Girl-next-door becomes the stripper-turned-wife in film
As one of the world's most famous women, Jennifer Aniston is used to being hounded by paparazzi. But today, for a brief time, she appears to have been offered respite as the hotel in which she's promoting her new movie, We're The Millers, appears to be paparazzi-free.
Only a handful of journalists have been invited along for a brief interview with the superstar. My name's called, and there she is, everybody's favourite "Friend", looking radiant and really not so different from her Rachel Green days, despite the series ending almost a decade ago.
"Well hi," says Aniston, extending her hand for me to shake.
Now aged 44, she's slim and tanned in a black fitted dress, uber high heels and an impressive sparkler on her left hand (she got engaged to actor Justin Theroux, 42, last year).
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As a gentle opener, I ask whether she had fun at the film's premiere.
"Oh, I had a great time," the actress replies. Then comes a voice from the other end of the room. "Sorry, we've messed up. We've got to cut it there as she needs to do a live radio chat."
And with that Ms Aniston is whisked away, apologising as she goes.
A short while later she returns. "Sorry about that," she says. "I never feel comfortable doing radio shows."
It's a surprise comment from someone who was born into the industry (both her parents were actors and her godfather was the late Telly Savalas), and she herself has been famous for almost half her life.
We're The Millers is a crude comedy about a small-time drug dealer called David Clark (Jason Sudeikis) who is forced to head to Mexico in an RV motorhome to collect drugs for his boss. Believing the best way to make it over the border without being searched is to pretend he's on a normal family holiday, he enlists the help of his neighbours – a stripper called Rose (Aniston), a teenage nerd called Kenny (British star Will Poulter) and a moody runaway called Casey (Emma Roberts).
Together they become "the Millers", and embark on a road trip that involves a pornographic game of Pictionary, a hash "baby" and a rather disturbing spider bite on Kenny's nether regions.
"We were trying to find something for a while and it just so happened after Horrible Bosses [a previous film] that the same studio had Millers," says Aniston on collaborating with her close pal Sudeikis.
"I read the script and thought it was a funny concept and a fun ride."
Sudeikis might be relatively new to playing leading men but he's heralded as one of America's funniest, thanks to his stint on the iconic sketch show Saturday Night Live.
"Jason's improvisational skills are fantastic. That led to some awesome volleying back and forth between the two of us," says Aniston.
Despite a wide variety of roles, from 2002's dark indie The Good Girl to the 2005 stylish thriller Derailed with Clive Owen, and gentle romcoms like Marley & Me (and, let's face it, the odd bomb such as 2010's The Bounty Hunter), Aniston's girl-next-door image continues to reign supreme.
That's why there has been such a to-do over her role as a stripper in this movie – though she only gets as far as her underwear in the strip stakes.
"I didn't mind, honestly, that didn't bother me," she says of her character's profession. "The main concern was trying to ensure I had enough to do. The female character was a little underwritten, so that took a bit of work, and continued to do so all the way through shooting, because that sometimes happens."
She stresses that Rose only reluctantly accepts David's proposal to be his "wife".
"She doesn't initially agree to sign up for his adventure because, despite being a stripper, she has morals, she has boundaries, and breaking the law is not something she's willing to do," Aniston explains.
"But she's broke. And David's offered to pay her a lot of money, so she feels she has no choice."