When we think of Jennifer Garner, only one word comes to mind: normal. And, in the hectic world of Hollywood, we can’t think of a higher compliment. Despite the fact that she and her hubby have both recently starred in Oscar-winning films and have boatloads of money and fame between them, she still manages to take her children to and from school every day, sans nanny.
So, it’s no surprise that Garner is an endless source of wisdom on how to be an awesomely put-together woman. The actress is in the midst of a press tour for her new flick Draft Day (in theaters April 11) and stopped by the Four Seasons in L.A. to give some of us lucky reporters some expert advice. In the movie, Garner plays a salary cap executive for the Cleveland Browns, working under the general manager played by Kevin Costner. A financially minded sports nut may seem like a bit of a departure for Jen, but she was way more comfortable taking on the world of professional athletics than you might think.
“People ask, ‘What’s it like playing a woman in a man’s world?'” She said at the Draft Day press conference. “But, on any movie set there is one of you for every 10 men around you. Usually it’s the director, the key grip, the camera operator, the producers…you’re in a locker room, basically. So, I’m very comfortable in a room full of men.”
A room full of men is the perfect way to describe most of the scenes in Draft Day. As a top exec on draft day (perhaps the most important day of the NFL’s year), Garner’s character Ali is responsible for monitoring all the offers that the team is making and helping the managers choose the incoming players. And, on top of all that, she provides a calming presence in the midst of total madness and testosterone overload.
“I love my character. I wish that I was as smart as Ali even for a day,” said Garner. “I had the privilege of shadowing Megan Rogers, who is the Capologist there, and I pretty much stole everything from her. I think what makes women so great in these high-up positions on sports teams is that they can keep their emotions in check. You have to have so much going on in your brain all at once and let’s face it — we’re just good at that.”
Garner’s proved that multitasking is one of her strong suits on and off screen, but that’s not news to anyone. What we didn’t know, however, is just how much sports — and football in particular — mean to her. It turns out she’s as much of a sports geek as her husband. “I grew up in West Virginia, which is very much like how you picture Friday Night Lights,” she said. “I was at every single football game because I was in the marching band. Senior year I left the band — which was a scandal at the time — and was the water girl for the team. I didn’t miss a game and I loved it.”
Draft Day may be all about the sports, but it also showed off a bit of Garner’s glamorous side — something she often keeps under wraps while she’s wearing her mom hat. Her character is no stranger to power suits and higher-than-high heels, and it took quite a bit of getting used to for the often-casual actress. “We had my character wear heels that she wouldn’t normally wear to work and her skirt’s a little bit shorter because Draft Day is a special occasion,” said Garner.
“But, I can tell you that as soon as I finished the movie, I took off those high heels and I put them on the top of the monitor and left them there. I never need to see them again. It’s one thing to wear heels for a day of work, but when you’re shooting a movie all day long [in them] you feel like no one knows the pain of your life.” And, once again, we find ourselves completely agreeing with everything the affable actress says. Preach, Jen, preach.