Jennifer Aniston has adorned many hats in the industry from sitcom star to movie star that appears in dramas, comedies and period pieces that combine both -- such as her latest, Life of Crime. And she is also a producer on the film that is a big screen adaptation of the Elmore Leonard crime novel The Switch.
When we caught up with the superstar, we wondered if there was anything else left she wanted to do that she has not done yet.
“Direct. Absolutely, that's the next thing, the big sort of hurdle I want to take on,” Aniston said. “I've done a few short films that I've just loved the experience of doing and I'm just waiting for that wonderful window and that wonderful script and that will be the next one for me.”
When it comes to what kinds of films she would like to helm, there is one thing for sure: She knows what she would not want to direct!
“Well, I wouldn't say like horror films or ones like a The Matrix kind of thing. I don't think you'd want to see me do that,” Aniston said and laughed.
She would prefer a film, much like the one she’s in now that is teased in the Life of Crime trailer. “I love human experience. I love human beings and behavior and relationships and it will probably have something to do with that.”
When it comes to the Daniel Schechter written and directed effort that joins a long legacy of Leonard movies brought to life (Jackie Brown, Out of Sight), there was something in Schecter’s adaptation of The Switch that she thought audiences truly needed to see.
“He just impressed me to no end and I was so excited because I’ve always loved Elmore Leonard. I had read The Switch, which was the actual name -- but we had to switch because I was already in a movie called Switch about best friends making a baby,” Aniston said and smiled at the irony.
“I love how Leonard writes his characters. They’re all so interesting and detailed. Also his bad guys aren’t the brightest, yet they somehow always make it happen and they’re actually lovable.”
Aniston also wanted to dive into the character of Mickey and felt that she could bring something to the role of the unhappy housewife (whose husband is Tim Robbins), who gets kidnapped by John Hawkes’ Louis (who becomes Robert De Niro’s character in Jackie Brown) and Yaslin Bey’s Ordell (who becomes Samuel L. Jackson’s character!).
“I also thought Mickey’s character had such a beautiful arc and a powerful one. In that time to write that for a woman in the '70s was pretty awesome. The whole package was really exciting for me. It was pretty much a no-brainer,” she admitted.
The fashion of the '70s was an interesting thing for Aniston to embrace. “It’s a tough look. It was awesome for the time and a lot of fun to wear all of that polyester and the handkerchiefs around the neck. My favorite piece of wardrobe was the sunglasses.”
Although the women’s lib movement was getting into high gear in that decade, the Leonard character that Aniston plays was kind of stuck in a previous era.
“Mickey was living in the petrified forest with Frank (Robbins) and very repressed emotionally and abused and didn’t know how to make a move to get out of that sort of jail,” she said. “Oddly enough, the kidnapping is her get out of jail free card. As the story progressed and her situation became more dire, she found that strength like women do when faced with unimaginable circumstances.”
Speaking of Robbins, Aniston has known the esteemed actor for years. So it was a real treat to have him be such an awful person to her on screen in Life of Crime! “It was pretty awesome. He really was a jerk -- just a jerk,” she said and laughed.
“He is quite towering. It was really intense, but fun -- especially when towards the end she gets her own set of balls and stands up to him! He's just a lovely man. It was fun to have him beat me up a little bit.”
One thing that is easy to see when you’re in a room with Aniston is that she has an energy that is electric, addictive and contagious. She claims that it depends on the room! “There’s a lot of love in this room. Yeah, you can feel when there's no love in the room. I mean, you leave that room, right?” she said and chuckled.
If she does make the move to direct and add that to her repertoire, the superstar will have everyone on the set pulling for her because she is just that person you pull for.
“I'm happy where I am. Of course, we're not always happy -- there’s moments. It’s sort of like when you get sick and you get better and you're like, ‘Oh my God, this is the most amazing thing in the world! This is awesome!' And you forget you felt that way before you were sick. That was a terrible analogy,” Aniston said and laughed.
Actually, it is spot-on.
Watch Jackie Brown online and witness what happens to the characters introduced in Life of Crime!