Despite playing a stripper for her latest role, Jennifer Aniston still can’t seem to shake off that ‘good girl’ image. But she’s not going to let it bother her, as SUSAN GRIFFIN discovers
As one of the world’s most famous women, Jennifer Aniston is used to being hounded by paparazzi. But today, for a brief time at least, she appears to have been offered respite as the hotel in which she’s promoting her new movie, We’re The Millers, appears to be paparazzi-free.
Ever the professional despite her status, Aniston arrives on time (a rarity among megastars). The poor soul allowed into her suite before me emerges red-faced, having unintentionally managed to offend Aniston’s acting talents, he reveals. Before I have time to panic, my name’s called - and there she is, everybody’s favourite ‘Friend’, looking radiant and really not so different from her Rachel Green days, despite the series ending almost a decade ago.
“Well hi,” says Aniston, extending her hand for me to shake (another rarity among Hollywood’s elite, most of whom prefer not to make actual contact).
Now aged 44, she’s slim and tanned in a black fitted dress, uber high heels and an impressive sparkler on her left hand (she got engaged to actor Justin Theroux, 42, last year). The shoulder-length, sun-kissed hair is, of course, immaculate, but then Aniston doesn’t travel anywhere without hairdresser Chris McMillan, her long-time friend, and the man behind ‘that’ Rachel cut.
As a gentle opener, I ask whether she had fun at the film’s premiere recently.
“Oh, I had a great time,” the actress replies politely. Then comes a voice from the other end of the room. “Sorry, we’ve messed up! We’ve got to cut it there as she needs to do a live radio chat.”
What everybody wants to know, of course, is whether those wedding and pregnancy rumours are true but, as suspected, Aniston is tight-lipped and we remain in the dark, though I can confirm there is absolutely no hint of a bump.
We’re The Millers is a crude comedy about a small-time drug dealer called David Clark (Jason Sudeikis) who’s forced to head to Mexico in an RV motorhome to collect a “smidge” of drugs for his boss. Believing the best way to make it over the border without being searched is to pretend he’s on a normal family holiday, he enlists the help of his neighbours - a stripper called Rose (Aniston), a teenage nerd called Kenny (Will Poulter) and a moody runaway called Casey (Emma Roberts). Together they become ‘the Millers’, and the dysfunctional ‘family’ embark on a road trip that involves a hash ‘baby’ and disturbing spider bite on Kenny’s nether regions.
“We were trying to find something for a while and it just so happened after Horrible Bosses [a previous film] that the same studio had Millers,” says Aniston on collaborating with her close pal Sudeikis. “I read the script and thought it was a funny concept and a fun ride.”
Sudeikis might be relatively new to playing leading men but he’s heralded as one of America’s funniest, thanks to his stint on the iconic American sketch show Saturday Night Live. “Jason’s improvisational skills are fantastic, just masterful. That led to some awesome volleying back and forth between the two of us,” says Aniston.
Despite a wide variety of roles, from 2002’s dark indie The Good Girl to the 2005 stylish thriller Derailed with Clive Owen, and gentle romcoms like Marley & Me, Aniston’s girl-next-door image continues to reign supreme. That’s why there has been such a to-do over her role as a stripper in this movie.
“I didn’t mind, honestly, that didn’t bother me,” she says of her character’s profession. “The main concern was trying to ensure I had enough to do. The female character was a little underwritten, so that took a bit of work, and continued to do so all the way through shooting, because that sometimes happens.”
Aniston admitted recently that she relishes playing bad girls, and apparently kept all Rose’s stripper clothes. And the yoga enthusiast confesses she notched up her fitness regime in preparation for filming the strip scenes.
“I was having fun with my choreographer in the studio, doing the routine from top to bottom, having a ball and loving it. Then then the next thing you know, you’re on the set, there are crew members, it’s technical and you have to do each part over and over again!” she recalls. “But you just have to go for it.”
But could she really see herself heading off in a motorhome like the Millers? “I think it’d be a lot of fun. It would be a great way to escape, if possible, and just disappear.” She says this quietly, but then it must feel like a pipe dream for one of the world’s most famous women.
:: We’re The Millers is released in cinemas across the UK and Ireland now.