Back In Ac­tion

Ac­tress Jen­nifer Gar­ner is go­ing back to her bad-gal roots for an epic new movie role. Here, she shares why she is ex­cited to get back into the ac­tion!

Women's Weekly (Malaysia) - - CONTENTS -

Jen­nifer Gar­ner is throw­ing punches again in her new drama thriller

It has been a while since we last saw Jen­nifer Gar­ner strut her stuff as a mar­tial arts mas­ter and gov­ern­ment agent in Alias, the TV series that launched her ca­reer. For her lat­est movie, Pep­per­mint, she plays a mother bent on aveng­ing the deaths of her fam­ily at the hands of a Mex­i­can drug car­tel.

To play the role, Jen­nifer em­barked on a train­ing reg­i­men to re­gain her bad-ass mojo and get into killer shape.

“I did box­ing, weights and crazy, in­verted push-ups,” she says. “It felt great to be back work­ing with a stunt team again. My stunt dou­ble (Shauna Dug­gins) and I have worked to­gether since the third or fourth episode of Alias. She’s like my sis­ter. For us to train to­gether again was like old home week.”

In the ac­tion-packed dra­matic thriller, Jen­nifer plays Ri­ley North, a griev­ing widow who de­cides to take jus­tice in her own hands when a court de­cides to free the three sus­pects she has iden­ti­fied for “in­suf­fi­cient ev­i­dence”. Ri­ley then spends the next five years un­der­go­ing in­ten­sive train­ing be­fore em­bark­ing on a per­sonal cru­sade to kill the car­tel mem­bers re­spon­si­ble for the death of her hus­band and daugh­ter.

Pep­per­mint is di­rected by Pierre Morel, the French helmer be­hind Taken (2008), the ac­tion film that re­launched Liam Nee­son’s ca­reer. In­dus­try ob­servers be­lieve that re­turn­ing to the ac­tion – she hasn’t played such a phys­i­cal role since 2003’s Dare­devil – could well give a sim­i­lar boost to Jen­nifer’s ca­reer.

In ad­di­tion to rig­or­ous three-hours-a-day box­ing and mar­tial arts train­ing, Jen­nifer also un­der­went Cryother­apy ses­sions and fol­lowed the “Body By Si­mone” ex­er­cise pro­gramme.

Apart from her re­cent films Love, Si­mon and The Tribes Of Pa­los Verdes, Jen­nifer has spent the past sev­eral months film­ing the com­edy TV series Camp­ing, de­vel­oped by Lena Dun­ham and based on the orig­i­nal Bri­tish series of the same name.

The 46-year-old now lives in Los An­ge­les with her three chil­dren, Vi­o­let, 12, Seraphina, nine years old, and Sam, six years old, from her former mar­riage to Ben Af­fleck.

What in­ter­ested you in re­turn­ing to the ac­tion scene?

I thought it was a great script and I also wanted to work with Pierre Morel who did such an in­cred­i­ble job di­rect­ing Taken. He was a great choice be­cause he truly un­der­stands how it is nec­es­sary for the dra­matic mo­ments to be equal to the ac­tion.

Your char­ac­ter has suf­fered a ter­ri­ble loss. As a mother, ob­vi­ously that res­onates with you...

That is why I love play­ing mums. There is no re­la­tion­ship that raises the stakes more quickly than that in­volv­ing your fam­ily. My char­ac­ter has al­ready suf­fered a ter­ri­ble loss and now what she wants is jus­tice which the sys­tem has not been will­ing to give her. There is no big­ger rea­son than that for her to go out, get into re­ally good shape and kill the peo­ple re­spon­si­ble.

Ob­vi­ously, the sit­u­a­tion in Pep­per­mint is very ex­treme. Do you have fiercely pro­tec­tive in­stincts with your kids?

As a mother, you sum­mon all your strength to fight for your chil­dren and you never give up no mat­ter what. My mother taught me so much about life and hav­ing a pos­i­tive out­look that I want to do the same for my kids. Once I had my chil­dren, I dis­cov­ered that you kind of turn into a mother bear – some­one who is very pro­tec­tive and com­pletely de­voted to tak­ing care of them.


That’s why I love play­ing mums. There is no re­la­tion­ship that the stakes more quickly than that in­volv­ing your fam­ily

For most of the past sev­eral years, you have played mother roles. Is that your pref­er­ence?

I feel like I am fi­nally play­ing char­ac­ters that are closer to the truth of who I am. In my 20s, I of­ten felt out of sync with my char­ac­ters. They felt much younger than I was feel­ing in­side and I did not feel that emo­tional con­nec­tion. Now I am at a point where I am play­ing women whom I feel much more in touch with in terms of my own think­ing and ex­pe­ri­ence.

You have said you thrive on play­ing warm-hearted moth­ers and send­ing out a pos­i­tive mes­sage in films like Love, Si­mon, and Mir­a­cles From Heaven...

I be­lieve it is im­por­tant to raise peo­ple’s hopes and bring some pos­i­tiv­ity to the way we think about our world. There are a lot of dif­fi­cult and ter­ri­ble things go­ing on in the world and it is good to be able to tell sto­ries about how we can over­come chal­lenges and even tragedies.

The hu­man spirit is very strong, but some­times we all need help in see­ing what is good and beau­ti­ful in life. I en­joy be­ing part of the sto­ries that take us in that di­rec­tion and are able to in­spire peo­ple in some way.

Pep­per­mint marks a re­turn to your Alias ac­tion star days. What do you think about the roles in your ca­reer?

It was all un­planned. When I was a teenager, I was much more into singing and danc­ing. With Alias, my ca­reer went in an­other di­rec­tion. What I love about act­ing is be­ing able to con­stantly put your­self into the minds of dif­fer­ent kinds of char­ac­ters and ex­plore what it is like to face dif­fer­ent kinds of cir­cum­stances. I played a se­ri­ous char­ac­ter in Dal­las Buy­ers’ Club, for ex­am­ple.

More women are stepping into ac­tion roles. Do you see trail­blazer, hav­ing played Syd­ney in Alias?

I love to see more and more women in those kinds of roles! I think it is good that young women have role mod­els whom they can look up to in films and feel in­spired by dy­namic and pow­er­ful women. I was grate­ful for Alias and what J.J. Abrams did with that series. He gave me a role where I was play­ing a re­silient wo­man whom young women re­sponded pos­i­tively to.

Your char­ac­ters of­ten have an un­der­ly­ing strength and sense of de­ter­mi­na­tion. Does this re­flect your real self?

I feel strong. I have al­ways had a good sense of who I was and a lot of drive and de­ter­mi­na­tion. I have been that way since I was a lit­tle girl. Any­time there was some­thing I was not good at, I would keep work­ing hard un­til I had mas­tered it.

Do you help your kids have that kind of de­ter­mi­na­tion?

They have a lot of en­thu­si­asm and cu­rios­ity about the world and I want them to grow up with some of the in­no­cence and appreciation of all the beau­ti­ful things about life that I felt when I was a child. I love my life as a mother and I also take the re­spon­si­bil­ity very se­ri­ously.


The world seemed to stop when Jen­nifer ar­rived on the 2018 Os­cars red car­pet in this rich blue Ate­lier Ver­sace num­ber.

Jen­nifer re­turns to her ac­tion hero roots with her new movie Pep­per­mint. She has also kicked butt in Alias, Elek­tra, The King­dom and Dare­devil.

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