Jennifer Aniston sat down with CBS Sunday Morning, where she discussed her new film “Cake, her early career, her divorce with Brad Pitt, paparazzi, and more. You can check out the 9-minute interview below. Screen captures will be uploaded in a few days. Enjoy!
“The Hollywood Reporter” — Jennifer Aniston, who has received best actress SAG, Golden Globe and Critics’ Choice nominations for her dramatic performance in the indie Cake, will receive the Montecito Award at the 2015 Santa Barbara International Film Festival, SBIFF announced on Monday. The honor will be presented at Santa Barbara’s historic Arlington Theatre on Jan. 30 as part of the fest’s 30th edition, which runs Jan. 27 through Feb. 7.
The Montecito Award has been presented annually, since 2005, to “a performer who has given a series of classic and standout performances throughout his or her career and whose style has made a major contribution to film.” Previous recipients include Oprah Winfrey, Daniel Day-Lewis, Geoffrey Rush, Julianne Moore, Kate Winslet, Javier Bardem, Naomi Watts and Annette Bening.
“Once in a while a performer who we thought we knew gets outside of his or her comfort zone and shows us the unexpected,” SBIFF executive director Roger Durling said in a statement. “When that happens it is cause for celebration — and this is why the 2015 Montecito Award is bestowed upon Ms. Aniston.”
The fest previously announced that it will be presenting its Modern Master Award to Birdman’s Michael Keaton; Outstanding Performer of the Year Award to Foxcatcher’s Steve Carell; American Riviera Award to Boyhood’s Ethan Hawke and Patricia Arquette; Cinema Vanguard Award to The Theory of Everything’s Eddie Redmayne and Felicity Jones; and Virtuosos Award to Obvious Child’s Jenny Slate, Fury’s Logan Lerman, Boyhood’s Ellar Coltrane, Get On Up’s Chadwick Boseman, Gone Girl’s Rosamund Pike, Whiplash’s J.K. Simmons and Selma’s David Oyelowo.
“Deadline” — Jennifer Aniston won an Emmy in 2002 as Outstanding Leading Actress in Friends and went on to morph into a big commercial movie star, but critical acclaim as a dramatic actress has not come her way—until now. Sure, she did well-received indies such as The Good Girl in between her comedic hits. But her latest, Cake, really takes the, uh, cake as a true breakthrough. Sans makeup and with scars on her face, Aniston plays a woman suffering from chronic pain after a tragic accident, and nails it. When she won a standing ovation after the film’s premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival, Aniston broke down in tears. She truly had arrived at a new place in her career, and her life.
Did the warm response in Toronto really blow you away?
It certainly did—just showing the movie at all. It was the first time we’ve shown it to more than eight people at a time. The real terrifying moment happened right before they let the film roll. To get that reaction was quite stunning and moving.
The script was in a screenwriting contest that director Daniel Barnz was judging. What about it resonated with you?
I just really connected to Claire and the beautifully layered character that she was and this excruciating, unimaginable trauma she is forced to walk through, to see her take the journey and discover that she in fact wants to continue living… Also, the reason I think I fell so in love with her was her insanely acerbic wit, this kind of sharp, razor-tongue kind of quality about her that I found endearing.
I don’t think I’ve ever seen a film that dealt with chronic pain before. What was the challenge in bringing that across?
Well, I had a good six weeks of doing some intense homework. Daniel and I have a mutual friend who is a stuntwoman and she was in a horrific accident. She literally lived through 22 surgeries and excruciating pain and also became addicted to pain meds, as a lot of people do in this country. So I spent a lot of time talking with her and with doctors. With Daniel, we just basically tried to figure out what was the accident, where was the injury, what was shattered, what was broken, how would that manifest itself in the way I would walk or the way I would even speak.
This is an independently made film. Did you have much time to rehearse or prepare for it?
We actually had more time to rehearse than we did to shoot. We were lucky enough to shoot in Los Angeles. Because Daniel and I live in the same city, we were able to get together for quite a few weeks before we were shooting and really honed (my character). We made sure to get the scars correct because that was another thing—the camera literally is in your face, so we went through a couple tests. Our amazing dear friend, Scott Stoddard—who’s a special effects makeup artist—gifted us his time for zero cents.
You’ve made several indies and, of course, several big studio films. What do you like doing best?
Different things access different parts of my brain and excite me in different ways. This was certainly more digging deep into my toolbox.
So you really don’t look at it differently when you approach a character, whether it’s a comedy or a drama?
No. You just approach it depending on the part of your brain that needs to be accessed more. I’m up for whatever. I love it all. I really do. Physically, this movie was trying on my body. I had a lot of pinched nerves just from being in that physical space for five weeks straight, but I missed it when it was over. We had so much fun together. We were like a little theater group.
