Jennifer Aniston

Paul Fenton/ZUMApress.com

I read today that Jen Aniston is dating some crew member from her new movie. Why would any big actor do that? And what is a key grip anyway?
—Allison, Rhode Island

The first thing you need to know about Jennifer Aniston's reported new boyfriend, Brian Bouma, is that he doesn't necessarily jingle around the set toting a big ring of keys.

I would imagine that he may do that, if he so chooses—flush with new power like he is—but it's not the reason why he's called a key grip. He's called a key grip because he's the main guy—key, if you will—who supervises a bunch of hardworking people called grips.

Now, grips are the guys on the set doing all the heavy work: slinging dollies around, operating cranes, zipping around in camera cars and such.

It all sounds very gritty and hardass.

Here's what we think we know about their relationship, and Bouma, so far:

  • OK! magazine says they met at work, on the set of a film called Traveling.
  • The buzz on the two of them went into maximum overdrive Feb. 24, when Aniston was spotted leaving an Oscar party hosted by friend—er, Friend—Courteney Cox.
  • The man on Aniston's arm that night, per OK!, was Bouma, a "Vancouver-based" "ladies man" who reportedly has dated actresses before.
  • Bouma also appears to be just as hardworking as his new girl. His movie credits include The Chronicles of Narnia, X-Men: The Last Stand and Fantastic Four.

But if Jen and this crew fella really are an item, don't be tempted to paint their romance as some sort of unique, princess-and-pauper fluke.

Julia Roberts is married to Danny Moder, a cameraman she met on the set of The Mexican. Noah Wyle married a makeup artist he met on the set of a movie called The Myth of Fingerprints. And X-Files actress Gillian Anderson's first husband was a guy named Clyde Klotz, the assistant art director for the series.

Bonus Fact: Do not be fooled by the term best boy, another interesting but deceptive title laid out at the end credits of a movie. Despite the self-serving superlative, the best boy usually ranks under the key grip. In other words, if the best boy is best at anything, he's the best at doing what the key grip says.

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