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Jennifer Aniston takes risk, turns hair dark for “Horrible Bosses’

Charlie Day who fights off Jennifer Aniston’s advances “Horrible Bosses” says “She did bite my ear ... really hard.”

Charlie Day, who fights off Jennifer Aniston’s advances in “Horrible Bosses,” says, “She did bite my ear ... really hard.”

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Updated: October 25, 2011 12:29AM

NEW YORK —It was a moment in history where Jennifer Aniston took a stand.

She was going to be a brunette. And there was nothing anyone could say or do about it.

“We had this wonderful period of time I do call Hair Gate,” says the woman who invented “the Rachel” long ago. “The studio didn’t want me to wear a wig. I was told, ‘No one will know who you are.’ I said, ‘They will know my name from the credits.’ ”

On this particular morning, her hair is that trademark streaky blonde, falling perfectly a few inches past her chin. Hair Gate happened when Aniston did the unthinkable and vowed to go brown in her new film “Horrible Bosses,” where she plays a dentist who sexually harasses her assistant (Charlie Day).

“I’m the one who insisted on the dark hair,” Aniston says. “I was doing a movie right before this and one after that had me looking more like me, and I knew this character had to be different.”

The studio balked at a brown wig with a row of bangs.

“There was just no way I could be saying those words and not look somewhat different,” says Aniston.

When she lost her regular self in the mirror, “I just felt such a freedom,” she insists.

But she wasn’t that free. Aniston is happy to clear up a rumor that she does a topless scene in “Horrible Bosses.” The raciest moment is a mostly discreet scene in an open medical jacket with no shirt and bra underneath.

“I have idea where those rumors started, but it’s a good rumor,” Aniston says with a twinkle in her eye. What about the rumor that the secret topless scene will appear in the DVD? “Not true at all,” she says with a giggle. “Where do these things start?”

Her character, Dr. Julie Harris, sprays the assistant’s private parts with water, talks dirty to him and suggests they have sex on a patient who has been “put under” for dental surgery.

When he refuses, she threatens to tell his fiancee that they have been intimate in the past. In fact, years ago when he was under anesthetic and she was working on his teeth, she set up lewd and nude photos.

Her ultimatum: Sleep with her before his wedding or she will make sure he never says “I do.”

It’s Aniston like no one has ever seen her — or heard her — on screen.

The star appreciated that “Horrible Bosses” had the woman as the predator in the workplace.

“It’s usually the male character in that role,” she says. “That’s why I thought of her like a guy. Other than that I just stuck to what was in the script. I didn’t have any input as to what she said. That was all on the page. And I was tickled and excited. The raunchier, the better.”

Yes, it’s Jen, the bad girl.

“I don’t want to play it safe all the time,” Aniston insists. “I wanted to take a risk.

“I wanted to do something that allowed me to go in a different direction. I’ve never had a script come to me in the past that allowed me to go in this direction.

“The risk made it fun,” she says.

Day, the object of her obsession in the film, says his time with Aniston wiped out all memories of her sweet Rachel character from “Friends.”

“She did bite my ear … really hard,” Day insists.

Aniston seems proud of herself. “It was a realistic ear bite. That’s what I was going for,” she quips.

“I just kept apologizing to Charlie for everything I said or what had just happened during a take,” Aniston says. “In between straddling him, I would say, ‘I’m so sorry. Really. Are you doing OK?’ ”

Day says he was “intimidated” by this Aniston. “My natural reaction to what was coming out of her mouth was caught on film. My job was to act shocked at what she was saying. That was real shock.”

He had to do a rather raunchy photo shoot with her that makes up an album of “blackmail” pictures that this dentist uses as her weapon.

“Frankly, I’ve never been more embarrassed about my body in my entire life,” Day says. “Just standing next to this woman made me want to go to a gym.”

Despite the light tone of the film, Aniston says that it addresses real-life workplace struggles. She understands those only too well. Before she hit it big on “Friends,” she dabbled as a waitress, a bike messenger and a telemarketer.

“My worst day as a waitress was when I dropped an entire order on a man who was very nice about wearing a salad and some spaghetti,” she says.

Even worse were her days on a Schwinn pedaling around the Big Apple.

“I was extraordinarily klutzy,” Aniston says with a laugh. “I should have never even been allowed on a bicycle with all those cylinders and gears — or whatever you call them.”

Her next film is “Wanderlust,” coming in October, with new rumored boyfriend Justin Theroux. Of course, he’s a topic that’s strictly off limits. Aniston figures she has enough attention directed toward her private life — including the soap opera of her breakup with Brad Pitt and the love triangle created in the tabs between her, Pitt and Angelina Jolie.

Hard times have taught her a lot. “People are resilient,” she says. “Nothing will kill you. I have a very happy life.”

At age 42, she has come into her own.

“Absolutely, I’m more confident now,” she says. “I’m absolutely more comfortable in my body as I get older. In my 20s, I was so awkward and uncomfortable.”

Do confident women over 40 intimidate men?

“I think men are intimidated by confident women at any age,” she says with a smile.

Big Picture News Inc.

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