×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Toronto Interview: Jennifer Aniston on Her ‘Dream Role’

The Golden Globe-winning actress talks about the pain and gain of her new drama 'Cake,' which is playing the Toronto Film Festival

Jennifer Aniston says her performance in new drama “Cake” was physically and emotionally tough, but it was “beyond a dream role.”

Aniston came to the Variety Studio Monday to chat about the film, which has its world premiere Monday at the Toronto Film Festival.

Co-starring Anna Kendrick and Sam Worthington, the indie drama finds the actress playing a character who is in massive chronic pain, who’s addicted to pills and booze and who has alienated everyone in her life.

“She basically has to decide whether she wants to live or die,” Aniston said. “The woman’s journey is so heartbreaking but so uplifting, because she’s gone through a trauma but maintains her wit, which is very endearing.”

The project, which is looking for a U.S. distributor, came together very fast. Director Daniel Barnz and his partner, producer Ben Barnz, discovered the script in a screenwriting contest 13 months ago and met with the actress in November.

Filming started April 3, the final touches were added weeks ago.

Popular on Variety

Aniston said as soon as she had finished reading the script (by first-timer Patrick Tobin), “I knew I was going to do it,” because it was a challenge but an opportunity “to express empathy” for the character and all those undergoing similar experiences.

Aniston allowed herself to be photographed without makeup and looking haggard (though, it should be noted, in person she looks pretty spectacular).

Every movement for the character is painful, “which was hard on my body for five weeks of shooting. I spent weekends seeing a chiropractor and getting massages and trying to maintain my sanity.”

Early word on her performance is very positive and Aniston is upbeat about “Cake,” which she sums up as “the little indie that could.”

More Film

  • Bong Joon Ho Talks 'Parasite' on

    'Parasite' Director Bong Joon Ho Makes Late Night Debut Following Three Globe Nominations

    “Parasite” director Bong Joon Ho sat down for his first U.S. late-night appearance on “Late Night With Jimmy Fallon” Monday night. The director, who received best director and best original screenplay Globen Globe nominations with co-writer Han Jin Won, plus a best foreign language nod Monday morning, did not give much away about the film’s [...]

  • The Cold Blue

    Erik Nelson Wants to Preserve the Past With 'The Cold Blue' World War II Documentary

    Erik Nelson describes his documentary “The Cold Blue” as “the garage band of movies” — he didn’t have the large team or crew other documentary contenders have. “The Cold Blue” is a World War II documentary that looks at raids and B-17 bombing missions that took place during the war. Nelson’s team looked at 34 [...]

  • Ray Manzarek

    Film News Roundup: Concert-Documentary 'The Doors: Break on Thru' Set for February

    In today’s film news roundup, one-night showings of a Ray Manzarek tribute and the season premiere of “Doctor Who” have been set for 2020, and the MPAA hires a copyright expert. ONE-NIGHT SHOWINGS The Doors and Trafalgar Releasing are teaming on the worldwide Feb. 12 release of “The Doors: Break on Thru – A Celebration [...]

  • Richard Jewell

    Warner Bros. Hits Back at Atlanta Paper Over 'Richard Jewell' Legal Threat

    Warner Bros. is standing behind “Richard Jewell,” the Clint Eastwood drama that is the source of controversy over its portrayal of a female journalist trading sex for scoops. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution sent a legal threat to the filmmakers on Monday asking them to include a disclaimer noting that the film took dramatic license. In a [...]

  • The Irishman

    'Captain Marvel,' 'The Irishman,' Other Original Scores to Miss Out on Oscar Nominations

    The Regina Spektor song from “Bombshell” and at least six major scores including “The Two Popes” and “The Irishman” won’t be on Oscar’s music shortlists when they are announced next week. That’s because none of them are on the official Academy eligibility lists from which music-branch members are now voting. Preliminary voting ends tomorrow afternoon, [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content