Jennifer Garner gets mean in ‘Butter’

Oh, ain’t she sweet

In “Butter,” Jennifer Garner sheds her easygoing, good-girl image to play an uptight, unhinged, power-mad woman going up against an adorable orphan (Yara Shahidi) to keep her husband’s Iowa State Fair butter-carving championship title in the family. It was a role she chose for herself, serving as producer on the project before joining the cast, but that kind of inside track doesn’t mean she made the job any easier for herself.

As an actress, this is a great role for you. A safer choice would’ve been Alicia Silverstone’s part as the warmhearted foster mother.

Why would I do that? I’ve played that role.

So it didn’t take much to convince the producer to cast you?

Yes, I cast myself. [Laughs] But I did prepare more for this role than I’ve prepared for something in a long, long time. I always work hard, but this I kind of went a little nuts for a few months because I knew what a responsibility it was.

What kind of preparation are we talking about?

Working with the dialect coach a lot, listening to people from Iowa a ton on my iPad, going through the script word by word and watching a lot of different things — everything from Blanche DuBois to former beauty queens to first ladies of all the Midwestern states giving speeches from the ’50s to now to Muhammad Ali giving press conferences back when he was floating like a butterfly and stinging like a bee.

How did you shield your young co-star from the more mature dialogue in the film?

Well, there was no shielding her. She was right there, so we would just talk very frankly. But I would talk to her mom: “Have you spoken to her about all of this? How does she feel about it?” Her mom would say, “Oh, she’s going to cover her ears. She doesn’t really get it, she doesn’t care.”

Although the story is loosely modeled on Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton’s 2008 primary race, you’re getting  comparisons to Michele Bachmann and Sarah Palin. How do you deal with that?

It’s kind of more fun because we weren’t going for those women. … We did this long enough ago that I wasn’t trying to be Michele Bachmann. I didn’t know who she was. I wasn’t after Sarah Palin. But that’s so much a part of what’s out there that I played it close enough to what you would think of them that you can’t help but draw that comparison. That’s what’s fun to me, the serendipity of it. We don’t think of this movie as a political movie first, by any stretch.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

California passes 'yes-means-yes' campus sexual assault bill

Californian lawmakers passed a law on Thursday requiring universities to adopt "affirmative consent" language in their definitions of consensual sex, part of a nationwide drive to curb sexual assault on…

National

Syrian refugees top 3 million, half of all…

By Stephanie NebehayGENEVA (Reuters) - Three million Syrian refugees will have registered in neighboring countries as of Friday, but many remain trapped by the advance…

International

North Korean leader's money manager defects in Russia:…

A senior North Korean banking official who managed money for leader Kim Jong Un has defected in Russia and was seeking asylum in a third country, a South Korean newspaper…

Local

MAP: New York City Street Closures August 29,…

The Department of Transportation and NYPD said there may be residual delays near all of the street closures on August 29, 31 and 31. Several streets and avenues will be…

Going Out

'Friends' coffeehouse Central Perk coming to NYC —…

"Friends" is coming back for a one-off special: "The One with the Free Coffee." Warner Bros. is bringing a pop-up replica of Central Perk, the…

Movies

Interview: 'As Above, So Below' directors: 5 ways…

The fraternal directors of the found footage horror "As Above, So Below" dish on the best ways to frighten the bejesus out of audiences.

Movies

Criterion's new Jacques Demy box mixes the light…

Jacques Demy, the most effervescent of French New Wave filmmakers, gets a Criterion box all to himself, with classics like "The Umbrellas of Cherbourg."

Entertainment

Comedian Joan Rivers, 81, rushed to New York…

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Acerbic comedian and fashion critic Joan Rivers was rushed to Mount Sinai Hospital in New York on Thursday after she reportedly…

NFL

3 things we learned in the Giants preseason…

The final score didn’t matter — a 16-13 win by the Giants — but it would’ve been nice to finally see Big Blue’s new-look offense get on track.

NFL

NFL Power Rankings: Seahawks, Broncos, Patriots, 49ers start…

NFL Power Rankings: Seahawks, Broncos, Patriots start at top

U.S. Soccer

5 facts about new England captain Wayne Rooney

Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney was named as the new England captain by coach Roy Hodgson on Thursday.

NFL

Jets vs. Eagles: 3 things to watch

A win on Thursday night at the Eagles would give the Jets a 3-1 record and just their second winning preseason under head coach Rex Ryan.

Style

Trend: White hot on the 2014 Emmy's red…

White was one of the big trends on the Emmy's red carpet.

Food

Recipe: Samuel Adams beer-marinated grilled shrimp

Summer calls for two things: a cold beer and light food. Sam Adams' Latitude 48 IPA fairly bursts with citrus notes, making it an ideal marinade…

Wellbeing

4 healthy ingredient swaps to make your meals…

When it comes to eating well, everyone knows they could be doing better. But cooking in an apartment on a busy schedule is a recipe…

Wellbeing

Heart trumps brain when it comes to movies…

When you need a good cry, do you reach for the movie that’s “based on a true story”? Science says you’re giving your brain far…