To research her role, she went behind the scenes at “Good Morning America” and spent time with Diane Sawyer, studying everything from her clothing choices to her caffeine habits, which involved toggling between Coca-Cola, Red Bull and coffee. On set, Aniston handpicked her character’s books (“100 Years of Bauhaus” on her coffee table, Malcolm Gladwell’s “Blink” in her work bag), the sconces in her apartment (French modern), and her clothes (tailored; monochromatic; an occasional pop of color).
She hung photos of her real-life friends — the “Hill People”— in Alex’s dressing room and apartment.
There were times Aniston and Ehrin, the showrunner, had healthy disagreements — such as whether Alex, upset with her daughter, would actually say a phrase to the effect of, “I practically broke my vagina with that big head of yours,” using an expletive before “vagina,” to describe childbirth.
“I was like, that would just never come out of my mouth! Alex’s mouth,” said Aniston, becoming animated.
“And Kerry kept saying, ‘Trust me on this,’” said Hahn.
After two weeks of back and forth, Aniston finally agreed to try the line — and they got it on the first take. “It just flew out of my mouth,” she said.
So ultimately she thought Alex would say it? I asked.
“Yes,” she said. “But, mind you, I’m playing a person who’s a mother. I’ve never shoved anything through my vagina, you know what I mean? So it’s sort of like understanding where it comes from, you know, like tapping into all of the mothers that I know, and understanding how something that hysterical and vulnerable and raw is possible.”
Hahn leaned over to note that Aniston had, in fact, been there — in the room, at the foot of her bed — for the delivery of Hahn’s daughter.