Jennifer Aniston is getting ready to show off her vocal chops.
I can exclusively reveal that the actress, 40, will do her own singing in The Goree Girls, her upcoming real-life drama about a group of female prisoners who form a popular radio country-and-western band in the 1940s.
“She can sing,” the movie’s director, Michael Sucsy, tells me. “And she’s going to learn how to play the Dobro [guitar].”
Aniston’s fellow inmates haven’t been cast yet. Sucsy isn’t looking to fill the roles with real-life musicians…
“These women learned to harmonize and they learned to play instruments,” Sucsy explained. “They weren’t these amazing, accomplished singers who banded together. That’s what’s interesting about it.
“It’s not just like, ‘Hey, you can play the guitar, I can play the piano, I can play the harmonica. Let’s put a band together.’ It’s like, ‘We have to get out of jail, and if we have to put a band together to do that, then that’s what we’re going to do.’ ”
Sucsy already has had some major success in working with actresses not known for their musical aptitude.
In Grey Gardens, the HBO production he directed and is up for a whopping 17 Emmys next month, Jessica Lange made her singing debut, performing songs like “Two for Tea” from a bed. In the real-life story, Lange plays Big Edie Beale alongside Drew Barrymore as her daughter, Little Edie, relatives of Jackie O who lived as recluses in a filthy falling-down East Hampton mansion.
According to Sucsy, at their first meeting, “Jessica said, ‘I don’t sing, but I want to try. If it doesn’t work then dub me, but I want to give it a shot.’ We did have someone else record the tracks just as a backup [just] so she knew she had a net.”
Barrymore went so far into her role that she went into seclusion and lived like Little Edie for months leading up to the start of filming.
Sucsy first saw the transformation when they rehearsed at the real Grey Gardens site. “Drew comes down the stairs with a towel wrapped around her head and a piece of jewelry on it,” he said. “She’s got the walk down and it’s the first time I’ve heard the accent…[I called] her Edie for the next six months.”
Lange and Barrymore are both up for the Emmy for Lead Actress in a Miniseries or a Movie.
But don’t bother asking Sucsy who he’s rooting for. He’s ineligible to vote because he didn’t become a member of the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences until last week.
“I’m off the hook there,” he laughed. “I think it was divine intervention.”