The Hollywood Reporter’s current cover story is the Drama Actress Roundtable ahead of the 2020 Emmy nominations. This year’s drama roundtable included Zendaya, Janelle Monae, Jennifer Aniston, Reese Witherspoon, Rose Byrne and Helena Bonham Carter. I’m not going to do exhaustive coverage of this because I generally hate trying to parse through and highlight multi-person conversations, and you can easily read THR’s full piece here. The magazine definitely gave a lot of space to Janelle and Zendaya to speak about Black Lives Matter and what it’s like for them, as black women, to work within the industry and to live in America during this time. The white actresses mostly just nodded and said “mm-hm” to what Janelle and Zendaya had to say. It wasn’t bad or anything, it was just an interesting dichotomy, especially since Reese and Jennifer (especially) managed to bring the conversation around to themselves and their favorite subjects anyway. I’m doing some excerpts about Aniston, because why not? People love to talk about her.
Aniston on the lockdown: “…Having the [space] to be alone and not be distracted has been almost divine timing in terms of the order of how everything has unfolded. I think that’s a blessing of this pandemic because there wasn’t any chance for people to get distracted going back to work or going out to dinners or whatever. We were all pulled together, and it feels extremely unifying and oddly beautiful. And I’ve never read more in my life.
Aniston on struggling with typecasting: “Oh my God, yes. You just exhaust yourself. I mean, I could not get Rachel Green off of my back for the life of me. I could not escape “Rachel from Friends,” and it’s on all the time and you’re like, “Stop playing that f–king show!” The Good Girl was the first time I got to really shed whatever the Rachel character was, and to be able to disappear into someone who wasn’t that was such a relief to me. But I remember the panic that set over me, thinking, “Oh God, I don’t know if I can do this. Maybe they’re right. Maybe everybody else is seeing something I’m not seeing, which is you are only that girl in the New York apartment with the purple walls.” So, I was almost doing it for myself just to see if I could do something other than that. And it was terrifying because you’re doing it in front of the world.
Fighting to be seen as something else: “So, I just fought with myself and who I was in this industry forever, and it was constantly about trying to prove that I was more than that person. But there is such a freedom in getting older because you just stop giving a crap.
On drama/comedy: “Once you play comedy, they don’t think you can do the drama; and if you’re only seen as a dramatic actor, they don’t think you can do comedy. They forget that we’re actors and we actually have it all in there. It’s just about finding it and accessing it and getting the material.
I… don’t know how much longer Aniston can play this song! As tired as she is of being connected to Rachel Green, we’re all tired of hearing her complain about it. She’s literally been bitching about it for twenty years!! I’m also sort of side-eyeing what she says about the pandemic too. I mean, granted, what she says is better than “woe is me, the pandemic was so hard to survive in my mansion.” At least she’s not doing that. But it does seem somewhat tone-deaf to use words like “blessing” and “oddly beautiful.” Whatever. The whole piece is worth a read.
Cover courtesy of THR, photos courtesy of WENN, Avalon Red.