Twenty-five years after the end of Friends, Jennifer Aniston is returning to television in a role she based on another leading lady of the small screen: Diane Sawyer. In The Morning Show, an upcoming series from Apple, Aniston plays the co-host of, well, a morning show, and recently revealed to InStyle that Sawyer was a major inspiration for the character, saying, "I’ve known Diane for years, and I had the joy of getting to pick her brain when I was doing research for the show. Diane’s always been so elegant and classy." She also hung around the Good Morning America set at five in the morning as part of her research for the role, though we have to imagine lunch with Sawyer was more fun.
In the same article, Aniston says she and co-star/co-producer Reese Witherspoon were also galvanized by the #MeToo movement and its subsequent effect on Hollywood. “The show was always about the abuse of power, and women and sexism. We sold it in the summer, and then Harvey [Weinstein] happened in the fall," says Aniston of the timing, adding, "Reese and I were like…‘The show is writing itself.’ It was as if the universe were begging for this patriarchal society to be exposed. It’s crazy.”
Speaking of patriarchy, double standards and sexism, the actress also noted that "you look great for your age" is perhaps not the kind compliment it's intended to be. Having just crossed the threshold into the 50 and over category, Aniston says, "I don’t feel any different. Things aren’t shutting down in any way. I feel physically incredible. So it’s weird that it’s all of a sudden getting telegraphed in a way that’s like, ‘You look amazing for your age.’ I think we need to establish some etiquette around that dialogue and verbiage.”
Maybe that dialogue can happen on the show. Aniston says the series will “[look] at the ways in which we’ve all normalized [sexist] behavior and how we’re all by-products of our environment, having grown up with sexism encoded in our messaging, however extreme or subtle.” Sounds like Sawyer will be proud.