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It’s common practice in Hollywood to hire older actors to play younger characters. Hiring a twenty-something to play a high school student is pretty much standard operating procedure these days. However, hearing that Jennifer Aniston may be playing a 25-year-old in a new film is a little more surprising. Not to worry, however, it’s not stunt casting. It’s a head injury.
According to Deadline, Aniston is in talks to play the lead in the film adaptation of Liane Moriarty’s novel What Alice Forgot. The story is about a 40-year-old woman named Alice who suffers a head injury and wakes up believing she is her 25-year-old self with no memory of the last 15 years. Now the mental 25-year-old has to come to terms with what she thought her life would be like at 40, and what it actually is. When she was 25, for example, she was happily married with a good career. At 40, she’s a divorced single mom. However, having those memories of her old life fresh in her head again may give her a desire to rebuild those past relationships.
The premise sounds like it could be very funny, and utterly depressing at the same time. At 25, even the most mature person still can have a bit of a wild side that would not go over well at 40. Those scenes of older people acting like crazy young people are probably writing themselves in your head right now. The way you spend your time is different and the things you think are important change drastically. However, if many 40-year-olds thought about where they thought they were going to be at 25, most would likely see themselves in very different places. This opens up some self-examination that could be painful to watch. Now imagine you actually had to answer to your 25-year-old self for the drastic changes. It would likely not go well. It’s an interesting premise for a story. While amnesia is not a new device for this sort of story, see Harrison Ford’s Regarding Henry as an example, the twist of only losing some of your memories makes it feel different enough to be worth examining.
Even if Jennifer Aniston does get on board the amnesia train, the film is still looking for a director to fill the shoes of David Frankel. The director of The Devil Wears Prada was originally attached, but has since left the project. Shauna Cross, the writer behind Whip It and What to Expect When You’re Expecting, handled the screenplay.
What Alice Forgot looks to be an interesting story if it makes it to the screen. If Aniston does sign on, and they can find a director, we'll likely see it get there.