We love all things “Friends” and for us, it’s hard to sometimes imagine the stars playing any other roles than the ones they did for that popular sitcom. Jennifer Aniston will forever be “Rachel” no matter what new character she takes on. And maybe, that’s part of the problem that Jennifer Aniston struggled with for so long. She came forth revealing her ordeal of being typecast in the industry after her breakthrough role as Rachel Green in Friends.
During The Hollywood Reporter’s annual drama actress roundtable discussion with Reese Witherspoon, Rose Byrne, Zendaya, Helena Bonham Carter and Janelle Monáe, the Friends alum spoke about how the show impacted her career in the long run.
“You just exhaust yourself. I mean, I could not get Rachel Green off of my back for the life of me. I could not escape ‘Rachel from Friends,’ and it’s on all the time and you’re like, ‘Stop playing that f–king show!’ (Laughter.) The Good Girl was the first time I got to really shed whatever the Rachel character was, and to be able to disappear into someone who wasn’t that was such a relief to me,” Aniston explained.
“But I remember the panic that set over me, thinking, ‘Oh God, I don’t know if I can do this. Maybe they’re right. Maybe everybody else is seeing something I’m not seeing, which is you are only that girl in the New York apartment with the purple walls.’ So, I was almost doing it for myself just to see if I could do something other than that. And it was terrifying because you’re doing it in front of the world,” she added.
“So, I just fought with myself and who I was in this industry forever, and it was constantly about trying to prove that I was more than that person. But there is such a freedom in getting older because you just stop giving a crap,” she said.
Aniston returned to the TV screens with a dramatic role in The Morning Show, for which she even won the Screen Actor’s Guild award. And still, the one role she is and forever will be remember for is “Rachel Green” of Friends.
“Once you play comedy, they don’t think you can do the drama; and if you’re only seen as a dramatic actor, they don’t think you can do comedy. They forget that we’re actors and we actually have it all in there. It’s just about finding it and accessing it and getting the material,” Aniston said.
We can understand how that limitation can become frustrating for an actor who dreams of doing different roles in her acting career. But what can we say – she was just THAT good at being Rachel Green.
We, for one, can’t wait for the Friends reunion that is said to be streamed on HBO.