With her stripped-down dramatic performance in 'Cake', everyone sat up to take notice of Jennifer Aniston's acting skills. Critics have called it an "anti-vanity vehicle", a role without make-up, hairstyling and flattering lighting.

Jennifer Aniston is best known for playing Rachel in 'Friends'
Jennifer Aniston is best known for playing Rachel in 'Friends'

It's not as if this is Aniston's first serious awards-contending role. In 2002 she caused pretty much the same buzz with her turn in the similarly un-glamorous drama 'The Good Girl'.

More: Read The Review For 'Cake' 

In 'Cake', Aniston plays a woman living with chronic physical pain as well as crippling emotional issues. Aniston didn't start filming without considerable preparation. "I had about six weeks to really do my homework," she said. "There was the physical pain, the addiction and the emotional pain. She basically has to decide whether she wants to live or die."

Watch The Trailer For 'Cake' Here:

Aniston notes that for this woman every movement is agonising. "That was hard on my body for five weeks of shooting," she said. "I spent weekends seeing a chiropractor and getting massages and trying to maintain my sanity. Honestly, once you start to psychosomatically create pain, it really does manifest itself into your own body."

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For an actor, this isn't that different from playing comedy. But Aniston is known globally as Rachel from 'Friends', one of the biggest sitcoms of all time. And the audience still finds it hard to accept her in a serious role.

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"I was in people's living rooms every week for 10 years, so I understand that's a hard shift to make," she said, noting that viewers struggle not to see Rachel in whatever role she plays. "So I've had to disappear a little deeper into someone else in order to see that. But that's going farther and farther, hopefully, into the distance."