It’s been more than 10 years since Jennifer Garner played Sydney Bristow on ABC’s Alias.
And as she returns to the small screen on Sunday night on HBO’s Camping, an eight-episode limited series from Girls showrunners Lena Dunham and Jenni Konner, Garner says viewers may not have seen the last of the spy who made her famous.
“I’ve heard that there’s an Alias reboot happening, but no one’s talked to me about it,” she tells The Hollywood Reporter. “I mean, it would be totally different. But if they didn’t have me on as a guest, I would be very, very angry. But I can’t imagine it being that serious yet because I haven’t heard anything about it at all.”
The comment marks a change from Garner’s past remarks, in which she said that she feels like a revival of the spy series is up to creator J.J. Abrams, and comes as she will soon be back on TV.
The actress has mostly focused on film since Alias ended its five-season run in 2006, but she tells THR that didn’t see the switch in format as a big change for her.
“I’ve never thought of returning to TV as some huge thing, so it wasn’t a barrier to me that I had to get over,” Garner says. “It was a job. And it was shot in L.A., and the words were genius, and Jenni Konner and Lena Dunham were a pair that anyone would be so lucky to work with. And once I was in the process of saying yes, it just kept getting better and better. As David [Tennant, who plays Garner’s character’s husband] came on and Juliette Lewis came on and Ione Skye came on, the pot just got sweeter.”
Garner, who plays the obsessively organized and aggressively controlling Kathryn on the half-hour comedy about a group of friends who embark on a four-night outdoor trip that soon turns into a weekend of tested marriages and woman-on-woman crime, has previously said that she was “drawn to the writing” and wanted to laugh at work, and it seems like she and her fellow campers did just that, with Konner teasing at this summer’s TCA panel for the show that “the gag reel is 400 hours of giggles.”
Speaking to THR, both Garner and Tennant said there were “so many” lines in the script that they enjoyed saying — or struggled to say because they couldn’t get through the dialogue without laughing.
“Every single day there was a line that I said, ‘This is the best line I’ve ever gotten to say, I just want to do it justice,'” Garner says, singling out a moment when Kathryn is “about to have an accident” and she says, “I feel like every cell in my body is on Dancing With the Stars but there is no judge.”
Konner indicates that the shorter time commitment provided by a limited series probably also helped Garner say “yes.”
“She said she loved the script. I think it was a real departure for her compared to who she played and I think she was excited to do that,” Konner says. “She really seems like a brave actor to me and someone who doesn’t want to get stuck in the same thing for a really long time. I think also a great way to get talent as a mother who lives in L.A. is to do a limited series. And shoot it in Los Angeles. … You’re not leaving your three kids at home to go to Vancouver.”
Speaking at TCA, Garner said, “Being the lead in a single-lead 22-episode, I don’t think that I could do it anymore. I just don’t, I don’t know. I don’t know how moms do that.”
While an HBO series would theoretically mean confronting racier fare than she faced on ABC, Garner, whose character doesn’t test the limits of premium cable, says nudity was a non-issue.
“If there was a scene that absolutely required taking your clothes off, I would do it — if that was something that I needed to do,” she says. “But it just didn’t feel like it would’ve been true to Kathryn. Or at least there wasn’t something written in this where it felt like, ‘Yes, that is exposing who she is at the very, very core.’ So I lucked out in that way. I just didn’t have to deal with it.”
Going forward, Garner, who recently starred in the STX action film Peppermint, wouldn’t say whether she plans to focus more on TV, go back to the big screen or do both, agreeing with Tennant, who said he “never” has “any sense of any kind of tactical plan.”
“I have zero ambition in that way. I just love to see what comes in,” she says, later adding that she “react[s] to what’s coming [my] way much more than you think.”
Garner did say that In the immediate future she wanted to make her mother happy.
“I do feel like it’s time for me to play someone nice, for what it’s worth,” she says. “I’m ready to play someone my mom would like.”
Camping premieres at Sunday at 10 p.m. ET/PT on HBO.