Cake. Claire Simmons (Jennifer Aniston) is in pain. Her physical pain is evident in the scars that line her body and the way she carries herself, wincing with each tentative step. She’s no good at hiding her emotional pain either. Blunt to the point of searing insult, Claire’s anger seethes out of her with nearly every interaction. She has driven away her husband, her friends— even her chronic-pain support group has kicked her out.
The only one left in Claire’s otherwise solitary existence is her housekeeper- cum-caretaker, Silvana (Academy Award nominee Adriana Barraza),who barel tolerates her boss’ need for liquor and prescription pills. But the suicide of Nina (Academy Award nominee Anna Kendrick), one of Claire’s fellow chronic-pain group members, prompts another fixation. In pursuing questions about the death of a woman she barely knew, Claire explores the boundaries between life and death, abandonment and heartbreak, danger and salvation. As she inserts herself into the lives of Nina’s husband (Sam Worthington) and the son Nina left behind, Claire just might find salvation.
CAKE was shot entirely in Los Angeles, allowing the filmmakers to use a top-notch local crew and actors who might otherwise be unable to travel for small roles. “There are so many talented people who live in L.A. and are thrilled to work here,” says director Daniel Barnz, whose directorial debut, PHOEBE IN WONDERLAND, premiered in competition at the 2008 Sundance Film Festival. “It’s a very L.A. story. One of the things that attracted me to it is the way it represents the city in a way that only people who live here experience it. It’s not the Beverly Hills-Hollywood- Santa Monica experience. It’s freeways, traffic and cars.”
Barnz discovered Patrick Tobin’s script while judging the Cinestory screenplay competition in the summer of 2013, a competition which Barnz himself previously won. The script ultimately landed on the 2013 Blacklist, an annual list of the year’s best unproduced screenplays. “We [producer Ben Barnz and I] read this script only 13 months ago. Given that our first film, PHOEBE IN WONDERLAND, took 13 years to come to the screen, I’m very happy.”