Jennifer Aniston

Female star of the year

Why: A slew of high-profile projects, plus sheer star power and a personal life splashed across tabs almost daily

Thrill ride: As Aniston read the affair-gone-wrong thriller “Derailed,” she got goose bumps and flipped faster. “I was riveted,” she says, “and the second thought was it scared the crap out of me, and then you go, ‘Oh, damn, I guess I have to do it if it gets you all scared.’ ”

Other things appealed to her about director Mikael Hafstrom’s project — everything, in fact. “Of course, (co-star) Clive Owen didn’t hurt,” she adds, “and he truly is as wonderful a person as he is an actor.”

New territory: “There’s some intense things that go on in the movie, and I hadn’t really gone there before as an actor so I thought, ‘What the hell, let’s see what happens. At this point, all they can do is ask me to leave,” she says.

Aniston had to work to create a lead character that has an intense feminine presence but doesn’t rely too much on humor.

What was the trickiest thing to pull off? “This may sound crazy, but accessing that part of my sensuality and sexuality,” she says.

Comic turn: In the upcoming Rob Reiner comedy “Rumor Has It,” Aniston’s character discovers that her screwed-up family might have been the inspiration for the 1967 film “The Graduate.” Mark Ruffalo, Shirley MacLaine and Kevin Costner co-star.

A fan of the classic, Aniston found the idea intriguing: a script based on the real rumor that there’s a family much like the infamous Robinsons living in Pasadena, Calif.

Drama vs. comedy: “I love comedy that comes from true life,” she says. “I think I have a little more fun with comedy because it’s always fun to laugh. I also think in a good drama there’s going to be moments of laughter because life is full of it. … When you’re coming out of a not-so-great situation — you’ve got divorce and you’ve got all the drama — sometimes it’s good that you can find the fun and goof at it because what else are you going to do, wallow?”

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