Fri, Feb 2, 2001 02:10 PM PDT
LOS ANGELES (Zap2it.com) - Executive producer J.J. Abrams has been very, very good to Jennifer Garner ("Dude, Where's My Car?" ). Three years ago she guested on his show "Felicity" where she met her real-life husband, Scott Foley (who plays Noel). Now, she's been cast as the lead in Abrams show "Alias" for ABC, according to The Hollywood Reporter. "I feel like the lightning has struck again, and we found an actress who is beautiful and hysterically funny and able to be vulnerable yet incredibly strong and kick ass, which the character is," says Abrams. Garner will play a spy who tries to balance a dangerous job with a normal personal life. Making matters worse, she must hide her profession from her father and boyfriend. It's "La Femme Nikita" meets "Scarecrow and Mrs. King." The actress has previously been a series regular on the FOX dramas "Significant Others" and "Time of Your Life." If "Alias" does for Garner what "Felicity" did for Keri Russell, she will quickly be a media sensation ... until she cuts her hair. Photo Credit: unknown. Copyright © Zap2it 2001.
Mary Wade Burnside For the Daily Mail
Wednesday May 23, 2001; 01:00 PM. A Sunday morning ride through Los Angeles to an international press event caps off a wild week for Charleston native Jennifer Garner. News of her upcoming ABC-TV show, "Alias," hit the wire last week, just days before the Friday release of the mega-movie "Pearl Harbor," in which she has a small role as a nurse. For Garner, that meant flying to New York one week earlier from London, where her husband, Scott Foley (who plays Noel on the WB's "Felicity") has been shooting a movie. On Tuesday, she had "up fronts," the event in which "Alias" was introduced to the media. Then she went to Boston to see her sister, Melissa, before flying across the country to her home base of Los Angeles for a day of "Alias" media events before climbing back on a London-bound plane, back to her husband. "Life has been a little crazy," Garner said in a cell phone interview. The activity represents a bit of a life change from a year and a half ago, when Garner played one of several characters in an ensemble cast of the short-lived Fox television show, "Time of Your Life," a vehicle for Jennifer Love Hewitt. This fall, Garner will star in an ABC series by "Felicity" creator J.J. Abrams, about a college student-turned-spy who tries to keep her secret life from her friends as she practices martial arts moves on villains. "It's the most exciting thing I ever worked on," she said. That's a bold statement coming from someone who appears in "Pearl Harbor," the Michael Bay-directed, Jerry Bruckheimer-produced Disney film starring Ben Affleck. It is a movie of "Titanic" proportions, with a $135 million budget and sinking boats to boot. The film opens Memorial Day weekend, officially christening the summer movie season, although the coffee-table companion book, a Time magazine cover and interview tie-ins with the likes of Tom Brokaw have been around for weeks now. Garner plays a nurse named Sandra, "the third female lead," according to her publicist, after English actress Kate Beckinsale and model James King. "She's one of the five nurses featured," Garner said. "She is definitely the most serious about her job and she's a bookworm. She takes being a nurse very seriously, and when the attack happens, she's the one who's the least mentally prepared for it." As cameras rolled, bombs exploded and ships blew up during the "grueling" shoot, the enormity of the film dawned on the cast. "We were aware that it was the hugest movie made in history -- the helicopter shots when you're on a huge barge with thousands of extras and every car is a true period car and every extra has on vintage clothes. You know this is not a TV show. It's a big blockbuster." Garner auditioned for the film on the same day as about 40 other women and then went about her life. "Out of the blue, I was called and they offered me the job and said, ‘You're going to Hawaii.' " And yes, she does realize that the U.S.S. West Virginia was one of the ships bombed during the Dec. 7, 1941, attack on Pearl Harbor by the Japanese, the event that brought the United States into World War II. "Are you kidding?" said the George Washington High School graduate. "West Virginia gets mentioned and is not made fun of. Dorie Miller, Cuba Gooding Jr.'s character, is one of the workers in the kitchen on the West Virginia. And the captain plays a role in the film. We get our 15 seconds." And Garner gets her "five minutes," as she has described it. "It was great for me," she said. "My role is so small that I just had a great ringside seat. I didn't feel a ton of pressure. I don't carry any of the movie, but I could be there and be part of the filming. Anytime I was added to a scene, it was a bonus." Her upcoming TV series, in which she stars, excites her more. Garner will be carrying the show in her role as Sydney Bristow. A press release from "Alias," which will air Sundays between "The Wonderful World of Disney" and "The Practice," mentions "terror-filled eyes" and "lungs choked with water." Those would belong to Garner. Then there's the line, in reference to her tormenter, that "coercing information from Sydney is like pulling teeth. So he's about to try that, too." Intense? Oh, yeah. "The whole pilot was incredibly scary. Not only was I doing stunts -- I hung from a building 10 stories up from wire and I had to learn how to do these huge tae kwon do fights and duke it out -- But there were also emotional scenes that were on another level. They were really gut-wrenching. The fear that this character feels in the pilot -- it's very exhausting to play that kind of fear." A recent USA Today preview of new shows called the show "the week's most exciting clip (even for those us of with little interest in conspiracy dramas)." Fellow cast members include another actor with a small role in a blockbuster, Victor Garber, from "Titanic," as well as Michael Vartan, who played the English teacher who wooed Drew Barrymore's character in "Never Been Kissed." "He's so cute," Garner said. "We have another cutie, Bradley Cooper. These two guys are going to be on lockers in the 7th grade." Does Garner foresee any posters of herself plastered in schools across America? She doubts it. "I'm not a ‘Buffy.' That's a great show, but this show is more sophisticated and for an older audience." Even with all the chaos and activity -- and potential -- that currently surrounds her, Garner remains level-headed on the eve of her appearance in a major motion picture and the debut of her own television series. "The seven years I've been working at this has tempered my excitement." Those years included bit parts in TV movies, including one, "Harvest of Fire," in which she played, coincidentally, opposite fellow Charlestonian Sam Trammel. Feature film roles included "Washington Square," a blip of an appearance in Woody Allen's "Deconstructing Harry," and the recent "Dude, Where's My Car?" She also landed a guest role on "Felicity" that she almost did not take, and that ended up changing her life in more than one way. For starters, she played the soon-to-be ex-girlfriend opposite the man who would become her husband. Garner tied the knot with Foley last October in Los Angeles in a small backyard ceremony. Now she has her own show by the creator of "Felicity," as well as the opportunity to live and work in the same town as her husband. "You see how scary Hollywood marriages can be. It's important to be partners." That's why he flew in from London to be with her for the "Alias" introduction. And she skipped Monday's $5 million, star-studded "Pearl Harbor" premiere in Hawaii to be back in London with him. After England, Garner will return to Los Angeles to prepare for "Alias." Her publicist said a possible actors' strike has not been much of a concern. "I think everyone in town is proceeding like normal," she said. "The writers' strike got settled and I think people are assuming this will be, too." When the series debuts, Garner will be ready for whatever happens. "You can never be too positive with a show. The important thing is to keep working. You never know when it's another ‘Felicity,' something that seems like nothing that changes your life." Copyright © Charleston Daily Mail 2001.
