Just before we started this interview, I mentioned the craziest thing that happened on the set of “The Invention Of Lying,” curious to see if Garner had ever made the connection. When I visited that set, it was in Lowell, Massachusetts, and it was just me visiting for the two days I was there. They sent a driver to my hotel on both days to get me to and from the set, and if there's anything I've learned over the years, it is that you should always talk to the drivers on a film, because they know everything.
Sure enough, the guy who drove me back and forth during my time in Lowell was especially chatty, a really nice guy who had grown up in the area. One of the things we discussed was that another movie company had optioned the rights to the driver's life and they were planning to make a film about him. He told me some of the details of his life and his story, and he told me a few stories about his brother, and I'll say this much… he was great at telling those stories. Even so, I figured I'd never hear anything else about the guy or his story.
Then a few years later, David O. Russell released “The Fighter,” and I pretty much got my mind blown. The driver on “The Invention Of Lying” was Micky Ward, and they really did end up making the movie about his life story. When I asked Garner if she remembered him, she had that same “oh my god” moment that I'd had in the theater. She said she never made the connection, but she remembered him from when he was a driver.
I've run into Garner many times over the years, and she always strikes me as someone who is essentially unchanged by their time working in the film industry. She never seems like she considers herself a star, and she seems to genuinely consider whatever question you ask her instead of just offering up the same sound bite over and over. I'm not sure Hollywood really knows what to do with her. She's given plenty of good performances, but she's never really had that one role where she cuts loose and shows us everything she's capable of. Maybe that's not important to her. She seems perfectly happy giving strong performances in supporting roles, and she doesn't seem driven to work non-stop just to keep working.
She also seems like she's still very connected to her roots, as you'll see when we talk about her upbringing in our interview about the new film “Draft Day,” where she co-stars with Kevin Costner. We talked a bit about working with Ellen Burstyn, who plays Costner's mother in the film, and her joy at getting to work with Burstyn was very clear from the conversation.
Overall, it's always nice to check in with Garner, and especially when you're able to discuss something where she's done nice work.
“Draft Day” opens in theaters everywhere on Friday.