Jennifer Aniston

Along Came Polly

Interviewed by Stella Papamichael

“This can't be Rachel, this can't be Rachel! ”

We've come to know and love Jennifer Aniston as Rachel in the US sitcom Friends. On the big screen, it's been rather more hit and miss, with romantic comedies like She's The One, and The Object Of My Affection doing little to showcase her strengths - and let's not even get started on Rock Star. It wasn't until The Good Girl, which debuted at last year's Sundance Film Festival, that Aniston garnered real critical praise. Box office success followed with the recent Jim Carrey starrer Bruce Almighty and comedy romance Along Came Polly, opposite Ben Stiller - already a No.1 hit in the US.

You've grown synonymous with your character on Friends, so are you conscious of bringing that baggage to the big screen?

This part I've done for ten years, it will be hard to get that out of peoples' minds whenever they see anything else that I do because it's been a consistent character that I've played. That's something I'm probably going to hear a lot. I'll just do my job as good as I can and hopefully that will go away.

Your first date with Ben in the film is pretty disastrous. Do you have any bad first date stories?

My most disastrous date was not so much a disaster as uncomfortable for both parties involved. The guy was trying really hard, and he thought it would be charming to take us first to a Japanese massage parlour, and start the date off that way. We had side-by-side massages with two women walking up and down our backs, holding onto ropes. I don't know why I even let myself sit down on the table to begin with, I was a little too nervous to say no. I was a little scared of him I guess. I didn't go to the dinner part. I never saw that person again.

You've played support to Ben Stiller in this film and Jim Carrey in Bruce Almighty, but do you find there's a lack of opportunities for women to play those sorts of big, zany comic roles?

I haven't experienced that. I'm OK with them [Stiller, Carrey] doing that and me doing the other. I'm sort of happy with where I am and what I've done. I think there are opportunities for women in comedies - how zany is up to them. But I'm excited. I've had some good luck over the last couple of years, in spite of the television thing, so I feel OK.

What sort of films would you like to be doing?

I would love to do more films like The Good Girl, but I don't plan it out that way. It's whatever comes and whatever is right at the time. There are some that are out there that I'm contemplating, and I feel really lucky that I got granted more opportunities to take me out of the box. It's so easy to be boxed in to one part and one part only. I want to do more of everything.

What was the challenge for you in playing Polly Prince?

Oddly enough, it was trying to create a character. There's always that thought in the back of my mind: This can't be Rachel, this can't be Rachel! But this came easily. I based her on a girlfriend of mine, actually. So I pretty much made fun of my girlfriend. She's adorable - I just imitated her. She didn't mind. She loved it.

Do you plan to share the screen with your husband [Brad Pitt] at any point?

I don't think so - not in the near future. That would be just asking for trouble. You wouldn't even see the movie, because it would be too much of a show in another way. Maybe years down the line, if the right thing came along, of course, we'd love to. Ocean's Twenty, maybe.