Written by By Claire Jones, CNN
Actress and activist Jennifer Garner starred in two films about parents who somehow saw their grown children in ways that were alien to them. ‘My Best Friend’s Wedding’ and ‘Catch Me If You Can’ are both about the sort of transformational event that causes people to reevaluate the other. “I believe that when we decide to make the most of the people that we have, we’re dealing with such a mental healing,” Garner said at a 2016 Tribeca Film Festival afterparty for the latter.
Watch the trailer below:
How did this film find you?
I first met Dan Studney, the writer and director of ‘Catch Me If You Can,’ when he wrote the original screenplay. They approached me and we actually started working together in 2011. We were running [a humanitarian organization] together. He was creating this show called ‘The Doctors,’ and we were the writers. We were getting jobs on various networks — ‘Supernatural’ was one of them — and he had gotten me involved to write on the show.
How did you go from writing on a show with Dan to starring in a film with him?
Actually, I didn’t actually know what the ‘Catch Me If You Can’ was until we were shooting the movie. I was running a nonprofit [with him] but I was fully supportive of the screenplay.
As I remember, in January and February of 2010, while we were producing the pilot, there were two children who came up to us at the airport, because we were flying around the country filming for the pilot, and said, ‘Mom, we’ve been seeing Dad in this way we’ve never seen him before.'”
We said, ‘Sure, tell us more.’ They opened up about a boy in their family that was much older — 18 or 19, maybe — who’d had a kind of identity crisis and was making bad choices. We were able to weave that in. We put the boy at the forefront and told the story of his struggles.
The thing I always loved about ‘Catch Me If You Can’ is that the film I loved when I was a kid was ‘The Bridge on the River Kwai.’ People will go, ‘I was 12 years old when I saw it!’ But the thing that kept me coming back to the movie was because those characters were real people that were exposed to incredible events, and their reactions are a true part of the film.
Are there similar stories that exist amongst your own family?
In my household, there’s a comedian and there’s also a psychologist, and I come from a [legendary] comedy family that kind of took the same path to want to be a stand-up comedian and a therapist. [However], my siblings are really supportive of my career, especially my sister. We joke that she gets the credit. She was in this business before she was 18, and the joke is that she said ‘Sure, let’s do this!’ and my career happened very fast.
For example, I was doing comedy scenes for television years before I started doing movies. She says, ‘Jennifer, I think you need more backup!’ We put the camera down and said, ‘Let’s go do this play.’
I don’t have any control. I work with some amazing directors and some amazing producers and writers. But it’s the entire story. How can I recreate this for myself?
What are your daily rituals?
I spend most of my time on Instagram, but the latest book that I’ve read is ‘The Song of Achilles’ and I recently reread ‘Trace Decay.’
How did you become interested in wellness?
I have had a kind of impeccable, unblemished human existence for almost 40 years. I’m not really saying I have it all figured out, but I have some pretty unique experiences. I think my career has given me a platform to look at things with a slightly more critical eye, and maybe a deeper sense of what I’m actually capable of.
I’d like to feel I’ve been good enough to affect the world and that there are positive aspects to whatever there is to be happy about, so you can maybe do something about it.