Friends is not the only part of Jennifer Aniston's life in re-run mode right now. The small screen starlet also known for the past year as Mrs Brad Pitt, is reliving the '80s heavy metal scene too, in the very retro Rock Star (2001).
The down to earth and sweetly self-effacing Jennifer insisted that taking a back seat to Mark Wahlberg's center stage performance, as a rock wannabe, in the film was exactly what she was right in the mood for. Jennifer also mused about true romance on the celebrity circuit, when not poking fun at the accompanying extreme tabloid rumours. Also evincing some chuckles during this gabfest, were those deja vu surprise sightings of vintage Friends episodes on TV.
Tell the truth. How bad was your hair in the '80s?
It was pretty bad! It was really bad, actually. It was really long, really big, really layered. And bangs that started at the back of my head. It was like a lovely purply plum colour that I did myself. And that would eventually turn into orange. So yeah, it was pretty bad.
How did you manage to get off so easy hairwise, in Rock Star (2001)?
I don't know! I think I made a point to say, I'm not going to have bad hair, bad '80s hair. But it wasn't that great anyway. Emily still had the big bang.
Did you check out rock concerts to get into character for Rock Star (2001)?
No, I can't say I joined that craziness. Uh, uh. I mean, I've seen a couple of shows in my life. But no, I didn't do the rock scene very much. It kinda scares me, to tell you truthfully!
Well, did you ever have a favourite rock band that you liked, or hung out with?
I never hung out with them, no. But I tell you, I don't have a favourite. I love so many different bands, and different kinds of music. Um, Aerosmith has always been a favourite. Led Zeppelin has always been a favourite. Radiohead's a favourite. But there's a lot of 'em.
You did say something very interesting about Steve Tyler.
I know! Wish I'd never said it. It was a joke in passing between me and. .. . my loved one. And it was just, you know. .. .I do love Steven Tyler, though. I think he's just phenomenal. And very, very beautiful. But that was all. It was just a silly little thing that has bitten me in the butt!
Sorry about that. You play the lover - slash - girlfriend of somebody who becomes a big rock star. So you have to kind of fade into the background as a character. How did you relate to that, in terms of
your own celebrity experience?
I think it depends on the individual, and I think it depends on the situation.
Absolutely, we've seen that, and we know of that happening in people's lives. Like where one becomes very famous. And then the wife or the husband don't fit in the picture anymore. But there's also people that can handle it, and see what it is and take it for what it is. Which is just a big old fun game, and it's not real. You know, it's all for the moment.
Hopefully, if you have a career that will last a long time, and you know why you're there and the work is important, it's one thing. But to get caught up in that kind of hoopla, and the fame and the glamour, is pretty silly.
But to other people it is real, in some ways.
Oh yeah, for some people it's absolutely real. I don't mean it's not real, because it exists, and the industry exists. But this idea that it's some glamorous, fantastic existence all the time, you know, that's just not real. I mean, you go to work every day. It's like a nine to five job. You go get your coffee in the morning, you do your work and you come home. And then you gotta feed the dog, and you got your pool guy messing up something in the back. So there's all that stuff. You know what I mean? I guess you could choose to go out, and partake and live in that scene. We just don't do that so much.
We hear stories all the time about how you and Brad want to work together. And yet when he dropped out of Rock Star (2001), you came on board. What's going on?
Yeah, I know. That was weird. The way it happened was, they were working on it for a while, then it sorta went away. And then about a year later, I got the call from my manager. And she said, do you remember Metal God? I said, yeah. And she said, well, Mark Wahlberg is doing it. So how would you feel about playing the girl?
And I remembered there not being a part. So I said, hey, there's no part. And she said, they'll write one. They'll create it and put it together. So I said, sure. That sounds great. So it wasn't as if, because Brad dropped out, that I came on board. There was never even a thought of it. Before all that, it went away for about a year.
What sort of kick is it, when somebody tells you they'll write a part just for you?
Oh, it's great. It doesn't happen very often. So that was nice. That was really great.
What made you decide on Rock Star (2001) anyway?
Well, I liked the story. It's a fun period, the '80s. And I also like the story about this guy's rise to fame, and what happens. And how he adjusts to it, and how he handles it. I thought that was just kinda fun. Hey, it's all about fun, ultimately.
Oh, it was amazing. I love him, first of all. He's so talented, and he makes such an amazingly seamless transition from character to character. He's just good at what he does, he's just good. Mark is that
character. Like he put on those leather pants, and that was pretty much all he had to do. And there was no Marky Mark anywhere to be seen.
Was there ever a temptation for you, when he had all those fans screaming for him, to just run out there and have them scream for you too?
. .. .No! Uh uh, no way. Let him have that! Yeah, crowds are frightening.
What turns your character Emily off most about the whole scene, the corrupting side of fame, or the infidelity?
No, I think it's that she knows that he has to do this. It's like they have a real love and respect for each other. And she knows that he's got to experience this, whatever it is. But also, Emily knows there is no place for her, and that's not enough for her. So I think it's just having a lot of faith in who they are. And she has a lot of integrity, to kinda follow what it is that makes her happy at that point. It's painful for her, but. .. .
Even though you play a supporting character, Emily is very much at the heart of Rock Star (2001). Why would a huge star like you opt for a supporting role rather than center stage?
It's too much responsibility!
So was the chance to hang in the background part of the appeal of this role?
