I love that his eyeballs are so beautiful captured because those eyes just knock me out every day,” she added.
“He just gets better every year. He’s just like a lost gem in the sand, and he’s always been there and been brilliant, and now this is just in a different light.”
Aniston’s BFF Courteney Cox—who attended the party with her fiancé Johnny McDaid—also put her stamp of approval on Theroux’s Details shoot, saying, “There’s no better cover boy than [him]. He’s so handsome and cool.
Cox and Aniston were also spotted out on the town with Lisa Kudrow last night.
The three ladies grabbed a bite to eat at Los Angeles hot spot Craig’s early in the evening and were all seen leaving separately.
There’s no doubt they gabbed about the men in their lives!