Jeanne Tripplehorn says she didn’t hesitate when Jennifer Aniston phoned and asked her to be part of her “Five” movie that depicts five different stories of women dealing with breast cancer. “There are two breast cancer survivors on my mother’s side of the family, so this was a no-brainer. I was in. It’s different from what Lifetime normally does, and the network is really excited about it — a new way of telling stories, with five short films together.”
Premiering Monday (10/10) on Lifetime, the film also boasts five directors — Aniston, Alicia Keys, Demi Moore, Patty Jenkins and Penelope Spheeris. Tripplehorn’s oncologist character provides the through line, and she got to get a taste of all the women’s directing styles.
Demi Moore was “very detail-oriented, very specific about what she wanted. Her concentration was just so amazing,” Tripplehorn says. With Aniston, “The whole mood on the set was this easy kind of feeling. Her spirit infused the whole set.
“Alicia Keys — I am in awe of Alicia. This is her first time directing,” she notes of the pop superstar. “She had her son on the set — a baby under a year old — and she was literally directing with a baby on her hip. She did it with so much grace. She floated through her film.”
Keys’ segment has Rosario Dawson’s character dealing with not only cancer but her well-meaning sister (Tracee Ellis Ross) and their aggravating mom (Jenifer Lewis). It also features Jeffrey Tambor. There’s humor in it, for sure, but the freshest and biggest laughs come in the section Aniston directed, with Patricia Clarkson as a patient who gives herself a funeral, tells people in her life what she really thinks of them and blows through her savings. Tripplehorn’s main story has the doctor becoming a patient.
“I think for every director, the main goal was, ‘Let’s tell a great story.’ We were all — I don’t want to say brought our best game, but we were all aware that what we were doing was bigger than any of us, and we were humbled by that,” adds the actress. She stresses that the filmmakers are hoping “Five” not only inspires, but serves as a tool in fundraising and pushing research entities to come together to find a breast cancer cure.
The “Five” ensemble also includes Lyndsy Fonseca, Ginnifer Goodwin, Kathy Najimy, Bob Newhart, Annie Potts, Xander Berkeley, Alan Ruck and Tony Shalhoub. It came along at a perfect time for Tripplehorn — in her first year without “Big Love” production since 2006. “Normally we’d be half-way through shooting the next season at this time of year,” she says.
As for what she would like to do next, the actress, who rose to fame in features including “Basic Instinct” and “The Firm,” has a one-word answer. “Comedy.” Tripplehorn would love to be on a sitcom. “I want to laugh, just like all of America, for all sorts of reasons.”