Filming the new movie Cake was hardly a cakewalk for star Jennifer Aniston. The We're the Millers actress, 45, admitted at a screening of the acclaimed drama on Tuesday, Jan. 6, that making the film was far from easy.
"It was the hardest day of my life," Aniston said of one day spent shooting Cake. During the production she was forced to confront one of her biggest fears, all while in character and on camera.
"I basically have a fear of going under water," she explained. "As a kid I was with my brother and [I] was driving my tricycle around the swimming pool and drove my tricycle into the swimming pool and I didn't let go."
The Friends alum told the crowd at West Hollywood's Harmony Gold Theater for a Q&A and screening of Cake that the incident left her scarred for life and made it difficult for her to film a scene in which her character Claire Bennett is submerged in a pool.
"I can’t go under water and no one believed me," she continued of her fellow cast members and the crew. "I'm like, 'I honestly can't.' Just to get the one shot of me going under [water] with the weight, I think we did that 30 times."
Aniston's bravery paid off as she already received a Golden Globe nomination for Best Actress in a Drama for her work in the film. She was also honored for the Screen Actors Guild Award and Broadcast Film Critics Association Award, and is getting buzz for the upcoming 2015 Oscars before nominations are announced on Jan. 15.
"It wasn’t a romantic comedy, it wasn’t," she said of Cake, which tells the heart-wrenching story of a woman's struggle with chronic pain. "It was honestly the first time for me to be able to do a true study of a character. Even though in my movies I’ve played women in different situations, this was a real physical challenge and an emotional challenge… I’ve been dying to do for years."
She was joined at the event by Cake's stunt coordinator Stacy Courtney; NBC’s Chief Health, Medical and Science correspondent Dr. Bruce Hensel, MD; Founder of the Advanced Pain Treatment and Diagnostics Medical Group Dr. George Graf; and President & CEO of the Arthritis Foundation Ann Palmer. The panel touched on the reality of chronic pain that was highlighted in the film.
"I worked with a lot of incredible people," Aniston said of gaining her understanding of the medical issue. "I had quite a support team. From doctors, therapists, [and] a woman who coached me just to really understand the chronology of the time… understanding with the doctors, what is it like when you have a Vicodin, Percocet and a bottle of booze, are you stumbling? Sometimes you’re stumbling or sometimes the pain is so great that you’re still somehow managing. It’s a real varying degree of that, and we were so hell-bent on really portraying this as accurate as possible."
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