She may well have one her first Golden Globe, but Friends star Jennifer Aniston is busier than ever, as DH correspondent Paul Fischer discovered in this one and only online interview, when he met her on the set of her latest movie in which she stars opposite Ben Stiller.
Jennifer Aniston was looking a little weary when we met. “I’m a bit nauseous” she explains smilingly. No, the beautiful award-winning Friends star is not pregnant, but she and comic actor Ben Stiller are shooting a film together, part of which takes place within the tight confines of a boat cabin rocking intensely. “I feel like I’m on one of those Universal thrill rides”, the good-natured actress laughingly adds. We’re on a makeshift soundstage as part of a large complex in South-western Los Angeles. Aniston and Ben Stiller have teamed up in an as yet untitled romantic comedy directed by John Hamburg, best known as the writer of such hit comedies as Meet the Parents and Zoolander, coincidentally all starring Ben Stiller.
In what is currently known as The Untitled John Hamburg Project, Stiller portrays insurance risk-assessor Reuben Feffer, whose best-laid plans for life and love zoom wildly off track when his wife (Debra Messing) dumps him on their honeymoon for a French and wacky scuba instructor (Hank Azaria). Stunned, humiliated and in the grip of acute indigestion, Reuben plans to play it safer than ever. But a chance encounter with an adventure-craving, globe-trotting friend from high school (Aniston) shoots him into a whirlwind of extreme sports, spicy foods, ferrets, salsa dancing and living in the moment. The nausea-generated scene the pair of actors is shooting when we meet, is a fight scene, Stiller explains. “Jennifer and I are having a fight on board this sailboat that’s being skippered by this crazy Australian millionaire adventurer guy [played by Bryan Brown]. I invited her away for the weekend and we end up getting into it and we basically break up in this scene.” Aniston, casually dressed in accordance with her character, describes this latest screen character, Polly Prince, “as this eccentric and wild old friend of Reuben’s from school. They haven’t seen each other since then and they kind of meet up years later.” Stiller continues the conversation explaining that the two. “We were in junior high together, delegates at the model United Nations. I walk in on my wife having sex with this scuba instructor guy. I go back home and my whole life has been geared towards this marriage, and having kids. He’s a guy who’s set in his ways,” while Aniston’s character, she adds, “is just the opposite in that she’s commitment-phobic, no plan and lives by the seat of my pants.”
It is clear that these two actors, who are currently among Hollywood’s A-list stars, have genuine comic chemistry, feeding amongst each other and having fun. That is no surprise given the fact that Stiller and Aniston worked together once previously – on an episode of Friends, no less. “I played this really angry character who spent the entire episode yelling at everyone.” While the pair hadn’t seen each other since working on Aniston’s much lauded sitcom, watching the pair work together on set makes it clear that the actors have genuine chemistry. “We just love having fun and this piece with this director makes that so much easier”, Aniston says. Aniston admits that she based her latest screen character on someone she knows. “She’s 100% modeled on a girlfriend of mine named Daryl, in that she travels all over the place, she’s a spendthrift and lovely in every way.”
For this recent Golden Globe winner, who recently won additional acclaim for her portrayal of The Good Girl, the challenge is to find characters beyond the scope of Friends’ Rachel Green. “I’m constantly looking for that challenge, and it’s hard, because you have to go very far from Rachel, because she is a very universal character in terms of this girl from New York. It’s something I want to do consciously so that I will have more opportunities,” explains the beautiful actress. “I just want to be able to not be boxed in and kept doing one thing.” Even while shooting Friends and this latest movie simultaneously, Aniston doesn’t see it as a challenge swapping characters in the course of a day, given her hectic schedule. “Because I’ve been doing Friends for so long, it’s become second nature.” Even at the beginning of this film, Aniston was completing work on her previous movie, Bruce Almighty, so at one point the actress was juggling THREE characters simultaneously. One would have forgiven her for becoming somewhat confused. “It’s really not that hard; you just come in, put your clothes on and there’s your character.” Trying to find time to relax with hubbie Brad Pitt and her family is far more of a challenge, she says. “Well I do a little tired and I wouldn’t mind a bit of extra time for some much needed family and love,” Jennifer adds smilingly. For Aniston, this is the best time in her life: She stars in a hit series, has won both the Emmy and Golden Globe, she continues to be in high demand and there is that wonderful marriage. Aniston is clearly having the time of her life. “I’d say I’m having a pretty good time but then I’ve had some great times throughout my career but this year is pretty lovely.” As for her recent Golden Globe win, Aniston remains surprised. “We’ve gone through years and years of never getting ANYTHING and though that doesn’t bother us, when we do win something it’s quite a shock.” It also makes her “want to keep on doing my work, like I’ve been doing.” Including another season of the hit show which she says she remains excited about!