Girl-next-door 'Friend' is trying something new in Horrible Bosses, playing a naughty dentist with a foul mouth. Starring alongside Jason Bateman, Charlie Day, Jason Sudeikis, and Colin Farrell, America's sweetheart sat down with Buzzine to talk about pushing the envelope, trying on a new look, and just being one of the guys...
Emmanuel Itier: What was it about Horrible Bosses that made you want to be in it?
Jennifer Aniston: Obviously, it was just such a different direction for me to go. It was pretty clear instantly, after reading it, that it was hysterical, really well mapped-out, and I just loved the character. I couldn’t believe that I was asked to play her, so I jumped at the chance. I love that Seth [Gordon] thought that would be a really great idea.
EI: Adam Sandler, a few months ago, told us, “Walking with Jennifer Aniston is like walking with my best buddy.”
JA: Oh, Adam...
EI: Do you think you’re one of the guys and you can do whatever joke if it’s great and it’s funny?
JA: I absolutely do. I feel comfortable with men and women. I don’t think of myself any kind of gender, but I don’t know.
EI: Do you have a boss? If so, who’s your boss?
JA: Myself right now. [Laughs] Currently unemployed.
EI: You’re amazing in that part, and I can’t believe you took that challenge. Can you tell us how you prepared for that role, how the rehearsals were, and how are you going to explain that choice to your parents, future kids, family, whatever?
JA: [Laughs] Oh God, I didn’t realize I had that much explaining to do. I took it because it was obviously so crazy and out there, and not something that I normally get handed. I just loved that I was even considered for it. There wasn’t a lot of rehearsal. You kind of go through it, get your lines down. Those fun moments happen; you can only exhaust it so much. But we didn’t really rehearse. It was better to keep it spontaneous and fresh.
EI: Nothing you have to be prepared for?
JA: No, I’ve watched and witnessed enough women in my life that I just sort of mimicked some.
EI: What about your family? Did you explain something or...?
JA: No. I don’t have to explain anything to them anymore. They enjoy it, actually. They’ll get a kick out of it -- especially my dad.
EI: This sort of unapologetic comedy, obviously, is a new era of bold, forward comedy. Is this a step forward?
JA: Getting older, you get more comfortable in your body and in your skin and who you are, and you have more of a fuck-it attitude. You’re so careful and controlled in your 20s, and you’re just more aware of your every move. Now, I think there’s just more of a freedom and a comfort, and none of it really matters, as long as you’re enjoying yourself and having a really good time. Not hurting other people -- of course, that goes without saying. I think that’s what’s great about these comedies is that there’s no apology.
EI: Did you have fun making this movie? Do you think, to make a comedy, it’s really important to have fun making it?
JA: Oh God, yes. I think any movie, you should be having fun. If this is what we have to do every day, and it’s a long day and it’s a lot of your time, hopefully you’re always having some form of fun. The chemistry of these three boys is incredible. The first time I saw it, I just couldn’t take my eyes off of them. It’s like a great jazz riff.
EI: Your language is very explicit in the movie, obviously, and in real life, you are such a polite person. Do you ever tell a joke?
JA: Of course I would. But in front of groups of people that I don’t know, I’m not rude. But I tell a dirty joke now and then. It’s not all squeaky clean.
EI: Do you ever curse?
JA: Of course. Yes, I love to.
EI: Like what?
JA: Wow, what do you want to hear? [Laughs] I would have to say “fuck” is my favorite curse word. It’s a pretty good one. Just "fuck."
EI: Is this role your first step to take other kinds of roles?
JA: It’s my first in this kind of role, definitely. I’ve gone into other little areas of independent film -- good girl or Derailed... But it’s definitely a step in this direction, and that’s why it was so fun.
EI: You also directed twice. How are you acting as a boss, and what influences your humor in general?
JA: Oh just life, I would say. I love being a boss. I actually love the directing experience because, having been doing it for as long as I have, acting on the other side, I’ve been observing for so many years. It was fun to discover how much you actually know, even not having gone to a film school of any sort. There’s an instinct from just being around it as many years as I have, so I enjoyed it. I think it was a very nice boss, in fact.
EI: Do you think that the women in this century are more and more aggressive than men, and sometimes they ask too much, and this seems a problem for some men? I wanted to know your opinion about it. If you are reading women’s magazines, there are articles about sexuality and what they want -- that ten years ago was the impossible dream, and probably all the women are more aggressive in this century also with the men...
JA: I think women are just becoming stronger and being given more power. They’re not barefoot and pregnant in the kitchens anymore. That even started in the ‘70s with Helen Gurley Brown, [or] late ‘60s. I think it’s been a progression of women empowering themselves. I don’t know if it’s called aggressive, because that has a negative connotation to it. I think women are just strong. I’m sure there are men that may have a problem with that that are still of that time, but I think we’re all becoming very equal.
EI: Sometimes we read articles that the men are in crises just because the women today are too aggressive or they want something...
JA: They want the women to be quiet, demure, and don’t speak, right? I think it’s all becoming a bit more equal. Still, movies in general, comedies -- it’s very rare to get a great female comedy role. It’s all the big boys. It’s all usually male-driven – Adam, Ben Stiller, Jim Carrey... That’s where the comedy is.
EI: How did you feel with the different look?
JA: I loved it. I fought really hard for it. We had this wonderful thing we call hair gate, and the studio did not want me to wear a wig. They wanted me to look like myself. As they say, “We want you to look like Jennifer Aniston.” But I’m like, “That’s not who that is.” They want to keep it safe, and I fought to have a different look. There’s no way that I could say I’d be that women and look like myself. Seth was right on board with me right from the start. He loved it. They weren’t asking Colin Farrell, though. It was interesting the studio never said, “Colin Farrell, you can’t be in a bald cap and a comb-over and have a belly.” Just saying. It was so fun, and it makes it. You’re in a costume. You have no inhibitions.
EI: Do you see yourself more as a sweetheart of America or as a sex symbol of America?
JA: I don’t see either. [Laughs] I don’t have any labels of myself. I’m just walking the planet.
EI: You changed your look, but still you’re gorgeous. Would you ever to go ugly?
JA: Of course, yeah. It wouldn’t make sense for this part...
EI: But in the future?
JA: Absolutely, I would.
EI: You just said that the studio doesn’t want you to change...
JA: I think you keep earning more and more trust, maybe, as you step out and give people the time to adjust and start to realize that there is more to you than just one little thing. That’s why it’s important for myself to keep going out and taking those little extra steps out of the box, so I can remind myself what else is in there.
EI: I’ve seen you in Office Space and Management. What is it about workplace comedy?
JA: I don’t know. They just happen to be workspace comedies, but I think there are always so many personalities in the workspace. You have a lot of opportunities for crazy characters and situations. They’re just fun and they’re relatable because everybody is in one.
Warner Bros. Pictures' 'Horrible Bosses' is released on July 8, 2011.