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Jennifer Anniston has been in the public eye for over a decade, but fame doesn’t seem to have changed her too much. An actress who successfully made the transition from TV to movie star, she remains consistently busy. Early next year we’ll see her in the romantic comedy She’s not that Into You, but meanwhile, she stars with Owen Wilson as a wife, mother and dog lover in the true story Marley and Me. Anniston talked to PAUL FISCHER.
Q: Can you talk about the challenges of working with a dog and did having dogs help you in the process?
ANNISTON: Well, I think it helped only because I wasn’t afraid of dogs but honestly he was so easy to work with. I would say the younger Marley’s were, to hit their mark, a little bit more challenging for the trainers. We had a ball, we never had a hard time.
Q: Was there any scene that was difficult or took a long time to get
ANNISTON: The scene where we were taking him to get neutered. That was definitely a challenging scene in the car ‘cause you also have Matilda in the back seat, the trainer who’s fantastic. It was just a lot of action for the dog.
Q: How did you physyically get ready for this movie?
ANNISTON: Well I trained five hours a day [laughter]. How did I physically get ready? Not much. Physically I had to show the passage of time there were wigs and a certain extensions of hair, additions to a bang piece for a more youthful look [laughter] but that’s basically it.
Q: Jennifer you mentioned in the production notes for thisthat your character lets go of youth. I would ask how you did that process yourself in thinking about the movie and bringing that to your character and also what did you name the dog you adopted
ANNISTON: I didn’t adopt a dog. I have a dog. I have an adopted dog. Both of my dogs are, but that was years ago. I almost adopted the dog that’s in the poster.
ing sort of behavior problems.
Q: Can you talk about why you wanted to do this and a lot of times when we talk to actors they will say you know I never could have played this role unless I had been a mother do you think you should have waited? [laughs]
ANNISTON: No [laughter] I wanted to be in the movie. I have been pregnant in so many movies its ridiculous. The reason I wanted to be in this movie was exactly what you just said. It wasn’t the sort of girl trying to get the guy or the guy trying to get the girl or the chase and then you end the movie where they ride off into the sunset. This is sort of the sequel to that and to sort of just tell. You know where you get to see the in’s and outs of a relationship and see them over fifteen years and have this sort of human thread that takes you through and have it be funny just because life is funny. I just loved it. I responded to the material.
Q: Can you talk about the scene where you put your necklace into the grave. I mean people at the screening were crying.
ANNISTON: Those were really hard. That was the last two weeks for me of shooting so it was kind of fortunate that that came at the end because you don’t always get to shoot in order at all so those were the days where I couldn’t read the signs in the morning in the trailer because I was just bubbling over with emotion and I was just sort of hoping that I would be able to look at the lines while I was on set and remember them.
Q: Do you have a favorite dog movie?
Q: I wanted to ask you about getting into those roles I mean you had [the book] down pat
ANNISTON: That was the material it was on the page it was something that was extremely important to us because this book has such an audience and such a fan base and there are two people that are actually here on the planet and you want to honor their story
Q: You seem to jump effortlessly from genre to genre from independent to mainstream. Do you find it challenging to find the kinds of projects that really get you going creatively?
ANNISTON: Yeah, sure it’s hard if you’re specific and picky but I’ve been lucky to have things come to me that creatively fulfill me and those are usually the independent films just because you have a little bit more freedom but this particular movie is just rare where you kind of hit all the notes. It was unbelievably creatively fulfilling. It’s a mainstream film and I loved everybody I worked with. This one was sort of a home run. They don’t always all happen that way.
Q: What’s the appeal of this massive best selling story. What’s the key appeal of Marley?
ANNISTON: And it’s a true story you know it’s a simple story and I think people go to movies and they escape with these big crazy plotlines and here is a movie where people are actually going like ‘that’s me’ or ‘I did that’ ‘I walked through that.’ Or ‘my dog’ or even if you don’t have a dog or you’ve been in a relationship and it doesn’t even have to be a married relationship, just partnered life, you know,the simplicity of it
Q: You talked about jumping from genre to genre and you said that you’ve been really lucky but you’ve also been really successful in jumping from genre to genre you do it really well you labeled it as lucky. Are success and luck the same and how did you get so successful . how do you look at it?
ANNISTON: I don’t know. I’ve never sat there and plotted out how I was going to become successful or famous. I just really wanted to do work and I wanted to do good work ever since I was at a High School of Performing Arts and my Russian acting coat told me I was a disgrace to the Moscow acting theatre [laughter] I was determined to prove him wrong and do good work and I think I never had my eye on a prize. I just really wanted to enjoy the passage of time. Before Friends and the success of that I have a graveyard of sitcoms that thank god you all don’t know about them. I was happy to get a job every year whether or not it went on or not.
[Q: Going between TV and film?
ANNISTON: Again, I got the opportunity to do films while I was on Friends and I think I kind of just created, I built that up a little bit and somehow was welcomed into the other side. I crossed over.
Q: Do you think there’ll be a Friends movie?
ANNISTON: I hope not.
Q: What are you doing next?
ANNISTON: Well, there’s a movie in the spring I’m in the middle of deciding if I want to do and I’m going to be selling three other movies after this one. I’ll be talking to you a lot. You are going to be sick of me.
Q: Any plans for the holidays?
ANNISTON: I’ll be with my family.
Paul Fischer is originally from Australia. Now he is an interviewer and film critic living in Hollywood.
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