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Jennifer Garner is booked and busy these days. The Alias alum stars in the mini-series adaptation of Laura Dave’s beloved novel The Last Thing He Told Me, which sees Garner tackle the role of Hannah Hall. When Hannah’s husband Owen (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) mysteriously goes missing, it’s up to her to protect Owen’s daughter Bailey (Angourie Rice) and put the puzzle pieces of his disappearance together. For Garner, the role wasn’t so straightforward, and she explained why it was actually such a challenge to portray.
At the core of The Last Thing He Told Me is the growing bond between Bailey and Hannah. It’s a “relationship between this woman who never expected to be a mother and was not particularly gifted at it and this young woman who never expected to have a mother and wasn’t really good at that,” Garner explained in a recent interview with InStyle. “All of that together just made for a really explosive read.”
Over the course of the last several years, Garner’s played quite a few characters with a maternalistic bent. And that’s part of the reason why portraying Hannah offered a new challenge. “It was very difficult for me to play a character who’s not maternal at all,” the mom of three shared with the outlet. “I’ve played a mom quite a bit and that is actually lovely, because it’s very easy to slip into mothering some awesome young actor, and then you build a relationship under it so at the end, you’re quite close,” she explained.
Unlike those previous projects, however, Garner found that she and co-star Angourie Rice had to create a relationship that was more “adversarial at the beginning of the series. And we had to build trust, a partnership, become a team — whether we liked it or not — until we were legitimately close. It was nice to have our real relationship build slowly over time, that our trust built over time just like Hannah and Bailey.”
Part of the reason why we love this insight into Garner’s process is because it reminds us that motherhood, and taking on the role of a maternal figure, isn’t monolithic. It’s a challenge, one that presents itself differently for every person who approaches it. Bearing all this in mind, we can’t wait to see how Garner brings this complicated character to life in the small-screen adaptation.
Before you go, click here to see celebrity moms who quit Hollywood to raise their kids.
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