Jennifer Aniston arrives for an interview looking sunny and perky in a purple patterned mini dress with a frilly skirt.
The former “Friends” actress is on hand to promote her film, “Life of Crime,” a crime caper in which she plays a kidnapped wife.
Based on the Elmore Leonard novel “The Switch,” Aniston’s Mickey Dawson is a Detroit socialite, whose husband Frank (played by a blond Tim Robbins) is a wealthy but crooked real estate developer. Although they live in a tidy suburban home with their teenage son and are members of the local country club, Mickey feels lonely and neglected by her husband. She’s trapped in her marriage with no way to get out.
The California-born actress was more than eager to talk about the film in which she plays an unhappy housewife and was released on DVD in late October.
So this story must have really appealed to you to want to produce it. What made you invest in that part of it too?
This man (Schechter). That was pretty much from the get-go. I had a meeting with him and he just impressed me to no end. I was so excited because I’ve always loved Elmore Leonard, but I hadn’t read “The Switch,” which is the actual name. There already was a movie called “The Switch” about best friends making a baby. Then I read the book, and it was such fun and wonderful. I love how he writes. His characters are so interesting and detailed and his bad guys aren’t the brightest and yet somehow they make it happen. They’re charming and loveable. I also thought the Mickey character has 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 exciting for me.
Is producing also a way to send your career in a different direction—away from in front of the camera?
I’ve always been interested in producing. But of course you know that your time in front of the camera might be limited. Age plays a part, there are still not very many parts for older women in Hollywood—and Meryl Streep gets most of them anyway (Laughs).
You get roughed up a little bit in the movie. How did you prepare for those physical scenes?
I didn’t prepare, I just let them hurt me. It’s the best way to get a real reaction, it turns out.
How do you and your fiancé manage your schedules. He’s busy, you are obviously busy. Does that create problems at times?
It creates problems in trying to be in the same city at times. But otherwise it’s just a question of planning. I’ve gotten better with time. We try to make time for each other. And it’s working fairly well. I am not complaining.
Let’s speak about the movie again: You and John Hawkes have great chemistry in this. Did you detect that when you first met him?
I think that that stuff is kind of natural. I don’t think you can force it or create it. We got along instantly when we met. I think we’re both interested actors. We were interested in the story and the very subtle odd, not even love story, but that’s sort of what unfolds. We both thought it was really interesting. Chemistry is … chemical, man. I don’t know how you can make it.
How was it working with Tim Robbins? How was it when he treated you like a dishrag?
It was pretty awesome. I mean, he really was a jerk, just a jerk. (Laughs) No, he’s lovable. To say he’s a teddy bear is an understatement. He is quite towering. I mean, he’s a towering figure, for sure. So in the (argument) scenes it was quite intense but fun and awesome to play, especially towards the end where she grows a good set of balls and takes him over. He’s just a lovely man, and I’ve known him for a long time so it was fun to have him beat me up a little bit.
What did you learn from your co-stars?
Isla (Fisher) and I are friends and have been for a very long time. We had a lot of fun together. We were all really excited to work together. I thought that was clear from the beginning, the first rehearsals. It starts at the top. (Schechter’s) enthusiasm and love of all the characters filtered down. You always find surprises about people, the way they work. Certain people come on and it’s just there. I love the curiosity from Tim, especially and John, especially.
Are there still some things you haven’t done in movies that you would like to do?
Direct. Absolutely. That’s the next big sort of hurdle that I want to take on. I’ve done a few short films. I just loved the experience of doing. I’m just waiting for that wonderful window and that wonderful script. That’ll be the next one for me.