Maciel / GICE / Max Lopes / BACKGRID
We know Jennifer Aniston. We love Jennifer Aniston. But lately it seems like we haven't seen much of Jennifer Aniston.
There was a time when the A-lister was ubiquitous. During the height of the Friends frenzy, naturally, but also in the years following the series when she was fronting practically every romantic comedy to hit theaters and covering nearly every magazine to hit newsstands. For the better part of the last decade it wasn't unusual to see her starring in two or three blockbusters a year—complete with the full promotional rounds.
But now, as 2017 comes to a close, it's clear that Aniston is re-calibrating not only her career but her entire life in Hollywood. It begs the question: Is she giving up her movie star status?
To start, the actress didn't appear in a single movie the entire year. The last project she starred in was 2016's Office Christmas Party, an ensemble comedy that she did alongside longtime friend Jason Bateman. She played a frigidly cold head honcho of a company full of young partiers, a persona that, thanks to gigs like Horrible Bosses, had slowly become her bread and butter. While promoting the flick she told E! News that while her goal in her off-camera life is to be kind to everybody, she certainly enjoys tapping into her inner b-i-t-c-h, which would certainly explain why she jumped at the chance to join the cast of Office Christmas Party.
The actress went through all of the press tour motions: Attending premieres and photocalls, covering the Marie Claire and Entertainment Weekly and appearing on everything from CNN to Jimmy Kimmel Live. She was everywhere, which makes her step back the following year seem in stark contrast.
While Aniston's 2017 wasn't a quiet one by the standards of an average American, it does seem to signal a shift in her perspective. With no roles requiring her to go through the promotional song and dance, she focused instead on her still-new marriage to Justin Theroux. The two celebrated birthdays and anniversaries, traveled to Cabo San Lucas and Paris and were seemingly joined at the hip for some of his major career milestones.
The actor celebrated the final season of his popular HBO show The Leftovers and starred in The LEGO Ninjago Movie. Jen was there for the series' big premiere night and even joined late night host Jimmy Kimmel to help prank her husband while he appeared on the show to promote LEGO.
Proving support was seemingly the theme of the year, as Aniston also stood by the side of her pal Jason Bateman for his big Hollywood Walk of Fame story—she even spoke at the event and brought out old photos to embarrass him.
The actress did complete some professional duties of her own of course—presenting at the 2017 Oscars and covering the October issue of Harper's Bazaar to promote her fragrance line included—but it was significantly more subdued than in years past. And a look at what's on tap for Aniston professionally hints that she may be attempting to move past her years of fronting blockbusters and taking over the big screen. But that's not to say that she's going to scale back from Hollywood, of course.
Much has been made of the news that Aniston will be teaming up with her onetime Friends sister Reese Witherspoonon an as-yet-untitled series for Apple, with Aniston publicly declaring that all the great work is on television these days. Witherspoon has already taken up the TV work, and with the critical and financial success of Big Little Lies it's easy to see why Aniston would want to ditch her movie work and go back to her origins.
Aniston also has plenty of production work on her upcoming schedule under the company that she co-owns with actress Kathryn Hahn. She'll serve as the EP on her Apple show in addition to helping to bringing a half-dozen films to life (one of which will reportedly star Bateman).
During her Harper's Bazaar cover interview (conducted by Theroux's best friend Amy Sedaris) she extolled the virtues of branching out away from her typical starring movie roles, saying "it is so fun to sit in bed and binge-watch [television shows]." She also hinted at expanding her horizons, mentioning that if she wasn't acting she could easily spend all her time doing home renovations and that she has dreams of one day opening up a wellness center.
As for the motivations behind this year's withdrawal, it's anyone's guess. During an Office Christmas Party interview she told E! News that constantly being the source of headlines is a bizarre experience, adding that "We don't talk headlines anymore, we're going to phase it out."
There's no way she'll ever drop off the A-list, but she has certainly lived out her goal of being less of a headline in 2017.