Guess She’s Learning Who Her Real Friends Are

TUESDAY, AUG. 5, 1997

After making it quick and big on the hit series “Friends,” Jennifer Aniston says she was shocked by the sudden backlash.

“It had great success, and we were thrilled,” she told USA Weekend. “Then it got bigger and bigger, and then out of nowhere one day you’re reading that people are really annoyed.”

Aniston said she dwelled on the criticism until Steven Spielberg told her: “This happens to everybody. Don’t think you’re so special.”

Now she’s trying to transfer her success to the big screen, starring in “Picture Perfect.”

“I don’t know what it is, why some people will make it in movies and some won’t,” she said. “When does your time run out? I’m hoping you get to a place when you are comfortable enough in your body of work that you can look behind you and go, ‘This is what I want to do. This feels close to me.”’

Loose talk

Iconoclastic actor Sean Penn, on the value of an Oscar: “The Academy Awards is an opportunity to be an extra in a TV show, and maybe 20 seconds more than that if you win.”

And be sure to wish her a happy burt-day

Loni Anderson turns 51 today.

Don’t expect Penn to ink that kind of deal

Sean Penn, who’s spent most of the ‘90s writing and directing independent films (“The Indian Runner,” “The Crossing Guard”) is starring in three upcoming movies - “She’s So Lovely,” “The Game” and “U-Turn.” Not that he’s going Hollywood again; “You can’t get paid $20 million for the kind of movies I want to do,” he says.

Hey, he can handle those meatier parts

Sylvester Stallone hopes his performance as an inept sheriff in “Cop Land” - for which he gained 40 pounds - will open new doors outside the action-movie realm. “When I saw Al Pacino do ‘Scent of a Woman’ - I would have killed for a role like that,” he tells Time magazine. “People don’t think of me in those terms. Maybe after this, they will.”

It had all the makings of a lynch mob

John Lynch, who’s making a career of playing Irish Republican Army soldiers, is having it come back to haunt him in real life. When he walked into a bar in a Protestant section of Belfast, Lynch tells Entertainment Weekly, “They told us to get out or they’d put us out.”

Like birds and birds, or bees and bees

Bill Brochtrup, the gay actor who played gay characters in “NYPD Blue” and “Public Morals” and will portray another in the new crime drama “Total Security,” doesn’t mind being typecast. “Funny, smart, mean - these are characteristics,” Brochtrup said. “Fat, gay, African American - these are facts of life.”

If not, maybe Bill Brochtrup’s available

In the wake of “Air Force One,” low-budget horror flick king Roger Corman is planning “Vatican Air Two,” an action-adventure comedy featuring the pope as a martial artist battling bad guys on his private jet. Corman says he’s looking for a top comedy star to play the lead.

, DataTimes ILLUSTRATION: 2 Photos

The following fields overflowed: CREDIT = Compiled by staff writer Rick Bonino

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