LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - In their new film “Marley & Me,” Jennifer Aniston and Owen Wilson pick up where most couples in romantic comedies end -- at the start of a happily-ever-after marriage.
The movie, which opens Christmas Day, follows John and Jenny Grogan as they evolve from career-focused newlyweds to parents of three young children. It afforded both actors the challenge of making the ins-and-outs of married life look as exciting as any over-the-top boy-meets-girl comedy, they said.
“It was refreshing to read a story about a marriage and not be the traditional romantic comedy with some high-concept plot to see how the guy’s going to get the girl or how the girl’s going to get the guy,” Aniston told Reuters in a recent, joint interview Wilson.
“You know, she’s leaving for Antarctica. He has to take a boat there to get her,” Wilson joked, to emphasize the typical high-concept Hollywood romance.
“This movie is picking up where we’re together. And then how do you make that work and make that interesting?” he said.
In “Marley & Me,” directed by “The Devil Wears Prada” director David Frankel, the chase scenes and action sequences come in the form of the couple’s dog, a rambunctious yellow Labrador named Marley who they dub “the world’s worst dog.”
But the movie, which is based on the autobiographical bestselling book of the same name, is less about Marley than about his owners, the Grogans, as they struggle with balancing their growing family with their career ambitions. Both are journalists at competing newspapers in Miami.
It’s those themes of marriage and family that Aniston and Wilson said they think audiences will find identifiable.
“It’s a reminder for people if they are questioning or if they are going, ‘why am I in this?’ ... through those hard times you keep remeeting and remarrying, and that’s sort of the beauty of sticking to it.”
Wilson, best known for playing offbeat characters in slapstick comedies like “Meet the Fockers,” “Wedding Crashers” and, most recently, “Drillbit Taylor,” said he welcomed playing a more believable character.
“It was nice to do a movie that everyday when you showed up to work it was like ‘Okay, I can believe the stuff that I‘m doing,'” Wilson said.
Aniston was effusive about Wilson’s performance, saying audiences will see a new side of him as an actor.
“You’re such a brilliant comedian but you’re just also an extremely deep,” she said to Wilson. “You have such a well of emotion that is untapped. You are untapped talent, Owen!”
Aniston, too, is known for comedic turns during ten seasons on the blockbuster television sitcom “Friends” and films “The Break-Up,” “Along Came Polly,” and “Bruce Almighty.”
Both actors, however, said they never thought of themselves as comedians before hitting it big.
“I don’t know how I ended up working on a lot of comedies because I had no standup comedian or class clown type background,” Wilson said.
“Join the club, honey,” Aniston cut in. “I’d be doing Chekhov and they’d be chuckling. I’d be like ‘What the hell are you laughing at?'”
Reporting by Nichola Groom