Jennifer Aniston got one of Variety’s Power of Women covers, and bless it, I love that sweater. I’m such a sucker for a baggy, nubby, soft-looking sweater. I would wear it with pants though! Jennifer is promoting The Morning Show, which begins streaming on Apple+ in November. We’re going to hear “we completely rewrote everything after Me Too happened” about a million times from Jennifer and Reese Witherspoon. That’s mostly what this Variety interview is about too – the story of The Morning Show, plus stuff about the changing entertainment business, streaming and Friends nostalgia. You can read the piece here. Some highlights:
To prepare for ‘The Morning Show’ she watched Matt Lauer’s last day on air: “Did he know? Did he not know? I was so devastated. It’s such a strange thing; it felt oddly like my dad did something terrible. I trusted him and had been interviewed by him. He was there for so many moments in my life. And when ‘Friends’ was ending, it was Katie [Couric] and Matt interviewing us… I went to the DVR that I had of “Today” before Matt Lauer was fired and then the day he was fired, because that was so fascinating to see. Mitch Kessler is not based on him at all. He’s just sort of the archetype of all of the men that he’s representing.
The archetype of the charming predator: “[The characters are] All fictional, but also kind of highlighting aspects of the archetype of a charming narcissist, of a generation of men that didn’t think that was bad behavior. ‘That’s just the way it works. And men are flirts and women are coy and find it flattering.’ And thankfully, with the sacrifices of these women who have come forward, this isn’t going to happen anymore. It’s wonderful that you’re accountable and you have to check yourself.
The one time she worked with Harvey Weinstein: “I did one movie, “Derailed,” with Clive Owen. I had to [spend time with Weinstein]. There was the premiere dinner. I remember I was sitting at the dinner table with Clive, and our producers and a friend of mine was sitting with me. And he literally came to the table and said to my friend: “Get up!” And I was like, “Oh my gosh.” And so my friend got up and moved and Harvey sat down. It was just such a level of gross entitlement and piggish behavior.
Weinstein bullied her about wearing Marchesa: “He knew better. I remember, right when [his ex-wife] Georgina’s clothing line Marchesa was starting. That’s when he came to visit me in London while we were shooting. He’d be like, “Ok, so I’d like you to wear one of these to the premiere.” And I went through the book, and at the time, it wasn’t what it is today. It was not for me. He was like, “You have to wear the dress.” That was my only bullying. And I was like, “No, I will not wear the dress.” What was he going to do? Come over here and make me wear it?!
Deciding to make a TV/streaming show: “It wasn’t until the last couple of years when these streaming services were just sort of exploding with this amount of quality that I actually started to think, “Wow, that’s better than what I just did.” And then you’re seeing what’s available out there and it’s just diminishing and diminishing in terms of, it’s big Marvel movies. Or things that I’m not just asked to do or really that interested in living in a green screen. It’s changed so much. I think we would so love to have the era of Meg Ryan come back. I just think it would be nice to go into a movie theater, sit cozy. I think we should have a resurgence. Let’s get the “Terms of Endearment” back out there. You know, “Heaven Can Wait,” “Young Frankenstein,” “Blazing Saddles,” “Goodbye Girl.”
On Friends nostalgia and social media: “I want to know what people love so much about it, because there wasn’t any of this. Now most people’s consumption is the screen, which I’m very conflicted about. If you can’t drive until you’re 16 and you can’t drink until you’re 21, why should you be allowed to have social media? Like to have a distraction that prevents you from learning to connect with people? I don’t know. I don’t have kids. I just know that I’m watching my girlfriends’ children and they’re all struggling because of social media. Do you know that mental health has gone through the roof? And primarily what they’ve discovered, it’s because of social media. It’s compare and despair, over and over again. Do they like me? Do they not like me? Am I good enough? It’s hard enough as it is being a kid without the damn “likes” or “not likes.” I wish they would remove the “like.” Why do they need them? Why do we need a comments section, where these trolls with no lives try to be hurtful?”
I’ve never really thought about whether the “like” button should be abolished. Probably because I am An Old and I barely use Instagram for anything other than light stalking (friendly creeping!). And on Instagram, you can shut down the comments, which I think is smart. I think maybe that would be a good move for parents: you can have an Instagram at this age but you have to disable the comments. As for her nostalgia about the mid-budget comedy… I too have that nostalgia. But it feels like streaming services are filling that gap too? Also: her Weinstein story is very interesting – that would have been 2005, when he tried to pressure her to wear Marchesa. What a mess.
Cover courtesy of Variety, additional photo courtesy of WENN.