Jennifer Aniston for “Rock Star”

The beautiful Emmy-nominated star of Friends remains one of the most written about stars of the popular TV sitcom, from her marriage to a guy called Brad, her much-discussed changing hair style, and a recent real estate purchase that actually made headlines.

Yet beneath it all, Jennifer Aniston remains funny and strangely normal. Her latest movie is Rock Star, co-starring Mark Wahlberg, in the true, if loosely-based, story of “Ripper” Owens, the office supply salesman who replaced Rob Halford in the heavy metal band Judas Priest in 1996. This version is set in the 80s and Aniston plays Wahlberg’s manager-cum-girlfriend who goes along for the ride until she sees the reality of fame.

In this candid conversation with the beautiful and friendly superstar, Paul Fischer discussed many of the above matters, as well as her latest movies and of course, the future of that show called Friends.

Question: Given the short window you have between series of Friends, you must get flooded with offers. Why Rock Star?

Answer: It fitted into the slot really nicely, and it also allowed for some free time, which I always really need – just some time for me to breathe before going back to work.  It was also Mark [Wahlberg] which excited me, and it was FUN, a sort of fun, rock’n’roll popcorn, junk food kinda movie. And I was into it. I thought it was a touching love story. When it came to me, there wasn’t much of a character, the part hadn’t been fully written, so we kind of put our heads together and worked on that.

Question: What about the dance sequence, where your character gets out of control and ends up making out with both men and women. I understand a bit of Tequila helped.

Answer: There was not a LOT of Tequila, but there was some. That whole scene was definitely choreographed, but then you have to also make it look real and comfortable. And I’m so uncomfortable and out of my body doing something like that. So I had a bottle the size of an ordinary bottle of water, and Stephen [Herek, director], pulled me aside and said: ‘OK, you gotta like relax’, because I was just having a hard time trying to get into the mindset of being affectionate, sexual, intimate, or whatever, with another person. So we finished that talk, he handed me that bottle and I was absolutely cured. One swing of that Tequila and I was raring to go.

Question: So how did Brad feel about you kissing another woman?

Answer: Oh he was fine – somehow I don’t think it bothered him at all [Laughter].

Question: Talking about Brad, I understand that a long time ago, he was in consideration for the Mark Wahlberg part in this.

Answer: About a year before it came around the second time, he and his agent talked about it with Warner Brothers, worked on it for about 6 months, and then it kind of went away. Then it kind of resurrected itself with Mark attached.

Question: Brad told me during The Mexican junket, when asked if he’d like to work with you, that he’d ‘do anything with you.’ Do you feel the same way?

Answer: I’d love to do that, I truly would, and when it’s right it will be. But that’ll be a while off. Can you imagine the microscope you’ll be under for that one?

Question: Rock Star is set in the 80s. Can you take us back to YOUR 80s music experiences? What bands did you listen to back then?

Answer: Everybody. I listened to the Go Gos, remember them? We even tried a girl band at one point.  I stress: We TRIED to do it. There’s no musical talent in my genes.

Question: Not even karaoke?

Answer: No, you kidding? That’s HUMILIATING. I have stage fright, oddly enough, unless it’s written for me and I know I can do it.

Question: When you were a kid in the 80s, did you ever have a crush on a rock star?

Answer: Sure I did. I went through my Aerosmith obsession, I loved Duran Duran, Chicago, Doobie Brothers, all of that.

Question: Have your tastes changed?

Answer: I think those bands pretty much transcend. Now,  Radiohead is a big favourite.

Question: Can you relate to the celebrity aspect of this movie?  One of the themes is the concept of fame and how to cope with the extreme suddenness of it.

Answer: Yeah definitely, especially the speedy ride through fame aspect of it, in terms of Friends happening so fast, and not knowing what’s going on. I often question: What does this all mean, why are people so much nicer to me now, and why am I getting FREE clothes, when I can afford clothes; all those weird things that happen to celebrities that just make you question. I think some people question and some people don’t.

