Jennifer Aniston refuses to discuss La Jolie: ‘I don’t want to give any fuel to the fire’
Jennifer Aniston has a new interview in the New York Times. It’s actually a decent read, mainly because I didn’t have to stop and bang my head against the table as Jennifer whined about the tabloids again. In this piece, she actually avoided several linguistic traps designed to get her to say something negative about Angelina Jolie or Brad Pitt (or both). Having read the whole piece, I have to say: it’s pretty clear that that the NYT is still interested in the Uncool Bermuda Triangle. But I’ll give Aniston a slow clap this time for not engaging. She also talks about her giant engagement ring, which I personally think looks like a cloudy quartz, and how God sent her Justin Theroux. Sure. Why not? You can read the full piece here, and here are some highlights:
The Cloak of Rachel: She recognizes this moment as perhaps her best chance to “take away the cloak of Rachel,” she said, referring to her part on the sitcom ‘Friends’… I noted that a reviewer for The Guardian had called “Cake” a showcase for her “hitherto hidden acting chops.” “Hmm, yes, very deep underneath,” she said of these ostensibly buried gifts, adding that the notion was “kind of head-scratching — Wow….”
Fighting for those darker parts: “You have to do something really dark to be taken seriously, I guess. If you’re in someone’s living room every week for 10 years and every day on God knows what network, people are going to have a hard time saying, ‘O.K., we’re going to see you do what now?’ without making associations. It’s a Catch-22. It’s like: ‘I know I can play this part, you just have to let me.’ And then it’s ‘I can’t let you play that part, because I’ve never seen you do it.’ There were jobs that I really wanted and would fight and fight for and then the obvious previous Oscar winners would get them.”
Tabloids pitting her against Angelina Jolie: “It’s ridiculous — that the two names have to go into the same sentence and there has to be a compare-and-despair thing.”
The mention of Jolie’s waning Oscar chances & the Sony Hack: Ms. Aniston beat back any discussion of that. “I don’t want to give any fuel to the fire,” she said. She is practiced and game enough to permit 30 seconds of conversation about Ms. Jolie and Mr. Pitt. But a full minute is pushing it. Her posture stiffens.
Her first boyfriend died of a brain tumor a few years ago: “He was my first love — five years we were together,” she said, referring to that boyfriend. “He would have been the one. But I was 25, and I was stupid. He must have sent me Justin to make up for it all.”
Her giant engagement ring: “It’s a rock, I know,” she said, sounding abashed but not really. “He rocked it up. It took me a while to get used to it. I’m not a diamond girl. I’m more Indian jewelry and stuff.” I noted the din of speculation about why she and Mr. Theroux hadn’t tied the knot yet, and she said they’re still figuring out what kind of ceremony they want. She didn’t volunteer any more detail than necessary.
The media & sexism: “You don’t see a lot of men getting asked: ‘Why aren’t you married? Why aren’t you having children?’ You don’t get the ‘Well, they seem to play the same thing over and over again,’ and some of them do. We’re very much a sexist society. Women are still not paid as much as men…I’ve been up against that in negotiations myself.”
On Renee Zellweger’s new face: “There was a big whistle blown out on her, and it was unnecessary. Did she really look that different? Would she walk into a room and you’d say, ‘Who is that?’ That’s Renée, from here on down.” Ms. Aniston made a sweeping motion starting just below her eyes. “You can’t hide those pouty little lips. I really do think you’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t. You either are too fat — ‘Oh my God, she’s gained weight, getting chubby, mid-40s spread!’ — or ‘She’s so skeletal, get some meat on her bones!’ I’ve been on too-thin lists. I’ve been on what-happened-to-her lists.”
The NYT also says that Aniston has been diligently “following the media script of a publicist known as an Oscar whisperer,” which is what we already knew but it’s nice to see the paper of record pointing it out. As I said, I don’t really have any criticism for how Aniston handled the Angelina questions – it was clear that the NYT pressed her on those subjects and she tried to shut them down without giving them a pull quote headline (haha, I’m still using it!!!). No, the only thing that bugs me is the Zellweger part – I do think Renee looked that different, and I don’t think media outlets were wrong in simply NOTICING that Renee looked different.