“The Hollywood Reporter” — Jennifer Aniston took on an uncharacteristically unglamorous role in her new movie Cake, challenging herself to play a woman trying to find some relief from the chronic pain caused by an accident that also left her with large scars on her face and leg. Offscreen, she took on additional challenges by executive producing the indie through the Echo Films banner she runs with producing partner Kristin Hahn.
Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter at the Cinema Society- and In Style-hosted screening of Cake in New York Sunday night, Aniston said it’s the smaller movies, in which she’s able to be involved throughout the filmmaking process, that truly excite her.
“Not that the big ones aren’t exciting, but you can get to be, for me, creatively involved [on] all levels, which I just find so utterly fulfilling,” she said, adding that she enjoyed helping put the cast and crew for the film together and being involved in the production process, which included trying to get others to support the film.
“There’s a lot of favors, sweet loving gives that people provide in order to help our little movie that could,” she said.
The film, which premiered at the Toronto Film Festival, is being distributed through production company Cinelou Films’ new distribution arm, Cinelou Releasing, which producer Mark Canton says they had long planned to create and was “in the best interests of the movie.”
“We just felt that once we were invested in this movie, unless something spectacular came along, which with movies of this size doesn’t often happen, we always planned on forming our own distribution organization,” Canton told THR at the Tribeca Grand event. “We didn’t know we were going to do it this fast. It just seemed like the right time to do this.”
Still, he said Cinelou Releasing isn’t looking to distribute other companies’ films, just some of their own.
“We’re not looking to be competitive with distributors,” Canton added.
Cake is set to get a one-week Oscar-qualifying run sometime in December with a wider release in January.
Canton said he’s still working to figure out when that one-week run will be, but the world will soon know.
“In the next week, we’ll reveal everything,” he promised.
The screening was also attended by Mamie Gummer, who has a small part in Cake as Aniston’s character’s personal trainer, a role that required being in a swimming pool.
As a result, Gummer called the experience of working with Aniston both “really lovely, really easy” and “a little bit cold, very wet.”
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The actress said after spending two hours at Le Pain Quotidien with director Daniel Barnz and producer Ben Barnz, she just wanted in on the film.
“I just wanted to be a part of it in whatever capacity I could because I just loved the script so much,” she said.
Cake also stars Anna Kendrick, Sam Worthington, Chris Messina, Felicity Huffman and Adriana Barraza in a standout supporting role. Other luminaries spotted at Sunday night’s screening included ABC News’ World News Tonight anchor David Muir and 50 Cent.
After the screening, guests enjoyed Grey Goose cocktails at the afterparty at Jimmy at The James Hotel.