Writing Info

Even Jennifer Garner Gets Punched on the Job!

I’m not even kidding with the title of this post.  I saw Jennifer Garner give a talk today.  During her speech she told a funny story about how sometimes writers create such dynamic characters, people start treating actors like they’re the characters in real life.  The story Jennifer told had to do with her time on Alias.  Quentin Tarantino asked JJ Abrams if he could guest star on the show, but only if he could do a fight scene with Jennifer’s character, Sydney Bristow.

Jennifer sometimes had stunt doubles do the fight scenes on the show, but in this case, Quentin wanted it to be real and have them both fight each other without doubles.  Jennifer said she prided herself that after a few years on the show, she had gotten very good at “fake fighting”.  She had even got up the nerve to tap her opponent lightly with her hand or weapon to make the fight look more authentic on screen.  She was expecting the same kind of fake fighting with Quentin.

So she was floored when he hit her with a full-on punch in the stomach.  Now, you all know Jennifer Garner from the movies.  She’s a sweet, genuine character, and in real life she literally seems the same way.  I believe her when she said that Quentin’s punch was the first time in her entire life she’d ever been punched.  (I remember my own first punch given to me by Jessica Spicer’s brother in the living room of their house.  The wind was completely knocked out of me, and I was astounded.)  So of course Jennifer was surprised, had to catch her breath, etc.  But she got back into it, not wanting to seem weak.

And Quentin punched her in the stomach again!   

The interesting thing is that he had started thinking of Jennifer as being the same hardcore person as her character on Alias, Sydney.  He didn’t see her as a shy, innocent actress from West VA anymore.  He sincerely saw Jennifer Garner as a butt-kicking spy.

THAT is the power of what we can do with the written word.  (And of course a bit of good acting!)  :)  But it’s our words as writers that make characters come alive so fully that it enduces this kind of reaction in people.  So write on, you writers!  Keep creating characters that capture the imagination and even make famous directors forget what’s real and what we’ve made up in our stories!


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