How do you make the leap from what we’ve seen so much of you in—glamorous and comedic roles—to something like this?
The leap was not hard. What was hard was finding the (film) that I fell in love with and then finding the director who thought it was an unexpected way to cast me. That was the hardest part because you’re right—I am seen in a certain light, even though I have done smaller movies and other things. So, yeah, I did have to fight a little bit harder and I had to flex a little bit more muscle to allow myself to get into the part. But I’m willing to fight the fight and show that there’s more to me and to a lot of other actors. You get put into a stereotype and you have to bang a little louder to allow your other creative parts to be shown.
You get pigeon-holed sometimes…
Well, I think it’s also from being on a television show for 10 years—that’s in your living room week after week, and now day after day (in syndication). You really do have to kind of run far, far away. But it’s OK. I don’t mind that. I’m up for that challenge, and that’s what excites me… I would be lying if I said in taking this on, there wasn’t a part of me that knew I was taking a risk. I knew I had to do it for myself and if it was going to fail and fall flat on its face, then so be it, but I had to. I feel like you have to be brave. You have to be bold. Don’t stay small.
In late-November 2014, it was announced that Jennifer Aniston would participate in the L.A. Times “Hollywood Sessions” Oscar Round Table. You can watch the full round table below, as well as 1,130 high definition screen captures. Enjoy!
Screen Captures > Interviews & Press Junkets > 2014 > Dec 08: L.A. Times “Hollywood Sessions” Oscar Round Table
Earlier in November 2014, it was announced she would participate in Variety Studio’s “Actors on Actors” Conversations. The interview show features one-on-one conversations between actors and actresses in discussion with one another about their craft and films. Jennifer was paired with Emily Blunt for the event. You can check out the full 9-minute interview below, as well 245 high definition screen captures from the interview. Enjoy!
Screen Captures > Interviews & Press Junkets > 2014 > Nov 08: Variety Studio: “Actors On Actors”
Jennifer Aniston accepted her award for Movie Performance of the Year: Actress by long-time friend John Krasinski on stage at the 2014 People Magazine Awards held at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on Thursday evening (December 18) in Beverly Hills, California. You can check out her acceptance speech below, as well as 104 medium and high quality photos of Jennifer at the award show. Enjoy!
Public Appearances > Events from 2014 > Dec 18: 2014 People Magazine Awards – Show
Public Appearances > Events from 2014 > Dec 18: 2014 People Magazine Awards – Backstage & Audience
Jennifer Aniston has graced the January 2015 cover of “Allure” magazine! She looks gorgeous, doesn’t she? You can check out a preview of the cover below, as well as 4 outtakes from the photoshoot. You can also check out what Jennifer had to say about motherhood, her fiance, her success, and more! You can read the full interview when the magazine hits newsstands on Tuesday, December 23rd. Enjoy!
On her thoughts on motherhood: “I don’t like [the pressure] that people put on me, on women—that you’ve failed yourself as a female because you haven’t procreated. I don’t think it’s fair. You may not have a child come out of your vagina, but that doesn’t mean you aren’t mothering—dogs, friends, friends’ children.”
On her fiance Justin Theroux: “I’m so proud of him. We have so much fun together… It was nice to learn how to sort of relinquish control and let someone really care deeply for you. It’s quite wonderful.”
On the recognition she’s getting for Cake: “A woman going physically unattractive is where you get recognition and some sort of respect. You read things like, ‘Oh, finally, she’s acting!’”
On attention being put on physical appearances of actresses: “Quite sexist, to be honest, because men don’t get that.”
The full list of nominations for the 2015 Critics’ Choice Movie Awards were announced earlier today and our girl picked up a nomination for Best Actress for her work in “Cake.” You can check out below who Jennifer is nominated alongside and visit the official website for the full list of nominations.
Jennifer Aniston – Cake
Marion Cotillard – Two Days, One Night
Felicity Jones – The Theory of Everything
Julianne Moore – Still Alice
Rosamund Pike – Gone Girl
Reese Witherspoon – Wild
The 2015 Critics’ Choice Movie Awards will take place on Thursday, January 15, 2015 at the Hollywood Pavilion.
“Indie Wire” — Jennifer Aniston is so well known as Rachel Green from “Friends” and her subsequent comedic output, that it’s easy to forget she has serious dramatic chops. She was a revelation in 2002’s indie drama “The Good Girl,” opposite Jake Gyllenhaal, and also impressed in Nicole Holofcener’s ensemble dark comedy “Friends With Money.” But it’s her most recent turn in Daniel Barnz’s “Cake” that’s garnered the actress the best reviews of her career and her first Golden Globe nomination for a feature film.
