Photo by Julie Cunnah
Jennifer Aniston and Anna Kendrick are the focus of the first 2015 edition of The Close-Up, the Film Society of Lincoln Center's weekly podcast series.
Aniston and Kendrick star in the dark comedy-drama Cake, which debuted at the Toronto International Film Festival last fall and is currently in theaters. Directed by Daniel Barnz and written by Patrick Tobin, the film recently screened at the Film Society in partnership with The Hollywood Reporter and followed with a discussion lead by Annette Insdorf, a Columbia University Film Professor and Moderator of the “Reel Pieces” series at Manhattan's 92nd Street Y.
In the movie, Aniston and Kendrick play women who are battling persistent pain. Aniston’s character, Claire, is an acerbic lawyer who becomes fascinated by the suicide of a woman in her support group. As she uncovers the details of the suicide she also comes to terms her own personal demons, the loss of her son, and her own chronic pain. Aniston received Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild nominations for Best Actress for her role in Cake.
“Patrick's script is so beautiful and this character was so beautifully layered and complex,” observed Aniston. “For any actor it's a charmed piece of material if you can get your hands on it… I hadn't done it for a very long time.”
Aniston and Kendrick speak about their collaboration in the film as well as the broader topics of acting and filmmaking. Aniston left open the idea of possibly directing one day herself, while broadly praising independent film for allowing actors and filmmakers to express their creativity. Aniston, of course, first became widely known to audiences as Rachel Green in the hit TV series Friends, which ran from 1994-2004. She parlayed her television stardom onto the big screen in part via independent titles such as The Good Girl (2002), in which she starred opposite a rising star Jake Gyllenhaal, and Nicole Holofcener's Friends with Money (2006), with Frances McDormand and Catherine Keener.
“I love independent film because there's a lot more creative freedom,” said Aniston. “[There's] a lot less waiting around and people are working as a team… I was very grateful for [the independent films] because they got me out of the 'You're on a TV show club…'”