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Jennifer Aniston on being a 'badass' after 'Friends'

By Piya Sinha-Roy

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - After playing sitcom sweetheart Rachel Green in long-running television comedy "Friends" for 10 years, Jennifer Aniston has spent the last decade looking for roles where she can "kick some ass."

In "Life of Crime," out in U.S. theaters on Friday, Aniston taps into a 1970s Detroit trophy wife and socialite, Mickey Dawson, who finds herself held for ransom while her cheating husband debates whether to pay for her release.

Aniston, 45, talked to Reuters about the excitement of being in a caper comedy, playing strong female characters and the "Friends" phenomenon 10 years after it concluded its run.

Q: What resonated with you about the character of Mickey?

A: It was such fun, as any Elmore Leonard-adapted screenplay you would imagine would be, and her character's arc was so awesome. It's so rare that you get to find women especially in an ensemble piece that actually have so much to do and have such a great beginning and an ending, so I was just right up for it from the get-go.

Q: How did you connect with her initial passiveness at her crumbling marriage?

A: I was a kid in the seventies, and women were stuck in unhappy situations that they didn't know how to get out of, not like today where if something smells even a little bit bad, it's like 'I'm high-tailing it out of here.' So I really loved how her character was written and she was actually a badass.

Q: How did you interpret Mickey's eventual connection to Louis (played by John Hawkes), who kidnapped her?

A: Oh my lord, he was saving her, he was her savior in an odd, twisted way. And I think she could feel that, even under the mask, she could feel that, and it's sort of this odd couple relationship that forms, and I think it's quite lovely. Sort of that Stockholm syndrome.

Q: You've taken on roles that span the spectrum of comedy, from outrageous laughs to dark "dramedy" like this film. What do you enjoy about the grittier topics?

A: This one, there was so much drama, there was so much happening, high excitement - from the scenes with the horrible husband and the kidnapping, and basically all the horrible things take place when that's happening, and then the escape - it was like a caper. They don't make movies like that anymore.

Q: What type of women have you found yourself drawn to after playing Rachel on "Friends" for 10 years?

A: Women usually who have a really positive arc and become stronger at the end of it, coming out from underneath circumstances that just seem unsurvivable, and the fact that you actually get through it and survive and get stronger and kick some ass. I like that. I can't say ("Horrible Bosses" character)Doctor Julia's that, she doesn't deserve it.

Q: The 20th anniversary of "Friends"' premiere is coming up.

A: Didn't that already happen?

Q: September 2014 is 20 years after ...

A: The first time it aired? I thought it was last year. Oh good, I'm a year younger! I just saved a year, so great.

Q: How to you still reflect on the show and its fans?

A: I love how it sort of keeps on, it's like the little Energizer bunny, it just keeps on ticking, it's amazing. It transcends, I don't know what it is about it, but it makes me very happy. I love it even when it comes on.

Q: Do you miss Rachel?

A: I get her everyday in my house. I don't have to miss her, she's everywhere! (laughs)

(Editing by Mary Milliken and Jonathan Oatis)

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