The film, which boasts a ‘blacklisted’ script by Patrick Tobin, stars Aniston as Claire Simmons, a heavily scarred woman reeling from a recent tragedy, who shuts everyone close to her out of her life in order to cope with the pain. Shortly following the film’s premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival in September, Vulture went so far as to call the vehicle “Aniston’s ‘Monster'” (the drama that earned Charlize Theron her Best Actress Oscar, for a similarly unglamorous performance).
Aniston spoke with Indiewire about the buzz surrounding “Cake,” and about why she was more than ready for the challenge.
Reactions to your performance have been through the roof. How affirming does that feel to know the film’s being received in this way?
That’s what is bringing so much joy to all of us. We’re kind of looking at each other going, “Can you believe this?” This little indie that could was received with such love! For me, I would be lying if I said there wasn’t a moment of, “OK, here we go. We’re gonna dive into these waters and go somewhere we haven’t been before.” It’s almost that thing of “be careful what you wish for,” here it is. There was something about the timing of all of this, and the confirmation of when you risk and when you’re bold, and challenge yourself, it can’t go wrong. The only thing that can go wrong, you know, is, “Oh my God, the people say this is horrible and an atrocity.” But at least you know you still made the effort and you still took the chance. That’s all that really mattered for me.
I needed to challenge myself and I needed to challenge my work and who I was as an actor. I know what I’m capable of, but after years and years of being asked to come back to the party for very similar parts… I definitely had varying degrees of characters, but this was something I never even got the opportunity to play. Someone this layered and complex and in pain. And crotchety! I guess understandably so. You get stereotyped to some degree, so you have to flex your muscles more and bang your drum a little and take control in order to take part in movies like this. That’s okay by me. I’m up for that — that challenge. Especially by this age, I just want to work with great directors. Really great movies. And I just knew I had to prove this to myself, that I’m capable of other things.
You say that you’ve been stereotyped to some degree. Do you feel Hollywood typecasts you?
There’s a perception of that. That’s sort of a wider scope. The perception is: we see you as this, we see you in this part. Or even the word has come back from directors: “No, she’s too famous,” or “she’s too this,” “can’t get rid of the persona.” But I understand that. But the young directors, those are the ones I’m grateful for. Even Miguel Arteta back in the days of “The Good Girl,” he found it exciting to take someone who had that persona, and put her in this. To him, that was a challenge as a director. Same thing with Daniel Barnz! That’s unexpected and that’s weird, that’s a challenge! For him. So everyone was excited they were trying something a little bit farther. For me, this was one of my greatest challenges. There was so much there to play. So much to be truthful with. Whether it was the physical pain, the emotional pain, the addiction, all of it. Tracking that honesty was sort of an actor’s “Ooh, I get to pull all of my tools out.” You know what I mean? It’s funny, because I’ve really loved my career. I’ve had incredible opportunities.
Yes, and a great variety. But you know, I think there’s sort of a narrative out there where people are really woah. Shocked, to see something like this. For those that know me, I think they’re not that shocked.
You brought up your public persona earlier. You’ve been a tabloid fixture for years –still, I imagine it’s strange to know that people think they have a hold on who you are based on what they read.
It’s so weird. It’s a terrible feeling. Because you go, “How do I bite through that barbed wire?” Because those stupid things aren’t going away. The tabloids aren’t going away. The fact that I was on a hit television show for ten years and in your face (and probably still am) [laughs]. How do we get allowed to play other parts? That’s what I said and what I was excited about. To see if I could cut through the barbed wire of that prison, in a way. “Prison”: I don’t mean that in a negative way because God knows “We’re the Millers,” or Dr. Julia in “Horrible Bosses,” Polly in “Along Came Polly.” I feel there’s a wonderful variation and variety and all these girls and women. They’re not all Rachel Green.
Especially Dr. Julia in “Horrible Bosses.”
Especially “Horrible Bosses”! But it’s fun for me! You know what I mean? I was over at the CBS Studios on Radford earlier today, where my first television show was. It was a sketch comedy show called “The Edge.” It was the funnest. Sketch comedy — the characters, and the prosthetics, and all of that sort of stuff stuff. It was fun for me to reach back into that toolbox [for “Horrible Bosses”].
When you look back at a show like “The Edge” and see how far you’ve come, do you still have “pinch-me” moments?
I do. It’s moments where I go, “That felt like a minute ago!'” This was in 1990. 25 years ago! That’s crazy. When you think something’s two minutes behind you, and in fact it’s 20 years behind you, that’s when you go “Wow. This has been happening a long time. Gratefully. Thankfully.”
I was surprised to learn you had to lobby for “Cake.” Did you coming on as producer help secure your casting?
