Hollywood’s beloved Jennifer Aniston is finding her wilder side of late in R-rated roles in movies such as Horrible Bosses, the 2011 hit in which she played a sex-crazed dentist, and now, in We’re The Millers, she steps it up a notch (in high heels and underwear) as a stripper.
At 44, Aniston reveals her age-defying body, the likes of which could easily pass for a woman half her age, in the raunchy comedy starring Jason Sudeikis (with whom she starred in Horrible Bosses and The Bounty Hunter). The California-born actor’s mainstream appeal never wavers, even in the throes of a lap dance, nor when she carries off a striptease (in slow motion) to the music of Aerosmith’s Sweet Emotion.
Though Aniston is certainly not the first actor in her 40s to rid her clothes for the sake of “art”, unlike many of her peers, she does it with humour, sans any whiff of desperation to confirm the status of her sexual allure.
At a happy time in her life, she’s engaged to fellow actor Justin Theroux, with whom she purchased a house for US$22 million in Bel Air earlier this year. And in her professional life, she remains on Forbes list as one of Hollywood’s highest earners.
Can you walk me through the steps from reading the script, knowing you’ll be doing a striptease, to being on the set strutting around in next to nothing?
The thought process was, ‘Oh. I’ve never done that before; that should be fun.’ But then it came time to do it and I thought, ‘Don’t screw up or you’ll have to do it again!’ to ‘I should run. What was I thinking!’ I did that scene on day one on the set and I just had to bite the bullet.
How long did it take to become proficient as a pole dancer?
(laughs) Well, the choreography of the striptease took about a month and a half. At first I was like Bambi on rollerskates because I’d never done it before and I’m not very coordinated to begin with at all, so it took a while for me to do it without having a pained look on my face.
As an actress you learn a lot of skillsets on the job. Did you learn any practical dance moves that you can use in real life?
Oh, yeah. I definitely took some of those moves with me after the shoot ended.
I interviewed Hugh Jackman recently for Wolverine and he said when his body has to be seen on screen he cuts out all carbs for a few weeks before. Is that what you did? Please don’t tell me you sat on the couch eating hamburgers all day.
No (laugh). It was no food (laughs). There was a lot of salads, a lot of celery sticks, a lot of cucumbers, ice chips – they did let me eat ice chips, (laughter). Water was good. But that’s right – absolutely no carbs and no sugars. I had a trainer five days a week and I committed to it.
But that’s a pretty normal part of your routine, isn’t it?
Yes, but I upped it a notch with a trainer. I usually just do my own cardio, yoga, and spinning. But this was a large man with big weights, strapping things onto me and making me pull things up and down the hallways.
You looked fabulous at the New York premiere – what is the process before a red carpet? Do you have a ritual?
A good breakfast, a good workout, then start the hair and make-up process. It’s usually pretty relaxing.
You have an equally stylish significant other in Justin. Does he weigh in on your fashion decisions?
Yeah, and I definitely take his advice.
Do you advise him too?
Yes, isn’t that what couples do? Like, ‘Honey, don’t do that?’ Or, ‘Yes honey, that looks awesome’.
You play a very convincing mother. How do you see yourself as a mother?
(sighs) Ah, the mother question. I feel like a mother to a lot of my girlfriends. My girlfriends and I are all very maternal; we are each other’s mothers, sisters, girlfriends, everything. So I think because a lot of us had not the most fabulous parental experiences in our own lives that we kind of learned our own parental techniques. We family each other. It’s just an instinct I’ve had for many, many years; it just comes naturally, as it does for most women probably.
Apparently you chose the song, “Sweet Emotions” to do your striptease to? Are you a big fan of Aerosmith and have you met Steven Tyler?
Yes and yes. I’ve been a big fan of Aerosmith for many years, since I was a kid, and it just felt like the right song to choreograph that particular dance to. And yes, Steve Tyler sang to me on my birthday once. He sang Angel, and after that he sang, Happy Birthday.
Although you’ve done other genres of film, if it’s a “Jennifer Aniston movie” it generally means it’ll be a comedy. Why do you think that is?
Honestly, I love making people laugh. It’s something I enjoy immensely and comedies are more fun to make. Having said that, I just completed a dramatic piece called Life of Crime. But it’s the comedic roles that end up coming to me and I do tend to gravitate towards comedies because they feel good.
There’s a funny scene in “We’re the Millers” when the theme from “Friends” comes on. How do you look back on that time?
Wow. It feels like yesterday, it really does. When I stumble upon a rerun on TV, I think, “God. That was so much fun.” I still see Courteney [Cox] all the time and even though I don’t see the others as much, we’ll all always be forever connected.
Would you consider a TV series again?
I would never say never.
I know you have a new house and I was wondering how environmentally conscious you are?
Pretty green. We recycle and the house has a solar roof and solar panelling.
You’ve lived life in the tabloids for many years now – what’s your coping mechanism?
I just try to do my job, do it well and drown out that stupid noise. None of this stuff is life and death.
‘We’re The Millers’ is in cinemas now.