Feature by: Jack Foley
FRIENDS may have
come to an end, but Jennifer Aniston is still hoping to be
there for her fans, by launching a successful movie career
for herself - which isnt dependent on her boyfriend.
Having impressed in indie hit, The
Good Girl, and finding some divine inspiration from Jim Carreys
Bruce Almighty last Summer,
the actress - still best known as Rachel, from that show - now
appears alongside Ben Stiller in the romantic comedy, Along Came
And speaking at a press conference at Londons Mandarin
Oriental on Wednesday (February 18, 2004), she hoped that she
would be able to establish an image for herself that wasnt
just a re-hash of her TV persona, even though she remains tremendously
grateful for the opportunities it has so far afforded.
"I loved Friends, so much, and I don't know how you can
follow that up," she confessed. "Almost every opportunity
that I have today has come from Friends, so I will always love
it, and no other job will compare to that."
So would she consider a return to TV if the movie career doesnt
become a success?
"No one can say I'd never go back to doing that, never.
It would be silly. But, for right now, I feel like I've done that,"
she replied. "I've spent 15 years doing it, actually, and
I'm excited to venture into this new arena [movies] and try this,
and producing, and everything else that I can try to explore."
Despite the determination to branch out, however, she seemed
a little caught off-guard by suggestions that she brought her
small screen self to the big screen, whenever she
appeared in a film.
"Gosh, I don't really know how to answer that," she
confessed, upon being asked whether she made a distinction. "I
would hope that I do, yeah, but it's hard not to bring yourself
to whatever work you do, because it's you!
but the parts, so far, may not have been extreme
steps away from what I've done for ten years. But it's going to
be hard to get that out of people's minds whenever they see anything
else, because it's been a consistent character I've played.
"It's something I know I'm probably going to be hearing
a lot, but I'll just keep trying to do my job as good as I can
and, hopefully, that will go away."
For the role of Polly, whom Aniston describes as more of
a free-spirit, she does at least attempt to break away,
slightly, appearing as someone with a fear of commitment,
who finds her ideals thrown to the wind by the arrival
of Stillers risk-assessment adviser, Reuben - who is, himself,
attempting to come to terms with his new wifes honeymoon
Their ensuing relationship is endearingly played, albeit with
some gross-out humour, which harks back to previous Stiller romantic
movies, such as Theres Something About Mary and Meet
But while Aniston confesses to having based Polly on one of her
girlfriends, who was delighted with her portrayal,
none of her own first date experiences come close to matching
the excruciating embarrassment of the on-screen couples
"The most disastrous date, and this was not as much a disaster
as it was uncomfortable for the people involved, was where the
guy was trying very hard, and he thought it would be a good idea
to take us to a Japanese massage parlour, and start the date off
that way," she recalled, with a laugh.
"We had a side by side massage, with two women walking up
and down our backs, holding on to ropes. I don't know why I even
let myself sit down at the table; I guess I was a little nervous
to say 'no'. But I didn't go to the dinner part, so that was pretty
much a disaster."
Looking to the future, however, Aniston hasnt really mapped
out any precise path, even though she confesses to have plenty
of work to consider.
"I would love to do more films like The Good Girl, but I
don't plan it out that way," she explained, in response to
whether she would like to conscientiously move away from the romantic
"It's sort of whatever comes, and is right at the time.
There are films that are out there that I'm contemplating, but
I feel really lucky that I got that opportunity. It took me out
of the box. It's so easy to be boxed into one part, and one part
only, so, yeah, I want to do more of everything."
She does, however, dismiss any chance of appearing alongside
her husband, Brad Pitt, for some time yet, for fear of generating
the wrong type of exposure.
"I think it would be trouble, in a way, because you wouldn't
even see the movie, you would just see too much of a show in another
way," she explained, candidly. "Maybe years down the
line, if the right thing comes along, of course, we would love
to. But not now."
Right now, Aniston is happy to contemplate life after Friends,
and explore the opportunities the show has afforded her. She even
hinted at the possibility of appearing as a guest on the spin-off
series, Joey, should Matt LeBlanc ask, admitting that she would
do anything for him.
But in terms of movies, there is the possibility of a new film
in which she will appear as a politician's wife, who must face
her past when the son she gave up for adoption ten years earlier
resurfaces, and an untitled Ted (Oceans
Griffin project to contend with.