I don't know. I think that there just has maybe not been a big role that has appealed to me. I mean, I've made some choices in the past, and I haven't regretted anything. But maybe I thought, wow, I wish I had given that a little more thought, or been in this business a little longer, because you get kind of offered something and you think, wow, they're offering that to me? Okay, but without any thought of what it is, or how it will benefit you.
So yeah, Rock Star (2001) just happened to be interesting to me and it fit into the time slot, and gave me free time at the end of the summer so I could breathe a little bit before going back to Friends which is always important to me.
So you're more into your own life right now, than your career?
Oh yeah. The passage of time is very important. You know, the quality of life. I mean, even just finishing this movie I did at the end of Friends. It was called Good Girl, the (2002) It was about doing double duty again. And that was just, ugh. And as amazing as it was, it was so exhausting.
I felt like something was going to suffer eventually. I'm not a workaholic like that. I do admire people who can do that so much, who can pull that off. Like say George Clooney. When he was doing E. R. and Superman, I mean, he was Superman. And I don't know how he did it. That's amazing to me.
Do a lot of scripts that come your way tend to resemble Friends?
None of them are like Friends, really. There are similarities in like, spoiled rich girl looking for love, in that way. I mean, that's pretty much the formula for romantic comedies. There are only a certain amount of ways you can tell a love story. It's just finding the writer who will make it interesting, you know?
Because you're so identified with your character in Friends, does that lead to encounters with casting directors who have a lack of imagination about you?
How do you deal with that kind of tunnel vision when it comes to Jennifer Aniston?
You have to go in and prove it, and just audition for them. You know, I don't ever have an ego about auditioning. So I don't expect someone to think I can do something that they haven't seen me do yet, you know? I'm the one who doesn't know if I can do it. So I kind of feel that you either go in and audition, or you get a job somewhere that can prove otherwise. And like just show a piece of you that they haven't seen before. You know, you've just gotta prove it to them.
When do you stop auditioning and say to them hey, you've seen what I can do?
I dunno. That time hasn't come yet. Eventually. But maybe never. There are stories still today about actresses who go in and read, you know. And I remember thinking, really, so and so is still reading? But for the same reason, sometimes directors really need to see. And then of course, you get up into that tier of like Julia Roberts, and stuff. You know, where she doesn't have to do anything, but say yes or no. That's just a different place.
When you were filming the big cliffhanger finale of Friends, did you have any idea it would create such a huge controversy?
No! I mean, we were just handed these pages. We had shot a phoney ending. And then at two o'clock in the morning after they unloaded the audience, they handed us all the pages for the finale. They didn't trust anybody, truthfully, to not give it away.
So everyone on the casting crew all had to sign confidentiality things. Then we get the script, and I'm like, oh my gosh! I'm pregnant. Wow. And then the crew starts coming up, and congratulating me. And I'm saying, I swear to God, guys, I am not pregnant!
What was their reaction to that bit of disappointing news?
Oh, they're all going yeah, right, uh huh, sure you're not. And from then on, all the hoopla happened. It was funny, though. It made me laugh. And I got a lot of free desserts!
Does that kind of hoopla just blow you away, or what?
I don't know, it's weird. It's just a weird thing. I think it's silly. And I think it's also funny, like the fact that the BBC was reporting it. I mean, that's kind of a worthy news station, I would think. And then with CBS News, and my publicist having to call while they're on air and say, we dropped the hat! You know, this is news, for chrissake. But it's just funny.
What does that feel like, to know that you can stop traffic all over the place?
I don't think it's me, it's the media. It has nothing to do with me. I'm just the. .. vessel!
How about the fact that a good chunk of the planet is out there rooting for you and Brad to have kids?
I know, I think it's great. It's like amazing. And it will happen. But all of that is just very strange.
What's up for this season?
Well, we've shot three episodes, of which I will tell you. .. ... none of! But it was all good. It's good fun.
Do you ever catch the Friends reruns?
Oh yeah. It's actually hysterical. I love the show, I mean that may sound really corny, but I do. We're flippin' through the dial and there's a rerun, and we laugh. It's fun.
What is your mood now about getting back to work?
Hey, I'm psyched about it. I always love going back to that job. I love everybody there. The writers keep it interesting, they are so on top of it. And everybody is still open, and we're collaborative. It's just a good job. I love it.
How easy or hard would it actually be for two such high profile stars like you and Brad to work together?
Well truthfully, imagine the microscope we'd be under. I mean let's face it, we couldn't just go out and do a movie. It would be people sitting back, just wait to see, you know, whatever. So it has to be right, and it has to be good. And maybe we'll have to wait fifteen years for that.
You know, so it's not so much of a big deal to guys like you out there. Because right now, there are still so many silly little media circuses happening.
But that will never end, will it?
The media circus thing.
Oh, I'm sure it will. They'll get bored, and they'll move on to somebody else. You know, the next flavour. Or whatever. I think it's like anything else. There's an ebb and flow, and you know, it's something to talk about. And then they need to fill their pages with something else.
You're somebody though, who's gone on for a long flow.
Yeah, I guess so. It's a couple of years.
Wait, you and Brad just had your first anniversary, didn't you?
We did! See, we made it! Nobody would have thought we could.
But do you remember ever not being married, even after just one year?
Yeah, it's just awesome. We just don't feel like it ever was any other way. It's so true!