Buy this Wall Scroll at AllPosters.com
Buy this Photo Enlargement at AllPosters.com
Saturday, Jan. 8, 2005
ELEKTRA'S JENNIFER GARNER
The name isn't being changed to "Jenuary," but it's a big month for Jennifer Garner.
The season premiere of her television series Alias on Wednesday night drew 16 million viewers and the show's best ratings in three years.
Her new movie, Elektra, spins off from Daredevil in some 3,000 theaters on Friday, and two days later she finds out if she wins a television dramatic actress awards at the Golden Globes.
But a nerve damage injury has hampered things somewhat, forcing Garner to cancel several promotional appearances for Alias and Elektra, as well as a hosting gig on Saturday Night Live.
Nevertheless, she was able to attend Saturday night's Elektra premiere in Las Vegas, and the film promises to be another step forward in Garner's acting career.
Garner's injury apparently was caused from work on Alias, not Elektra, although therešs plenty of action she performed in the film. Stunt coordination and fight choreographer Mike Gunther called Garner "a rock star" when it came to action scenes.
"Jennifer did a little bit of boxing, some Wu Shu, a bit of hard style martial arts like Shodukan," says Gunther. "It's a little bit of everything mixed together."
"Elektra is a consummate martial artist, and I've poured by heart, body and soul into my training," says Garner. "Luckily I had Daredevil and three years of Alias under my belt."
Garner trained hard before and during shooting. Her days often started before dawn, when she'd squeeze in a 4 a.m. training session before getting set-ready. She worked on new skills such as stick fighting on weekends.
"We trained differently for every fight," says Garner. "For a Bo Stick fight, for example, I spent a couple of months training.
"When we shot that scene I had these big fans on me and my hair was blowing in my eyes. Basically I was fighting blind against five guys, but I was so rehearsed that I knew if I put my stick where it was supposed to be, the fight would go right. I couldn't see anything but I the heard the 'click, click, click' of my stick hitting theirs and it was exhilarating. That's why I train so hard...so that on filming day I'm not worried. They could have blindfolded me and hung me upside down and I could have done that fight!"
Elektra, of course, uses her trademark sais. "It's about being comfortable with the weapon, being able to spin it in any direction, and look like you've had them in your hands since you were a kid," says Gunther. "Jennifer had definitely mastered that."
Elektra has a big fight with Kirigi, played by Will Yun Lee, the former Witchblade star who is a true martial artist.
"We did not use our stunt doubles," Garner says. "The two of us just went mano y mano, which was really fun to do."
In addition to all the action, Elektra features the character's journey, picking up from her death at the hands of Bullseye in Daredevil. She is brought back to life by Stick, who eventually insists that she leave the Chaste, leaving Elektra abandoned.
She then picks up the life of an assassin, but finds she canšt fulfill that duty when her assigned targets are Mark Millar and his daughter Abby.
Instead, she winds up protecting them against The Hand, making decisions that affect the rest of her life.
"She has to confront who she is," Garner says. "Is she a killer? Is she a person who is normal, and if she is, then shešs killed a lot of people and how does somebody deal with that?
"In saving them, when shešs supposed to kill them, and putting her life on the life to protect this little girl, she finds her own humanity. And I love that.
"She's fighting the inevitability of her own humanity. "It's a fantastic story to play, one that I think people can relate to.˛
Garner wasn't familiar with the Marvel Universe growing up with three little girls, preferring Little House of the Prairie type fare.
"Having said that, I wish I had read Elektra's storyline when I was younger because I think it's pretty empowering, this woman who is every man's equal, who can take care of herself, who is as smart as any man and stronger than most," she said.
Especially after Daredevil, Garner understands the expectations of a film like Elektra.
"I think the audience will be carried along on Elektra's emotional ride," she says. "You're going to see why she is the way she is and why it isn't working anymore. You're going to see a friendship forged and a little bit of romance. You're going to see some great action. I know I worked on this role as hard as I could. I promise...it'll be a ride!"
E-mail the Continuum at RobAlls@aol.com
Copyright © 2003, The Comics Continuum