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PopEntertainment.com > Feature Interviews A to E > Jennifer Aniston

JENNIFER ANISTON

GETS ON TRACK WITH HER NEW FILM DERAILED

by Brad Balfour

After a decade as a member of the Friends ensemble, Jennifer Aniston became a household name and representative of a certain comedic style. Of course, after the show ended she turned to mainstream features such as Bruce Almighty and indie fare such as The Good Girl,  but got sidetracked by a the collapse of her marriage to Brad Pitt. With Derailed, she gets back on track co-starring with Clive Owen in a crisp, tense noir thriller about two people who try to start an illicit affair with tragic results.

Having done ten years of comedy, were you looking for dramatic roles in a film like this?

I think you're always looking for good roles comedic, dramatic, whatever it is. So yeah, this came along at a perfect time, when it was like fate. As far as what I'm going to do next, nothing is definite [though there are several projects in post-production]. I need some time off, truthfully, unless something wonderful comes along. Nothing has yet. I'm focusing on the projects that I'm developing. That's Plan B.

With all the media attention directed at you how do you stay grounded when your life almost gets derailed—what advice would you give people who found themselves in a similar situation?

I'm not a role model or whatever, or the poster child for how to do anything. It was my first time at this particular picnic. So, I just have had a great family, and great friends. This is nothing out of the ordinary people walk through this stuff all the time. It's great having a creative outlet and having work to do as well. And when I wasn't working that was fine too.

How would you describe your character in a way so that you don't give away the secret twist to the story?

Well, I would describe her as a normal woman who is at a very mundane phrase in her life, who meets this very intriguing, lovely man on a train. He succumbs to temptation and they both have to figure out a way to get out of the terrible consequences that they created for themselves.

And the movie?

This is a sexy, psychological thriller [laughs].

Since this is Swedish director Mikael Hafstrom's first American production how was he to work for on this film?

This was such unchartered territory but I felt such a trust in everything he said. There was never a debate, never any questioning. That was really important. Having seen [his film] "Evil," meeting him and talking about his take on how he wanted to play this, made it intriguing, because it's an uncomfortable reality. There is a lot of discomfort watching this movie. Put in the wrong hands, it could have gone that high concept glossy slick thriller and it's not, far from it.

Was it scary to take that plunge?

Yeah, there was definitely a moment of "Uh gosh, I don't know if I can pull this off." But then I had Mikael and enough people around me believing that I could really pull this off. Thank God for directors like him who think that it was interesting for him to take my persona and put it in this part. I really appreciate that.

That was your "grateful persona"?

Yeah, whatever the persona is that has prevented me getting other roles like this.

What were your first impressions of Clive Owen?

He's great. It was instant ease and comfort with Clive and that doesn't always happen. It was very easy to work together. We had similar sensibilities about how to approach what we were doing; one didn't have a different method.

The rape scene here but it didn't feel like a gratuitous element or fake because such a horrible thing does happen.

That's true.

How did you handle it?

In filming [the scene] where our characters are in the hotel room bed and start to make love when the blackmailer barges in and knocks Charles out] to the rape took over a week. So we were able to block it out and it was choreographed. So as Michael said it wasn't as hard to do as it was to watch.

So you two sat down and worked it out beforehand?

Yeah, it terms of the technicalities.

But then LaRoche (Vincent Cassel) comes in and then no acting required.

[Laughing] Yeah, you're actually terrified. It wasn't that hard.

Without revealing the plot, your character's has a special experience with LaRoche?

Have you met him?  I truthfully thought Lucinda was at a place where she actually thought she was stuck in a bad situation and felt a lot of Charles [Owen] and possibly saw a window as a way out, possibly a new life or what that would be like. You know how some destructive relationships keep you trapped. I don't know if that answered anything for you.

Could you put away your character when the director yelled "Cut" after the rape scene?

It wasn't difficult at all because it was so well choreographed. It was very controlled and I was in such good hands with Vincent. He's a pro. He has such control of his body. It's important as an actor not to be reckless, especially in a scene like that. I felt so safe. They'd say "rolling" and we'd be there and then they'd say "cut," and we were out of there. It's the physicality, but it isn't that graphic. It's very quick and very jarring. Then again, it put Vincent and his menacing [quality] on a roll.

How was it working with Xzbit [who plays LaRoche's equally menacing sidekick]?

As menacing and intense as he is, that's how sweet and kind he was. During the one scene where he was holding a large gun to my head, he was very concerned for my safety. He was worried about my safety and if I was okay. He's really wonderful.

Do you think your part in Derailed – as a corrupted woman – will debunk the label of
America's Sweetheart that you've been addled with?

Well, God I hope so! Being "America's Sweetheart"... that label gets put on a lot of people. I don't pay much attention to that. I'm not trying to shake anything. I'm just following my instincts and doing work that is coming to me and I'm grateful for it.

What did you do while you were shooting in
Chicago and were you recognized there?

Let me tell you every specific place I like to hang out so you can all come there! [laughs] I absolutely loved it. I loved filming there. The people are so kind and respectful; they'll leave you alone and let you do your job. It has a lot of wonderful culture and great museums and great restaurants. The lake is beautiful and there's a lot to do. The oddest place I was recognized would probably be the steam room [in the hotel].

And how do you feel about the way the tabloids have covered your story?

I don't look at that stuff.  I just don't pay attention to it.

And what's your favorite film of all time?

Terms of Endearment for its casting, the story and just everything about it.

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