Jennifer Aniston Still Lives In The Shadow Of ‘Friends’

Todd Rigney - Author

Jan. 4 2015, Updated 7:12 a.m. ET

Jennifer Aniston may have bid farewell to Friends over 10 years ago, but the actress admitted that she’s still living in the shadow of Rachel Green.

When an actor or actress tackles a role that ultimately becomes iconic, shaking that character almost becomes a life-long struggle. Mark Hamill will always be Luke Skywalker, Daniel Radcliffe will always be Harry Potter — the constant association is a blessing and a curse. In Jennifer Aniston’s case, she’s still associated with the trials and tribulation of Rachel Green on Friends, one of the biggest sitcoms of the 1990s.

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Fortunately for Aniston, she’s making waves and generating Oscar buzz for her turn in director Daniel Barnz’s acclaimed drama Cake. The actress stars as Claire Bennett, a pill addict who lives in a world of constant agony. Since the role is such a departure for Aniston, many were deeply concerned that she’d strayed too far from her strengths. Although she turned heads in Miguel Arteta’s The Good Girl in 2002, Cake is finally helping Jennifer shake the shackles of Rachel Green.

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According to the Irish Independent, Jennifer Aniston said she’s endeavored to escape the role that turned her into a household name. While she still cherishes the time she spent on Friends, Aniston admits that escaping the sitcom has proven extremely difficult.

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“Well, I think it’s also from being on a television show for ten years — that’s in your living room week after week, and now day after day (in syndication). You really do have to kind of run far, far away.”

“But it’s OK. I don’t mind that. I’m up for that challenge, and that’s what excites me… I would be lying if I said in taking this on there wasn’t a part of me that knew I was taking a risk. I knew I had to do it for myself and if it was going to fail and fall flat on its face, then so be it, but I had to. I feel like you have to be brave. You have to be bold. Don’t stay small.”

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Her role in Cake has definitely earned Jennifer Aniston some well-deserved kudos. The Hollywood Reporter explains that she recently snagged the Montecito Award at the Santa Barbara Film Fest for her performance as Claire Bennett. SBIFF executive director Roger Durling was quick to sing her praises.

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“Once in a while a performer who we thought we knew gets outside of his or her comfort zone and shows us the unexpected. When that happens it is cause for celebration — and this is why the 2015 Montecito Award is bestowed upon Ms. Aniston.”

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Do you think Jennifer Aniston has finally escaped the shadow of Friends?

[Lead image via DFree /]


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