Jennifer Aniston made playing Rachel Green on Friends look easy. So easy, in fact, that a sizable chunk of the population still thinks Rachel Green basically is Aniston, and not the result of a perfectly crafted and classic sitcom performance. (Ask yourself: has anyone since been able to achieve quite what Aniston did in that role?) Since Friends wrapped, Aniston’s career has mostly revolved around bringing her comedic chops to the big screen—to various degrees of success. Which is why it’s so interesting that 15 years after her NBC days ended, she’s now returning to television in a dramatic role.
While we do expect some moments of levity and satire on Apple TV+’s The Morning Show (especially considering Aniston’s co-stars are Reese Witherspoon and Steve Carrell), the trailers so far sell it as a straightforward workplace drama. Given that The Leftovers director Mimi Leder is both co-producing and directing a good number of episodes and that Bates Motel creator Kerry Ehrin wrote the project, we don’t expect it to pull punches in that department either. Indeed, the series was originally intended as something a little lighter before the scandals of #MeToo made producers decide they had to switch their focus.
Aniston certainly seems up to a more serious turn. In a new interview with The New York Times, the actress says that she feels she’s finally coming into her own with her craft.
“I’m entering into what I feel is one of the most creatively fulfilling periods of my life,” she said. “Seriously.”
“I’ve been doing this for 30 years and I feel like it’s just about to really bloom.”
“It’s taken time for me to get where I am and I put a lot of work into my craft,” she says later in the profile. “I’ve failed. I’ve succeeded. I’ve overcome. I’ve, you know, I’ve stayed around. I’m still here.”
Of course, a certain brand of Aniston fan has been waiting for this moment for a while. While the parts that have made her one of the highest paid actresses in Hollywood (Bruce Almighty, We’re The Millers, etc.) have mostly been comedy, she’s put together an impressive (if sporadic) indie film resumé as well.
Her work in 2003’s The Good Girl—as a depressed small town woman who gets caught up in an affair with her new grocery store co-worker played by Jake Gyllenhaal—got her nominated for an Independent Spirit award alongside Julianne Moore and Catherine Keener. In 2006, she held her own alongside co-stars Frances McDormand, Joan Cusack, and Keener in Nicole Holofcener’s Friends With Money, and scored SAG and Golden Globe nominations for her portrayal of a woman struggling with chronic pain in 2014’s Cake.
Still, Aniston says her part in The Morning Show isn’t something she could have pulled off earlier in her career, and that she’s drawn from her own experiences for the role. “There’s a similarity to my life,” Aniston told The Times. “I relate in ways of feeling like, when you don’t want to be seen, and you don’t want to go out of the house, and you want to just scream, and you don’t want to walk on a red carpet. I don’t want to stand behind a podium, I don’t want to have my photograph taken, I want to just cry today. You know?”