Arts Express: We’re The Millers – A Conversation With Jennifer Aniston

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In a movie about multi-tasking if not going to multiple personality extremes, Jennifer Aniston pulls off juggling parenting, pole dancing and what-not, in the rowdy when not raunchy Rawson Marshall Thurber identity crisis comedic road movie, We’re The Millers. Jennifer dropped by to drop hints about her shaping up along with somewhat shape shifting secrets in the movie, along with tidbits about cucumbers, celery, intimate stripper apparel, bad men choices, kosher same sex boob grabbing, and rage versus sadness.

You look in amazing shape in this movie. What’s your secret?

JENNIFER ANISTON: No secrets!

None at all?

JA: No tips either. There’s not a lot of time for that answer! Um, It was just a lot of, there was an amazing choreographer.

And a wonderful trainer. And um, a beautiful cinematographer! And you know, all that kinda good stuff. But I did, I did work out a lot.

And do you remember the brand of that cool bra and panties you were wearing?

JA: Um, I think that was Aries. I don’t know how she had that underwear! But…

And what food did you eat to keep that great figure of yours for those scantily clad stripper scenes?

JA: No, no, no. No food. There was a lot of celery sticks, and a lot of salads. A lot of cucumbers. Ice chips – they did let me eat ice chips!

Um, and water was good! Yeah. No! I mean, you eat. You eat normally. But you just, you know. No carbs! Anyway…

So when the movie was over, what guilty pleasure did you grab first to eat?

JA: Chips! Really, it was about having the Mexican food that I love. But everything in moderation is okay.

How did you get into the head and the body of a stripper? And she’s a pretty angry stripper. So did you relate to something about stripper rage that you put into Rose?

JA: Hmm, she’s an angry stripper. I think she’s a sad stripper. Who has built up this sort of tough exterior, from being disappointed many times throughout her life.

And just making some bad choices. Bad men choice decisions. And I thought of her as maybe a classically trained dancer at one point. Who then didn’t quite make it, obviously.

But the rage, I don’t know, I think that rage is sadness turned outward. Something like that? Uh, yeah. I kind of just saw it as hardened. Not so much rageful.

Any stripper research?

JA: Well…They used to drag me out of that strip club every night!

What were the hardest moves for you as a pole dancer and a stripper too?

JA: For me I would have to say, it was the scene at the auto body shop. Yeah, the location. You know, that really hot place.

And when the rainstorm happened that first day. And with the tin roof. That was crazy. I would say that was a challenging one for me.

And how did you manage to pull it off?

JA: I just had to do it. I was just, they roll the cameras. And I just had to bite the bullet. It was little uncomfortable at first, but then you get into it.

Because you are used to doing all the rehearsals alone, with Denise. And all of a sudden, you’re on the set.

And there’s three cameras, and a bunch of crew. Yeah, it’s a little intimidating at first.

How did you get into the body and the moves of your stripper character?

JA: How did I get into it? I just really, I pretended. And acted! Yeah. And I worked with this amazing choreographer.

And I started learning some pretty crazy moves! So it kind of just became easy. It was really fun, actually.

Yeah, it was really fun. So I have a stripper pole in my house now! Me, and Paris Hilton. And Kate Hudson. Yes.

Now about that boob grabbing scene in the tent, since it was your boobs that were grabbed…

JA: Yes!

Was it weird having your boobs grabbed by another woman?

JA: All of it was completely, one hundred percent comfortable. Kosher. Totally. Easy.

I wished it went on longer! I mean, there’s nothing wrong with it. She’s a grown up woman.

And did it make a difference that it happened with an actress that you know and have worked with before, as opposed to a strange woman?

JA: I’m pretty easy! But, no. That of course, made it more comfortable. Of course.

Talk about really playing two roles in the movie, a stripper and a fake mom.

JA: Wow. Um, it was just those horrible Capri pants. And that awful eyelet blue shirt! And the popped collar. Yeah, that was it.

Does a wardrobe like that put you into that head space?

JA: It does! And those little Keds sneakers. It was pretty easy to go into Rose Miller, just with the wardrobe. They always say, it starts with the shoes. And it’s true.

Who says that?

JA: Actors! And Nike. Yeah.

What about teaching a teenage guy how to kiss in We’re The Millers?

JA: That’s a secret! A movie secret.

Was it awkward?

JA: Yeah. It was extremely awkward. And uncomfortable.

Now, how did it feel to take down a major drug cartel in the movie?

JA: Ha! I think we’re pretty awesome. It was great. Wait, did we do that? Awesome.

How did you work out that you’re actors playing characters playing roles being actors?

JA: I can’t believe we pulled it off! I didn’t even think of it that way, actors playing actors pretending to be actors. Oh, we did better than we thought!

Jason says he just stood there and looked good, and made you do all the work and carry the load.

JA: Ha! It was so refreshing. Yeah.

And that you were pretty much just eye candy.

JA: Just used and abused. Yeah, just khakis! Yeah. But he didn’t have a popped collar like I did. I did pop my collar.

So were you making anything up as you went along?

JA: No, there wasn’t a lot of improv. We stuck to the script. Yep. Which is always fun.

Jason is pretty amazing, he’s a pretty good and amazing partner in volleying. So that makes it easy.

And with Nick and Kathryn, to play against them. And going against these two quiet, innocent Midwestern knuckleheads, the Fitzgerald’s. Uh, we tried not to laugh!

Did you feel Rose changing, as the story went along?

JA: Yeah, well basically they find their family. You know, out of this sort of crazy situation, they kind of all find the soft spot in each other.

And they find partnership. Which is what everybody’s hopefully looking for. Companionship. So we faked it till we felt it!

Is that something about faking that you heard from Dr. Phil?

JA: Is he a fake doctor? Can we go on to the next question!

As an actress, you frequently have to bond with strangers. How do you do that?

JA: Uh, say that one more time!

You know, like pretending you’re the Miller family, and that you like each other.

JA: Yeah. Well, that’s what was sort of fun about it, is the attitude that we kind of have towards each other. At the beginning. I mean, I can’t stand Jason’s character.

Well I mean, I can’t not stand him. But he bugs me. Yeah. And I don’t know the kids.

jen
Aniston at a ceremony to receive a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in February, 2012.

Um, so it’s sorta…yeah. I don’t think I answered your question! But I don’t think it happens where it’s an illusion.

I think we actually become a family. I mean, you spend months of your life every day, all day. Sometimes way too long. And you know, you just have each other.

Never has drug smuggling seemed like so much fun in a movie. So what was your favorite scene to shoot?

JA: Oh, that is so hard to say.

The stripping?

JA: Oh yeah! That was the best. No, I would say, there were so many fun scenes. But Nick and Kathryn in that tent for me, that was really fun.

And the scene with the Pictionary game, that was fun. Anything with really everybody, that is always fun.

How about your teen boy kiss gone wrong?

JA: Oh thank you! I don’t care, I don’t care. It was actually pivotal!

Who made you laugh the most on the set during filming?

JA: When we had a hard time in the RV with Kathryn. She would start her scenes with these extraordinary stories, that led up to what the actual dialogue is on the page. And they were different every time.

Care to talk about anything you did that was too hot to keep in the movie?

JA: All the fun stuff is on the DVD! And extras, on the Blu-ray!

Prairie Miller is a New York multimedia journalist online, in print and radio, who reviews movies and conducts in-depth interviews. She can also be heard on WBAI/Pacifica National Radio Network’s Arts Express.