“It’s not the same industry that it used to be… It’s slowly becoming about TikTok and Instagram followers. It’s like, we’re hiring now based on followers, not talent?” – Jennifer Aniston
With enough hard work, a talented actor can overcome less-than-great roles. Take Jennifer Aniston, for example. Her first two film roles were in Mac and Me and Leprechaun — and though each has their fans, neither movie’s box office would suggest that Aniston would go on to become an Emmy Award-winning actress. In a career-spanning interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Aniston spoke about the ups and downs of her long career in the entertainment industry — and what she’s learned from her time in front of the camera.
Though she’s most famous for her comedic roles in film and television, Aniston admits that her dramatic roles — such as her performance on the critically-acclaimed drama The Morning Show — can weigh on her, but an acting coach has helped her leave it all on set. She explains:
“I’m thrilled to leave it at work. What did wear on me was the emotional and physical drain that took place over those seven months, just trying to pull that out on a daily basis. But once I started working with an incredible woman, and I’ve worked with a lot of great coaches, but this particular woman had a different set of tools and it was about getting really personal with myself. At first, I was like, ‘Oh no, no, no, no, we don’t go in there. We don’t go into that.’ Cake was one of the first films we did together, and before that the anxiety of an emotional scene was almost too much. I’d think, ‘I’m not a dramatic actress because I don’t know how to cry.’ I just knew how to laugh because that was how I remedied all of the darkness.”
With that said, because she was typically cast in comedic roles for most of her career she began to doubt that she could pull off a heavy dramatic performance. She says:
“I was the girl next door, the damsel in distress, the brokenhearted — your traditional rom-com themes. And at a certain point, it was like, ‘Can’t we do something else? Am I just on this part of the cereal aisle? Like, will I ever get to be a bountiful Kashi or some sort of oatmeal, or am I going to be Fruit Loops forever?’ And then you start to doubt yourself. ‘Maybe I can’t? Maybe there’s a reason that no one [is giving me these opportunities]?’ Now, so much is self-generated, which is great since I wasn’t going to get the jobs I’m really interested in because the industry isn’t secure enough to say, ‘Yeah, let’s try it.’ They go for the actors they know can play the fancy dramatic roles. But there are still certain directors I’d love to work with, ones who have their pick of who they like, and sometimes I want to go, ‘I’d love to be part of that club.'”
Nonetheless, Aniston points out that the entertainment industry has changed dramatically since she broke into it in the early 1990s, and what studios are looking for has changed. She says, “It’s not the same industry that it used to be. It’s not that glamorous anymore. It’s slowly becoming about TikTok and Instagram followers. It’s like, we’re hiring now based on followers, not talent? Oh, dear. And I’m losing touch. I’m not great at going, ‘I’m going to stay relevant and join TikTok.'”