(J.J. Abrams Creator)by Brill Bundy Zap2it, TV News
Tue, Jul 24, 2001 01:01 AM PDT LOS ANGELES (Zap2it.com) - What if instead of deciding whether or not she should spend the summer with Ben or Noel, one May Felicity blew them both off and became a spy instead? This isn't a thought that would occur to the average fan of the WB drama, but "Felicity" creator J.J. Abrams has a different take on things. "The way 'Alias' sort of came about is I was sitting in the writers' room on 'Felicity' at the beginning of last year," he says. "We're all just sitting around talking about stuff, and I said, 'You know what would just rock, is if Felicity was recruited by the CIA, because then she'd have to go and do these missions internationally, you know, kick ass, be in these incredibly high-stakes, life-and-death situations, come back. She couldn't tell Ben. She couldn't tell Noel.'" While Abrams realized this wouldn't exactly fly with the WB, he did think it would make a great series on its own. Thus, "Alias" was born. Calling the premise "ludicrous," Abrams likes to think of it as a comic book or cartoon that is taken seriously. Premiering on ABC this fall, Jennifer Garner stars as grad student Sydney Bristow who leads a double life as an international spy. Things get ugly when the agency she works for kills her fiancé and she decides to become a double agent. The secret life premise is trendy this season, with "Thieves" (also on ABC), "The Agency" (CBS) and "UC: Undercover" all make a bid for viewers. Abrams feels that his show is different though, because it puts character over concept every time. "The idea of a young woman who loses the person that she loves dearly and has to get on with life, and has this estranged relationship with her father, and slowly they're coming together," says Abrams, "that to me is a story that I think would work in any genre." Abrams is also prepared for the inevitable comparisons to such movies as "La Femme Nikita" and "Run Lola Run" (and not just because Sydney sports Lola's signature bright red hair for a good part of the pilot). In fact, he welcomes them. He admires the heroine of the latter for being "very young and of very few words, but she was incredibly vulnerable." "As we all do, you need to compare something new to something familiar." "Having done that, I believe a year from now, if we're lucky, people will be saying, 'Oh, this looks like 'Alias' meets something,' and it will just be that." Photo Credit: ABC. Copyright © Zap2it 2001.
(Jennifer garners raves: We spy a hit.)
I Spy and I Spy and I Spy... Government espionage agencies go from being the enemy--sabotaging Fox Mulder on The X-Files and whatnot--to saving the day in a slew of new series. But secret agents on 24, Alias and UC: Undercover should be wary of sabotage from The Agency, which is officially endorsed by the CIA. Yipes! This squib may self-destruct in five seconds, so we'll make it fast. These ain't your dad's covert operatives. They foil assassination attempts and bust crime rings at breakneck speed over fast-paced musical tracks a lá Run Lola Run. Pffft! Alias: We're betting Felicity creator J.J. Abrams has a new hit on his hands with Alias, a college girl's coming-of-age story to trump all others, on ABC. Jennifer Garner (heartbreaker Hannah from Felicity and Scott Foley's real-life wife) plays Sydney, a grad student whose extracurricular activities include a gig as an undercover CIA agent. Working alongside steamy love interest Vaughn (played by Michael Vartan, Drew Barrymore's smoocher in Never Been Kissed), Sydney foils world-domination plots and kicks bad-guy booty--in between cramming for tests and cranking out term papers. Hey, it beats working at the mall, right? Alias' setup is full of so many nail-biting twists, ABC has agreed to air the 90-minute premiere commercial-free September 30. Our suggestion: Hit the baño beforehand--you won't want to miss a beat. Kick-butt Babes: Better not misbehave, fellas, or you'll get your butts kicked by some TV lovelies. Xena has left the building, but prime time is packed with warrior women who break hearts--and heads. Among the most bodacious bruisers, 24 features a sexy terrorist (Mia Kirshner), Thieves a buxom burglar (Melissa George) and Alias a cat-suited spy girl (see above). Other fiery females use words as their primary weapons. Check out Jill Hennessy's medical examiner on Crossing Jordan, Vera Farmiga's undercover agent on UC: Undercover and Kim Delaney's defense attorney on Philly. But those verbal girls can still take you out, so watch it, buster--which, come to think of it, is good advice about the new TV season.