This movie is my life, so I really do understand it. – Jennifer Garner
Jennifer Garner (Dallas Buyers Club, Odd Life of Timothy Green) plays Alexander’s mom Kelly in the upcoming Disney film Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day. Kelly is a mom to four children, a loving wife to stay-at-home dad Ben (Steve Carell) and has a high pressure job at a publishing firm. She struggles with balancing family time and her career especially with her demanding boss breathing down her neck to clock in endless hours at the office. At home, it seems everyone in Kelly’s family is going through some exciting milestones accept for Alexander. Alexander is having a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day and everyone else is to busy to notice.
In real life, Jennifer Garner has three children with actor Ben Affleck. I’ve met Jennifer twice and she is an extremely down to earth and upbeat person. I was asked to participate in a movie set visit that took place at Vromon’s Bookstore in Pasadena. First, we watched a scene between Kelly and Dick Van Dyke, who plays himself in the movie. In the scene, Kelly is super stressed out, has a crazy hairdo and needs to save her job! How was it working with Dick Van Dyke? Garner exclaimed, “He’s the big deal for me!” After checking out the scene, we had the opportunity to talk with Jennifer who expressed her love for the book the movie is based on. We also asked what she does to escape a horribly wrong day! As a mom, it was refreshing to hear that even celebrities have very bad days!
Here are some highlights from our discussion:
Jennifer Garner is fan of the book. “I have known this book my whole life. When I was little, I wanted to be a children’s book librarian and a children’s book author. I really truly did.” She goes on to say, “You can ask my school librarian from Oakwood Elementary. And yes, I could pretty much recite the book.” Jennifer wanted to be a part of the movie because, “Bringing a kid’s book to life, to me, there is nothing better and to do it with Steve Carell! And for Disney! It’s been kinda dreamy.”
A terrible, horrible, very bad hair day in the film. Jennifer stars in a scene with Dick Van Dyke where she has helmet hair. She goes on to explain the hairdo, “We’re clearly having a bad day. And I go to work and something has happened with the book that I am in charge of launching. And instead of saying, ‘Get ready to jump on the potty.’ The book says, ‘Get ready to dump on the potty!'” She laughs and continues explaining the scene, “I have to stop Dick Van Dyke from saying it out loud. So, I borrow someone’s bike and I ride so hard that when I get to the bookstore, I have helmet hair.” She also explains that the red head band she’s wearing is “just to help her helmet hair stay perfect.”
Step outside when you have a terrible, horrible bad day! “You know when you wake up and everybody just kind of is going nuts at the same time? Luckily, I live in LA, so I can just go outside. You have to go outside. You have to change the energy and get out of the house. Do something even it’s raining. It doesn’t matter. Just, toss ‘em out and close the door and lock it.
Working with Steve Carell is a dream come true. “I really miss him. I felt like he was a real partner, like a real partner in crime kinda. I get the feeling that he’s a great parent from the kind of ideas that he improvises.” Jennifer adds, “I’ve never played something that felt more like my life than this film. But working with Steve has been a dream come true. You, want people that you’ve looked up to forever to be as great as you imagine they’re gonna be and he surpasses that in every way.”
It’s okay to have a bad day. “I think all kids need to know it’s okay to have a bad day. It doesn’t define you. It doesn’t mean your life is horrible; that grownups have them, too; and that you’re still loved even if you are rotten in the middle of your horrible, awful, very [LAUGHS] bad day. “
Animals gone wild! Sorta… Jennifer shared a few funny moments during the film. “First, we had all of these animals on set for several nights, including a real alligator, several kangaroos, a huge owl and emus. So, we had a petting zoo and an iguana that was suspended on a tree branch and after several nights sitting there just suddenly it had a death wish and decided he didn’t wanna be there anymore and kept trying to fall off. So somebody had to be on iguana watch and catch him every time he started to fall, ’cause he couldn’t stay.” She then went on to tell us about Steve Carell catching on fire, “We did catch Steve Carell on fire, which he was very calm about, but I felt like ‘agghhh!’, you can’t be on fire!'” She admits, “He’s one of my favorite actors!”
The cast was a big family. Jennifer tells us, “The amazing thing is how much we have loved working with these kids. And we have the twin babies, of course, and we all love them, but then there are these three older kids at 12, 15, and 17.” She goes on to share a story about a day that they shared together, “There was one day that really epitomizes this group for me. There was a room in the house where we could sit and it was cool. We had 35 minutes together and the five of us- Steve and the three kids and I- spend the time together in this room. No one looked at their phone; no one interrupted; no one got up and went to their trailer. We just hung out and chatted.”
Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day is in theaters on October 10. Rated PG.