Jennifer Garner in Draft Day

Jennifer Garner in Draft Day

*Jennifer Garner’s kick-ass character in ‘Alias’ didn’t take any crap from menacing killers.  And in her ballsy role as Ali in “Draft Day,” she is ripe for the challenge of standing her ground in the testosterone driven NFL arena.

Parallel worlds do exist, however, in that her partner in “Draft Day” is heavy hitter Kevin Costner and in real life she’s married to heavyweight actor/director/producer Ben Affleck.

In a press conference at the Four Seasons Hotel in Los Angeles recently, The Film Strip expressed its approval of the film and Garner told everyone in the room to take note:

Jennifer, I’m not a sports enthusiast but I totally loved this movie. How would you explain its appeal?

Ooh, can you [all] write that down! She’s not a sports enthusiast but she totally loves the movie.

I think that’s so important because I think so often  women see somebody throwing and catching a ball.  [But] we all are aiming for the kiss, not all of us, but certainly when I watch a movie, I just want there to be a good kiss at the end. I want to kind of have my heart swell and feel happy. In this movie, even though football is the backdrop, it’s by no means makes it inaccessible to people who’ve never watched a football game in their lives. If you have watched, then you’re going to be thrilled. If you’re up on the current events of what’s happening in the NFL, you’re going to recognize a lot of stuff. There’s going to be names dropped and references made that you’re going to just be happy to have reflected back at you. But if you haven’t and you’re not a football person, the relationship and the story are at the center of the movie and just the engine that is Draft Day. It’s a ride that you’re going to take no matter if you know what draft  day means at the beginning of the film or not.

How was it playing a role you don’t often see onscreen?

I love my character. I do think she is a woman in a man’s world and she does it seamlessly. I had the privilege of shadowing Megan Rogers at the Cleveland Browns who is the capologist there. And I just basically stole everything from her. From what she carried in her arms to the way she dressed, how she composed herself. Megan is someone who just holds it inside and if necessary, she brings down the hammer. That’s what I loved about Ali. What makes women so great in these high up positions in sports teams and the NFL is that they can keep their emotions in check and their brains can do a lot of things at once. If you’re going be a capologist, it’s mostly business affairs. Plus, you’re thinking of the art of football, what’s your team’s future and what has been important in the past. You have to have so much going on at once and let’s face it, we’re just good at that. [Laughs]

Director Ivan Reitman has been quoted as saying, ‘Jennifer Garner is one of my favorite people in the world and I heard from other directors what a joy she is to work with.’ But, Jennifer,  do you add your ‘two cents’ when you think it’s necessary?

Oh, for sure. Oh yeah! Definitely. I’ve been doing this a long time and it took me a long time to feel empowered in that way. At this point, I’m a grownup and I have no problem going, ‘Hold up, girls don’t talk like this,’ or ‘Let’s figure this out, you’re really putting her in a weak position.’ And I’ve found that people are really collaborative and want you to be as invested as possible in your characters and certainly I found that to be true with Ivan and Kevin.”

Kevin Costner, Chadwick Boseman, Terry Crews, Arian Foster, Josh Pence and Tom Welling are in upcoming features. “Draft Day” opens April 11.

Marie Moore is a syndicated entertainment reporter who reports on film and TV from her New York City base. Contact her at [email protected]