“I feel incredibly lucky to be part of it,” says Aniston of the Apple TV+ series that follows the cast of a Sunrise-type news show that’s thrown into turmoil in the wake of the #MeToo movement. “It’s one of the most beautiful gems you could find.”
As well as starring in the series, Aniston is an executive producer alongside Reese Witherspoon (aka Jill Green from Friends). They started working on the pilot in 2016 – long before the #MeToo hashtag, the Harvey Weinstein exposé and Matt Lauer’s firing from NBC’s Today for “inappropriate sexual conduct.”
Following the Time’s Up movement, Aniston and Witherspoon knew they had to go back to the drawing board. They fired their initial showrunner and brought in Kerry Ehrin (of Friday Night Lights) to rethink the entire project through a female lens. “And boy did she exceed our expectations in terms of raw grit and heartbreak and laughter,” Aniston tells marie claire in her cover story. “Reading the pilot, we were all like, ‘Good God, what’s going to happen next?’”
The show is terrific – gripping, twisty and gimlet-eyed in its depiction of anchors whose wholesome TV personas often stand in stark contrast with their all-too-human private lives. Aniston plays Alex Levy – an elegant, established morning news legend whose career is upended when her co-anchor (played by Steve Carell) is fired for sexual misconduct.
Suddenly, Levy – who’s pushing 50 – realises that her own job hangs in the balance.
For Aniston, there was a key parallel between her own life and Levy’s that she loved exploring. “I think the complexity of Alex Levy, being a public person living in a world where you are the provider of everyone’s good news that day – you know, we all have a mum and pop, and these people have lives and loves of their own that they have to put away when they show up every morning for America – that duality parallels the lives of actors in a way I could really relate to because of the familiarity of Friends,” says Aniston who turned 50 this year similar to her character.
Off-screen, Aniston’s life is sweet. She remains “incredibly close” to her longtime circle of female friends in LA, including Courteney Cox and Lisa Kudrow, and she throws a “Sunday Fun-day” pool party at her house every week for her friends and their families. “I swear, those kids will get in the water even if it’s 12 degrees outside,” she says.
As for her love life, she’d rather not go there. “Maybe I’m not [dating], maybe I am,” she says with a smile in her voice. “I will say that I think love is a wonderful thing and I will always believe in it.”
Read our full cover story in the December issue of mare claire, on sale Thursday.
Morning Wars streams on Apple TV+ from November 2.