STORY WRITTEN BY AMY LONGSDORF
For Digital First Media
Jennifer Aniston didn’t need to read the script for “Mother’s Day” before deciding to join the cast of the star-studded ensemble comedy.
The reason for her eagerness was simple. It all boiled down to the man behind the camera: Garry Marshall.
Back in the ‘70s, the filmmaker created a slew of popular sitcoms before transitioning to movies like “The Flamingo Kid,” “Beaches,” “Pretty Woman,” “The Princess Diaries” and “Georgia Rule.”
More recently, Marshall has overseen a series of ensemble comedies such as “Valentine’s Day, “New Year’s Eve” and “Mother’s Day,” all of which feature a number of intersecting story lines converging on a specific holiday.
“Garry Marshall was the reason I said yes to this movie, because since I was a kid, when I watched ‘Happy Days’ and ‘The Odd Couple’ and ‘Laverne and Shirley,’ to all of all of his incredible movies,” Aniston has loved his project, she says. “So, without reading a script, I said, ‘Yep.’”
And, luckily for Aniston, the movie turned out to be right up her alley. In “Mother’s Day,” she plays a recently divorced mother with two sons who falls for a Mr. Mom (Jason Sudeikis) with two daughters. The film also stars
Kate Hudson as a woman trying to repair her relationship with her mom (Margo Martindale) and Julia Roberts as a successful author.
At its best, “Mother’s Day” is a reminder that families come in all sizes and shapes.
“I think [the movie] does a beautiful job on touching upon all of the different scenarios of what a family unit looks like today,” says Aniston. “And I think that’s quite lovely.”
In the ‘90s and 2000s, when Hollywood still made scores of romantic comedies, Roberts, Hudson and Aniston were the queens of the genre. From “Pretty Woman” and “Notting Hill” to “How to Lose A Guy In Ten Days” to “The Break Up,” this trio of funny ladies reigned supreme.
So what was it like for Aniston to share scenes with Roberts and Hudson?
“It was so much fun to do a movie with them,” says the actress. “But it is kind of a tease because I only had a day with Julia and two days with Kate. But I’ve known Kate for, gosh, almost 20 years. Long time. We’ve never had the opportunity to do something together, and Julia, the same thing.
“But I was just over the moon. … I just wish we had more [scenes] together.”
“Mother’s Day” is full of reunions. Garry Marshall has worked with Roberts not only on her big breakthrough “Pretty Woman” but also on “Runaway Bride” and “Valentine’s Day.”
Hudson and Marshall go back even further. The actress remembers the director on the set of “Overboard,” a movie starring her mother Goldie Hawn and stepfather Kurt Russell. Hudson and Marshall also teamed up for “Raising Helen” in 2004.
While Aniston never worked with Marshall before, she has toiled beside Sudeikis four times previously on “We’re The Millers,” “The Bounty Hunter” and both “Horrible Bosses” movies.
“We have so much fun,” she says of the pair’s chemistry. “And he makes me laugh. … It’s years of knowing each other, feeling comfortable.”
The child of actors John Aniston (“Days Of Our Lives”) and Nancy Dow, Jennifer never doubted she’d follow in her parents’ footsteps.
But she’s always had a very complicated relationship with her mother. John and Nancy split when Jennifer was nine and she was largely raised by her mother in New York City while her father and brother lived in Los Angeles.
“I always had an appreciation for my mom being a single mom,” says the actress, 47. “[My] generation had a lot of divorced parents, so I’ve always had a great appreciation for women who work [and raise kids] at the same time. The toughness of [that job] is not lost on me.”
Aniston fell out with her mother in 1999 after Dow published the book “From Mother to Daughter to Friends: A Memoir.” A few years later, following Jennifer’s break-up with husband Brad Pitt, she patched things up with Dow. Recently, Aniston told the Hollywood Reporter that things between she and her mother are “all fine” now.
“She sees all of my movies,” notes Anison who expects to spend this Mother’s Day with Dow. “I don’t know what we’ll do. Never know, until the day comes.”
Aniston believes she’s inherited some of her mother’s good and bad qualities.
“What qualities do I have from my mother? A sense of humor,” says the actress. “She has a great sense of humor, and my dad too. Let’s see, what are qualities did I inherit that I hate? I’m a nervous driver.
“When I would drive, she would always scream, and [now I think], ‘Well, maybe it’s because I was not a good driver.’ I’m a nervous driver too.”
Now that Aniston is married to actor Justin Theroux, she finds herself regularly fielding questions about when and if she might become a mom herself.
“Is this a child question?,” she says. “Look, I think it’s an incredible thing. I see all the friends that I have [become] moms. … It hasn’t changed how I feel about motherhood, though. I think [moms] are incredible.”
As for Aniston’s own favorite holiday, she selects Thanksgiving.
“I really enjoy it,” says the actress. “You’re allowed to have another meal later [after the main meal]. You can take a nap. It’s a family day. You play games. It’s about being present and being grateful.”