Twenty-five years ago, Jennifer Aniston warmed the hearts of America as the spoiled “daddy’s girl”-turned-businesswoman and mother, Rachel Green, on the NBC sitcom Friends.
While the award-winning show has been over for a decade-and-a-half, Aniston, who has since starred in countless films, remains beloved for her time on the series. And now, the actress is returning to the small screen to take on an entirely different role.
Aniston will both star in and executive produce Apple TV+’s original series The Morning Show, which will take viewers through the dynamics of a news program that is faced with sexual misconduct allegations against one of its hosts.
“Acting and at the same time producing was intense for Jen,” a source tells PEOPLE of Aniston, 50, going double-duty for the highly anticipated series, which debuts Nov. 1.
“The role required filming late at night, and then they had meetings during the day,” adds the source. “But she missed being part of a show. She is very proud of it.”
Aniston is teaming up with her costar and fellow executive producer Reese Witherspoon, who guest-starred on Friends as her bratty younger sister, Jill, in 2000.
It was a reunion much enjoyed: “She and Reese have the same passion and got along great. Jen enjoys working with women she admires,” the source says.
The actresses pitched an idea of the show to Apple back in 2017, but the direction took a completely different turn when the #MeToo movement began. Suddenly, a fictional show became anything but unrealistic.
“When #MeToo happened … it’s like, we can’t not address it,” Aniston told Entertainment Weekly while gracing their latest cover alongside Witherspoon, 43.
In the series, Aniston’s character, Alex Levy, is forced to address the nation after her co-host Mitch Kessler (Steve Carell) is fired following allegations of sexual misconduct.
“This role never could’ve come to me any sooner than now,” Aniston told EW. “It’s one of the hardest jobs I’ve had. I knew I was up to the task, but then there was the excavation of all the emotions in order to create this world for this woman. All of her lifelines are falling away. I would walk out of some of those scenes feeling like a manhole cover just came off my back.”
Once Carell’s Mitch is fired, Alex is forced to live up to the public’s positive image of her — something Aniston understands from her own personal life as she returns to television, despite always being remembered as the iconic Rachel Green.
“I understand that, with people having connections to Friends,” she told EW. “I understand the isolation — not wanting to be seen, not wanting to be public, not wanting to have to go on a red carpet. Its not always easy to go out there and be the person that you have to be.”
The Morning Show is available to stream on Apple TV+ on Nov. 1.
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