Jennifer Aniston Says Harvey Weinstein Once Tried to 'Bully' Her Into Wearing a Marchesa Dress

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Steve Granitz/WireImage)

Jennifer Aniston is opening up about the impact the #MeToo movement had on her upcoming drama series The Morning Show, and her own encounters with Harvey Weinstein.

The actress is featured in Variety's Power of Women issue, where she reflected on how she and her Morning Show co-star and co-producer, Reese Witherspoon, were already developing the series before #MeToo exploded into the public consciousness, and changed everything.

"The show got picked up. We sold it to Apple with an outline. Then, about four months later, the whole s**t hit the fan," Aniston revealed. "Basically, we had to start from scratch."

In the series, Aniston stars as a respected veteran morning news anchor named Alex Levy, whose longtime co-anchor, Mitch Kessler (played by Steve Carrell), is fired in the wake of sexual misconduct allegations. The spot is then filled by a younger, ambitious local TV journalist named Bradley Jackson (Witherspoon), who is thrust into the spotlight as she takes on the high-profile position.

While the original version of Aniston's upcoming series dealt with the high-stakes and backstabbing world of morning new shows, Matt Lauer's infamous termination from the Today show in 2017 inspired a top-down rewrite of The Morning Show, which many say now draws draws some clear parallels to the high-profile scandal.

"I went to the DVR that I had of Today before Matt Lauer was fired and then the day he was fired," Aniston shared, "because that was so fascinating to see."

However, she stressed that Carrell's Mitch Kessler character is not based on Lauer "at all," but rather serves as an "archetype of all of the men that he’s representing."

While entirely fictional, Kessler as a disgraced anchor is mean to highlight "aspects of the archetype of a charming narcissist, of a generation of men that didn’t think that was bad behavior."

In real life, the notorious prototype of the #MeToo villain can be found in Harvey Weinstein, the disgraced former producer whose downfall sparked the revolutionary movement. Aniston revealed that she's had her own abrasive run-ins with Weinstein that exemplified his allegedly brutish, bullying behavior.

The actress recalled working on a film produced by Weinstein and The Weinstein Company -- the 2005 crime thriller Derailed, in which she starred opposite Clive Owen -- and said the small amount of time she had to interact with Weinstein was less than pleasant.

"There was the premiere dinner. I remember I was sitting at the dinner table with Clive, and our producers and a friend of mine was sitting with me. And he literally came to the table and said to my friend: 'Get up!' And I was like, 'Oh my gosh.' And so my friend got up and moved and Harvey sat down," Aniston recalled. "It was just such a level of gross entitlement and piggish behavior."

The actress said that Weinstein  "knew better" than to really try and bully her, but said that it didn't stop him from trying to intimidate her.

Aniston recalled how the premiere of Derailed came around the same time that Weinstein's ex-wife, Georgina Chapman, was launching her Marchesa clothing line, and she recalled how the producer tried to force force her to essentially promote the fashion label.

"He came to visit me in London while we were shooting. He’d be like, 'OK, so I’d like you to wear one of these to the premiere,'" Aniston said, adding that she remembers she looked through the styles that Marchesa had developed at that time and that nothing really worked for her.

"[Marchesa] wasn’t what it is today. It was not for me. He was like, 'You have to wear the dress,'" she shared. "That was my only bullying. And I was like, 'No, I will not wear the dress.'... What was he going to do? Come over here and make me wear it?!"

With The Morning Show, Aniston says she's excited at how the series will address the #MeToo movement in a way that hasn't yet been explored on TV.

"What’s so wonderful about doing this show is that it is so unapologetically honest in terms of topics and the situations," she shared. "It’s basically showing all sides. It’s showing how things are said behind closed doors during [#MeToo], that no one else has the balls to say in front of the world."

The Morning Show is set to premiere Nov. 1 on Apple TV+.


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