While filming The Kingdom Jennifer Garner learned that working with director Peter Berg on a fight scene can be a grueling experience.
“It was so down and dirty that [I] had scratch marks that we had to cover up on my face for the next few days,” says Garner, who plays a U.S. government agent sent to investigate a bombing in the Middle East action thriller directed by Berg.
Garner, 35, and her longtime stunt double, Shauna Duggins, initially were told they wouldn’t need much rehearsal time for the scenes. But the actress, who has worked with Berg before, says that should have been a red flag.
“Pete Berg was a guest star on Alias the first season,” she said recently a press event for the film. “He and I had a fight. His idea of doing the fight was to improvise. I am a girl. I don’t really want to be punched. … He started trying to actually hit me, so I shouldn’t have been surprised [about his approach on The Kingdom]. They yanked me out of that fight [on Alias] so fast.”
Things got particularly intense at one point when Garner scuffled with one of the Kingdom‘s bad guys. “It was where he just tried to grab me and pull my face off,” she says. “He had a scab on his ear because I bit his ear, and I just went ‘Erg!’ and yanked. I actually got his ear. Oh, it was nasty. It was great!”
Garner did admit to having one rule for her sparring partner: “He had to stay away from my boobs.”
“Because I was breastfeeding (daughter Violet),” she says. “And he did. That was the one sacred thing. He could go for my head, pull my hair, just not the boobs.”
However, the actress’s husband, Ben Affleck, didn’t seem too concerned when he popped by the set. “He was just like ‘Go, go for it, babe! Harder!’ ” Garner says. “I thought it would have made him a little bit nervous to see them chucking me against the wall, harder and harder with every take.”
Looking ahead, Garner confirmed that she is preparing for a role on Broadway opposite Kevin Kline in a revival of Cyrano de Bergerac. “It’s always been my absolute dream of all dreams,” she says of acting on Broadway. “This I couldn’t pass up. Working with Kevin Kline, being in New York in the fall, doing this role, getting to say these words. I mean, just thinking about it I get so excited.”
The Kingdom hits theaters in wide release on Sept. 28. Cyrano is reportedly set to open in October and run for 10 weeks.