Marley & Me is not just about a naughty dog, but about managing relationships and a career, says former Friends star Jennifer Aniston, who plays a reporter who gives up her job for her family.
Marley & Me is about marriage and balancing family and career. It's about all the things that affect people in relationships. If you think it's just about a mischievous dog, it is ... but the film is so much more than that," Aniston told IANS in an e-mail interview from Beverly Hills, Los Angeles.
"It's a simple and beautiful story that people are actually going to associate with. It is true to life, authentic and so good," she added.
Directed by David Frankel, the film is based on journalist John Grogan's bestseller Marley & Me: Life and Love with the World's Worst Dog.
"It's amazing how you can chronicle a life spent together with an animal. I loved the fact that it's a true story about a family's portrait of a marriage with a dog that supports them on life's journey," said Aniston.
Asked if she had read the book before filming, the 39-year-old said: "I had received the book for Christmas the previous year, but I never picked it up for some reason. Then I got the script and I read it (the book) and found it beautiful, absolutely heartbreaking and a wonderful examination of a marriage and a fascinating life."
Releasing in India on Friday, Marley & Me hit the screens in the US on December 25 and became the largest Christmas opener by raking in $14.75 million on the first day.
In the film, Aniston has teamed up with Owen Wilson for the first time.
"But there was an instant chemistry between Owen and me as if we had known each other for a long time. He's just so down to earth, sweet and kind. There was an ease between us and no pretensions.
"He is so good at his job, so professional and such a generous actor. We had a lot of fun," she said.
The movie features 22 puppies and dogs to cover 14 years in the life of Marley, the family dog. But Aniston admits that shooting a film that centres mostly on the activities of a dog was an uphill task.
"It was tough at times. In most takes, while you are acting you hear a trainer's voice saying 'Move. Sit'. We are literally doing our dialogue while a noise is going on at the same time and you just have to tune it out."
The hardest part though, she said, was bidding goodbye to the pets at the end of the shoot.
"I was surprisingly quite emotional. I really bonded with the dogs. We had babies, puppies, children, adult dogs, old dogs and we all had a ball while shooting," said Aniston, who used to carry her real-life pet Norman, a corgi-terrier crossbreed, on the sets of the movie.
"There's no dog like Norman. I don't even know how to describe him. He is a wise old man who could with a look ... with one stare ...crush me. He's a laser light beaming into my soul," she said.
Aniston will next be seen in He's Just Not That into You and Traveling.
(Robin Bansal can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org )