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From Get Shorty to Jackie Brown, Elmore Leonard‘s books are no strangers to movie-star makeovers.
His latest adapted tale for the silver screen, Life of Crime — helmed by writer-director and longtime Leonard fan Daniel Schechter — boasts an unexpected performance from Jennifer Aniston, supported by costars John Hawkes, Will Forte and Mark Boone Junior.
The Lionsgate and Roadside Attractions film, which has its premiere at the ArcLight Hollywood on Wednesday, is based on Leonard’s 1978 novel The Switch and follows Aniston’s character, Mickey, a housewife who is kidnapped and held for ransom from a wealthy husband who doesn’t want her back.
From the outset, Mickey may seem like your run-of-the-mill damsel in distress, but Aniston was quick to describe the role as “strong,” and “kick-ass.” Aniston also loved that the film was a period piece set in the 1970s, saying, “I mean, who doesn’t love to dress up and go to work every day and be in an awesome caper with ridiculously talented actors?”
“I got to have this big, thick mustache,” Forte added of the ’70s setting, though that mustache has now grown into quite an impressive beard — one to rival Mark Boone Junior’s, who was nearby teasing Forte’s acting prowess on set.
“He’d always have his back to the camera,” Boone Junior noted.
“I’ve got the best back in the business!” Forte retorted with phony rage. “I want to show it off!”
That sense of camaraderie permeated the red carpet, where laughs and praise abounded. Schechter talked with THR about the casting of Life of Crime, commenting: “We’ve all seen movies where there are six famous actors who don’t even seem like they belong in the same movie, who have no chemistry. With this project, I truly believe that we were able to put together a cast of famous people who were amazing in their roles and with each other. It was beyond my dream cast.”
Everyone involved agreed that watching Aniston inhabit this new role was a real treat.
“I was not surprised that she was a capable, professional actress, but past that, she was really game for a lot of shenanigans,” Hawkes commented. “She dealt with a lot of physical discomfort, and she was a shining light through all of it. It’s really her film, and I think she, alongside our director, led us well.”
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