In Cake, we see Aniston as we’ve never seen her before: mousey brown hair, bloated, wrinkled and makeup-free, looking distressed as she takes on the troubled character of a car-crash survivor who has completely let herself go.
“With this performance, Jen just let herself go raw in every way, emotionally and physically,” the film’s director Daniel Barnz tells PEOPLE of the role. “The first time we met, we talked about how this is a woman who actively doesn’t take care of herself, who doesn’t put on a stitch of makeup, who just completely lets herself go… Because if the actress tried anything – a dab of lipstick, a tiny bit of mascara – it wouldn’t be true to the character and the audience would cry foul.”
Although that’s a scary attempt for the normally glammed up Aniston, she jumped in without any hesitation.
“I always wondered how hard this would be for Jen, but she never wavered,” the director reveals. “In fact, I think she found it quite liberating. But not wearing makeup is just the tip of the iceberg – what’s really brave is how she exposes herself emotionally.”
Jen as had such an impact in the film that it’s generated lots of Oscar buzz since the film’s debut at the Toronto International Film Festival in Sept.
Check out a sneak peek at her performance in the video above!