Question: Do YOU question it?

Answer: Yeah of course. It’s just a bizarre thing to happen.

Question: How would you define your relationship with the press? There’s often a lot written about you and taken out of context.

Answer: I’ve given up on that. .There’s a point where you go: It doesn’t matter what I say, it doesn’t matter what you really FEEL, and there’ll always be someone who’ll misrepresent you or create something that’s not even there.

Question: I read where YOU said that the funniest thing ever written about you was that you are hooked on drugs. Rock Star does, to some degree, deal with drug use. Do you have to say ‘no’ a lot in showbusiness?

Answer: No, I’ve never been in that kind of scene in Hollywood where there were drugs everywhere or whatever the people’s idea of that world is.

Question: There’s also that scene in the movie where you and Mark go to the band’s mansion for the first time and you’re looking around in amazement, and I can’t help chuckle thinking: Didn’t you just buy a house that big? How does that compare to your house?

Answer: Not even at all, not even a little bit. That place in the movie is a MANSION; I have a beautiful, humble, little home. The size and price of it has been exaggerated;

Question: Are you going to decorate it yourself?

Answer: As much as we can, yeah. We may hire someone to help us out a little bit, but we both love that process so much.

Question: Let’s talk about Friends. There was a front cover story in a recent edition of the Australian magazine Woman’s Day that described how Friends would end.

Answer: Gees, I must read it to find out what happens. [Laughter]. It’s amazing where they get this.

Question: So what DO you know?

Answer: They literally give us scripts days, sometimes hours, in advance. The night that we shot the finale, we were handed the pages at 2 o’clock in the morning. We shot a whole phoney ending, sent the audience home, and then they didn’t even let US know how it was going to end.

Question: What can you say about the new season?

Answer: So far the scripts have been great; the three shows we’ve shot have been great and so much fun. That’s about it.

Question: Eight years down the track, is it harder for the writing and characters to remain fresh?

Answer: Our writers are pretty amazing, who keep it interesting and funny.

Question: When Friends is over, do you think you’ll still hang out with those guys?

Answer: I hope so. Those girls, absolutely, no question about it. I mean we all love each other; I would hope we would stay friends for a long time.

Question: How much more will you give the show?

Answer: This is our last season as far as I know, yeah.

Question: I understand your father was none too happy about your decision to become an actress.

Answer: That’s true, he wanted me to get a real job and support my family.

Question: I guess he’s changed his mind now, huh?

Answer: Yeah, he’s alright with it [Laughter].

Question: Were you involved with this Zone Diet?

Answer: I was now, and now it’s a way of life for me.

Question: What else do you do to keep this magnificent body in shape?

Answer: I work out three times a week; I eat three meals a day and do Palates, which is great.

Question: Why Palates?

Answer: I had a hip problem and a chronic pinched nerve and it completely solved all of those problems. It makes you feel like I’m taller.

Question: No dietary restrictions?

Answer: No I eat anything I want within reason.

Question: Now your next film, The Good Girl, is different again and I understand you have some pretty intimate moments in that one [with co-star Jake Gyllenhaal]. Was it hard to shoot those scenes?

Answer: Yeah for both of us, because we’ve never done it before. Shooting the sex scene was terrifying and we were both nervous, not to mention 400 pieces of material between us [maybe I shouldn’t say that].

Question: What do you think of the big to-do that’s been made of your hair over the years?

Answer: I use Mane ‘N Tail shampoo, horse shampoo. Don’t you notice how long and gorgeous their tails are? It’s that simple, that and a good blow-dry.

Question: You have a reputation in Hollywood of being a ‘nice person’, of not being the temperamental diva so many seem to be. How do you avoid falling into that diva-like trap?

Answer: I just don’t feel there is any excuse for any human being, celebrity or non-celebrity, to behave inappropriately to another human being. I just think it’s disgusting. And God knows we’ve seen it.