The pair play against type in the new thriller
Jennifer Aniston has been tabloid fodder since her much publicized break-up with Brad Pitt. Which translates to no 1-on-1 interviews during the Derailed press junket. The cast, director, writers, and producer were all lumped into a forty-minute press conference. She handled herself well, although the personal questions were fairly softball. Clive Owen remained quiet overall, but piped up in time to answer the "Bond" and "Sin City" questions. Here are some choice excerpts:
How do you feel being known as "America's Sweetheart," and do you think this role will debunk that label?
Jennifer Aniston: God I hope so. Being "America's Sweetheart", that label gets put on a lot of people. I don't pay that much attention. And I'm not trying to shake anything. I'm just following my instincts and doing work that is coming to me and I'm just grateful for it.
How was it working with Xzibit?
Jennifer Aniston: As menacing and intense as he is, that's how sweet and kind he was. During the one scene where he was holding a large gun to my head, he was very concerned for my safety. He was worried about my safety and if I was okay. He's really wonderful.
Clive Owen: He's very humbling about being an actor and takes his role seriously.
Talking about your character is hard because you don't want to give away any secrets. So how do you describe your character?
Jennifer Aniston: I describe her as a normal woman who is at a very mundane phase in her life, who meets this very intriguing, lovely man on a train. He succumbs to temptation and they both have to figure a way to get out of the terrible consequences, that they created for themselves.
How would you describe the movie?
Jennifer Aniston: This is a sexy, psychological thriller. (laughs)
What did you think of Mikael Hafstrom being selected to direct this film?
Clive Owen: I don't know if anyone here saw his film Evil (a 2004 Academy Award nominee for Best Foreign Language Film), but I was blown away by it. It was such a beautifully directed film. I think Mikael was perfect for this film because of all the cycles of twists and turns, sort of a simplistic but batik style. So clever, the nuances.
Jennifer Aniston: For me, this was such unchartered territory. I felt such a trust in everything he said. There was never a debate, never questioning. That's really important. And having seen Evil and meeting him and talking about his take on how he wanted to play this, it was intriguing, because it's an uncomfortable reality. There is a lot of discomfort watching this movie. Put in the wrong hands, it could have gone from that high concept glossy slick thriller and it's not, far from it.
Was it scary to take that plunge?
Jennifer Aniston: Yeah, there was definitely a moment. I don't know if I can pull this off. But then I had enough people around me, and Mikael believing I could really pull this off. Thank God for directors like him who think that it was interesting for him to take this persona and put it in that part. I really appreciate that.
Talk about shooting the initial robbery scene sans spoilers. The rape scene is quite horrific.
Clive Owen: I think this was a very important scene, because you don't want to condemn these people for falling in love. You're going to be too judgmental when the nightmare actually starts. So, I think Mikael played that all delicate and beautiful with these two people. In other hands you may have judged them. And then you would have thought, "Oh well, they get their just desserts." They know they shouldn't go to that hotel room, but they do. They're flawed human beings, who fall for each other. A terrible thing happens and there are huge consequences.
Jennifer Aniston: The same thing, but in filming it from this to the rape was over a week. So we were able to block it out and it was choreographed, technical. It wasn't as hard to do, as it was to watch.
Did you two sit down and work it out beforehand?
Jennifer Aniston: Yeah, in terms of the technicalities.
Clive Owen: To a point, but then Vincent (Cassel) came in and no acting required.
Jennifer Aniston: (Laughing) Yeah, you're actually terrified. Wasn't that hard.
Could you put this character down when the director yelled "Cut" after the rape scene?
Jennifer Aniston: It wasn't difficult at all because it was so well choreographed. It was very controlled and I was in such good hands with Vincent. He's a pro. He has such control of his body. It's important as an actor not to be reckless, especially in a scene like that. I felt so safe.
What were your first impressions of each other and how did it change after started you worked together?
Clive Owen: I still don't like her.
Jennifer Aniston: We still don't like each other
Clive Owen: Who would have thought this.
Jennifer Aniston: (Laughs) It was great, ease and comfort. That doesn't always happen. We sort of had similar sensibilities about how to approach the work we were doing.
Clive Owen: I was thrilled when Mikael said he was going after Jennifer. I'm always a fan of the ones that make it incredibly easy. I think Jennifer is as good as it gets. She's so brilliant.
Jennifer, this character is a dramatic departure from anything you've done before. Have you been looking for something radically different?
Jennifer Aniston: I think you're always looking for good roles, comedic, dramatic, whatever it is. This came along at a perfect time. As far as what I'm doing next, nothing is definite.
Jennifer, you just said that this came along at a good time. We all know what has happened and you've taken the high road. How do you stay grounded when your life gets Derailed?
Jennifer Aniston: I'm not a role model or the poster child for how to do anything. It was my first time at this particular picnic. So, I just have a great family, great friends. This is nothing out of the ordinary; people walk through this stuff all the time. It's great having a creative outlet and having work to do to. And when I wasn't working that was fine too.
What do you think of the way the tabloids have covered the story?
Jennifer Aniston: I don't look at that stuff. I just don't pay attention to it.
Clive, were you disappointed by the James Bond announcement? Were you in the running?
Clive Owen: I wasn't disappointed at all. There was a lot of media speculation, but there was never an offer. I sort of took myself out of the frame by taking a number of movies that will run into next year. They are all very different and all with very exciting people. I'm having a time in my career.
You never really wanted the part?
Clive Owen: Nyet!
In taking this film, were you trying to get away from the stereotype of the guy that's always in control?
Clive Owen: There was something very attractive about playing a reactive part. Somebody who drives an American Ford, somebody that the story comes out and he's got to react rather than respond. Derailed always struck me like one of those old Hitchcock movies where people are thrown into a nightmare world where everything isn't quite what it seems. The film, to be convincing, you have to be in that nightmare, reacting as oppose to driving it. I was excited about that challenge.
Are you coming back for Sin City II"?
Clive Owen: They are talking about coming back next year and I was a huge fan of Sin City. I think Robert Rodriguez is a genius. It was one of the most exciting groundbreaking movies I've ever been a part of.