That was part of it. It was out to another actor at first. I just said, “If this opens up, I’d love to sit down with the director and tell him ‘I know I can do this. I will go to the moon and back with you. I’m ready for this, I’m up for this, I won’t let you down. There will be no shortcuts.'” I was not the first person on their list, I guess.
What so appealed to you about “Cake” and playing Claire that made you want to fight for it in the first place?
I just think [writer] Patrick Tobin did a really great job. Also, this being his very first screenplay, which kind of blew my mind! In his late 40s, for that matter. He’s not even a young spring chicken where you can be like, “Oh, all right, first screenplay.” It’s just this woman — I fell in love with her. I fell in love with her wicked wit, in spite of this horrible pain — physical, emotional pain. I felt she was so layered, and I had such empathy for her. I just enjoyed the story. I went along with it, I didn’t pity her, I felt like she was very strong. To the point of also being extremely stubborn and stuck. Also seeing the vulnerability in that. The humor, I loved. That was throughout.
That’s the one thing, of course, that I can connect with, and I think that anybody who’s gone through loss and pain in any degree finds humor as an outlet. Me, especially — a way to kind of cope. To laugh at it, as opposed to let it just paralyze you, and arrest you and take you down. So that I was able to connect with, but everything else was something I’ve never even come close to having walked through. So I was excited for the challenge of that, and creating her. I had the luxury of many weeks to do homework, and really explore her, and investigate her, and sit with people, sit with doctors, understanding these drugs, these combinations of drugs. The pain management, and what is the pain? Where does it start? Where was the injury? Where was the accident? What was the accident? Getting the physical characteristics — the walk, the movements, the voice. All of that. I had the luxury of a lot of time to really hone that.
Good thing you had the time to prep, given that you had no time to shoot the actual movie!
I know! I had more to time to practice, and rehearse and play. I remember one time I was like “let’s do this!” Just chompin’ at the bit. Five weeks and we were just like boom, done. We were walking, sleeping, eating, breathing this movie for five weeks straight. And had a really amazing time! And laughed a lot during the process of it, which was great. It was a really remarkable crew, and amazing director and the helm. We were lucky. Felt like this little acting troupe that was just traveling around all these locations — in Los Angeles which also never happens!
As a producer you’ve, no doubt, seen the film many times.
We’ve been in every edit, me and my producing partner Kristin [Hahn]. She was really the hands on since I was doing the other part of it, in front of the camera stuff. We were in that editing room, we maybe saw five different cuts of it. Four maybe? And then just little tweaks of it. Little tiny tweaks. I mean, he really had it in his head as he shot it, you know? He was able to edit as he shot almost.
The reason I brought that up was because I wanted to ask you what it’s like to watch yourself? So many actors can’t sit through a performance of theirs. As a producer, you can’t escape it.
I don’t squirm and get “Oooh, I can’t watch myself.” I actually learn from my mistakes, so I like to watch [laughs]. You can study it almost. “Oh, good to know!”
There were times where I moved too quickly. I was moving too fast. Or, that looked too easy in that one. It was fun for me to have the ability to get in there like a little microsurgeon and find the takes that, to me, were the most authentic and truthful to the character.
You’re obviously incredibly proud of this project and excited to get it out to the public. What’s your plan going forward, to really make good on the accolades this project has brought you?
It’s not really up to me, I’ve gotta be honest. I still have the power, the ability, to go out and find material that I self-generate and create. That I will still be doing ’til the cows come home — ’til they won’t let me do it anymore. But we’ll see, that has yet to be seen. But I’m not a game-planner, honestly. I kind of go with what’s happening at the moment. It almost creates anxiety to create plans for the future. Because what if I don’t live up to the plans? I don’t want resolutions that much. I like to be in the moment and see what’s happening. I just wanna enjoy the film and everyone who worked so hard on it. We’re so proud of each other, and we’re just pinching ourselves all the time with all the love this little film is receiving. It’s so special.
Nominations for the 72nd Annual Golden Globe Awards were announced on Thursday morning (December 11) and our girl pulled out a nomination for Best Actress in a Motion Picture, Drama for her work in “Cake.” Congratulations to Jennifer for all her hard work! It’s definitely paid off and I am proud of her. You can read below who Jennifer nominated alongside and read the full list of nominations.
Best Actress in a Motion Picture, Drama
Jennifer Aniston, Cake
Felicity Jones, The Theory of Everything
Julianne Moore, Still Alice
Rosamund Pike, Gone Girl
Reese Witherspoon, Wild
The Golden Globes will be broadcast by NBC on Sunday, January 11, 2015, and hosted by Tina Fey and Amy Poehler for the third year in a row.