Justin Theroux on life with Jennifer Aniston
LOS ANGELES—The better half of Jennifer Aniston was teased about the poster of his TV series, “The Leftovers,” displayed on an easel nearby. The black-and-white poster shows him shirtless, wearing a pair of low-riding jeans, while his costar Amy Brenneman, who appears naked, embraces him from behind.
“I blush a little,” answered Justin Theroux, looking handsome with a full beard, when asked what he feels when he sees the poster.
“I get a little embarrassed,” he added with a laugh in this recent interview at the Four Seasons Hotel in LA.
Justin, casually dressed in a black tee and gray jeans, with a gold necklace for accent, laughed again when asked how he felt about being objectified. “Thematically, it works with our first season poster, which showed me smashing the wall,” he reasoned out. And he was shirtless too, in that poster.
“Engaging” is an understatement to describe the apocalyptic drama that stars Justin as police chief Kevin Garey, who some think is Jesus in his second coming. Deadline Hollywood has declared that with the third and final installment of “The Leftovers,” the HBO series “has officially achieved television greatness” and that the cast,
led by Justin, gives “excellent and sometimes gut-wrenching performances. ”
Set several years after the disappearance of 2 percent of the global population, “The Leftovers” follows a group of people as they cope with the mysterious nature of the event. The gripping series, which goes from New York to Texas and now, Australia, has strong 9/11 overtones.
It’s a star vehicle for Justin, who broke through in David Lynch’s “Mulholland Drive” after a string of small roles.
Based on the novel of the same title by Tom Perrotta, “The Leftovers,” created by Damon Lindelof and Tom, also stars Amy, Liv Tyler, Regina King and Christopher Eccleston.
Raised by his mom in Washington, Justin is the youngest of three siblings. He comes from a family of writers: journalists, novelists and poets. He’s a writer himself, credited for several screenplays, including “Iron Man 2” and “Tropic Thunder.”
Justin, 45, and Jennifer, 48, married at their home in Bel Air, California, in 2015.
Excerpts from our chat:
You are married to a famous woman. And you come from an illustrious family of writers. How do you not get swallowed up by it all? I just focus on the work, for the most part.
How do you deal with the temporary separations when you and Jennifer are far from each other because of work? It’s tough; it’s a pain. But even though you are tired, you just make an extra effort to make trips back home, or have your partner come visit you.
Keith Urban said that he once flew from New York, all the way to Australia, to have dinner with Nicole Kidman. Then, he flew back to his concert tour. He’s a better man than I am (laughs). I would never do that.
How tough is that distance for you? We have talked about this—it’s an insane flight. You are in a different day all together most of the time (laughs).
Do you and Jennifer have any rule about not being away from each other for a certain period of time? We had a two-week rule (not to be away from each other for more than two weeks). Then, it would be a two-and-a-half-week rule. So, it’s a moving target.
What do you and Jennifer like to do when you are both at home? We walk the dogs [here in LA], which I find enormously gratifying.
How many dogs do you have? Three dogs. We have a pit bull, a shepherd and a dog that I think was made out of trash.
You seem like a happy kind of guy. In what way does Jennifer make you a happier person? She has an enormously good sense of humor, so we make each other laugh a lot.
How were you raised to be the person that you are now? I was raised by my mom. So in a lot of ways, I was raised with a feminine perspective. I saw how hard my mom worked, and the struggle she went through. She was a lot of things—writer, public school teacher.
Any time a woman achieves what she wants to do, you can’t help but be ecstatic for her. And as it relates to my wife, I am very ecstatic for her that she gets to do some of the things that she has set her mind on.
Which do you prefer, being an actor or behind the camera as a writer? I definitely feel more comfortable being behind the camera, because it takes off that added pressure of being in front. But I enjoy both.
When you are writing a script, do you show it to Jennifer for her feedback? I usually get her feedback because I write largely comedy. She’s a pretty good barometer for that.
Does Jennifer offer you advice on clothes, as well? No, she doesn’t give me that much input.
How do you stay in shape like that on the poster? I like going to the gym. I go four times a week. And years ago, I cut sugar out of my diet, which had paid dividends.
What kind of risks do you take as an actor in the series? The character never got to idle or sit neutral. Damon and Tom (the series’ creators) were always pushing me into areas that were out of my comfort zone. There were times when I was physically uncomfortable—in the water, the temperature.
Have you guys been on a holiday under the sun to make up for all those freezing work days? Yeah, we went to Cabo (Mexico) in February.
Can you give a teaser on the character and his journey, from the first episode to the end of this show? The most telling episode, from at least the perspective of the genesis of where my character begins, is in the first season, episode nine.
In that flashback episode, where he has his family, his wife … and he lives in a nice house. It’s his predeparture. He is dissatisfied. He spends the next three seasons trying to find some semblance of family.
As far as the ending of the show … I think it’s perfect.
What’s next for you? Maybe work in a warmer climate? I hope so (laughs). It will (hopefully be) a story set in Hawaii. I am also doing this Lego movie, which I am enjoying.
E-mail [email protected] Follow him at http://twitter.com/nepalesruben.
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