Jennifer Garner is coming back to screens in the kind of action role you haven’t seen her in for a long time. In her new movie Peppermint, Garner plays the same tough, take-no-prisoners action heroine you first met in Alias, only this time there’s a much darker motivation. Garner is so well-known for playing accessible, relatable characters, it begs the question, is Peppermint based on a true story?
The story of Peppermint revolves around Riley North, a grieving mom who loses her daughter and husband in a gang-related shooting and goes on a campaign of targeted revenge, as People explained. And, according to the actress herself, it is entirely fictional. In a statement obtained by Closer Weekly, Garner said: “At our very first meeting the director and I discussed whether or not revenge is ever appropriate and questioned if what Riley is doing is OK. It’s an interesting and complicated subject to explore within the fictional narrative of an action film.”
While the movie is about a mother’s love, it is much more John Wick than Steel Magnolias. Although the cops seem to catch the killers, the trailer shows that a corrupt justice system lets them get off scot-free. North disappears for years, during which time she whips herself into comic-hero shape, training in all manners of killing, according to Entertainment Tonight. She returns to enact her revenge on everyone who mocked her pain by protecting the killers and, in doing so, becomes a local folk-hero.
Garner first hit the scene as an action star with her run on the show Alias from 2001 to 2006, according to IMDb. But her last action role was in the 2007 Middle East drama The Kingdom and since then she’s had a long list of roles as moms, wives, and girlfriends. But Garner’s stunt double told Variety that the actress hasn’t lost a step when it comes to giving it her physical all.
“Jennifer worked her booty off,” Shauna Duggins told Variety. “Every single fight scene is her. There are some good hits, and you see her face hit the ground. Obviously, she’s good at fights from Alias and Daredevil and Elektra and The Kingdom. But this was really rough and gritty. You feel her pain every time she takes a punch. You see her face feel the pain.”
In fact, Garner commented on how hard she worked to get in shape for the role in an Instagram post on May 31. “In all honestly, I'm terrified to show this to anyone... But I worked so, so hard, and I’m really proud of this movie,” she wrote in the caption.
While the physical side of being a mercenary was something Garner had to strive to get in touch with, the desire to defend her children was not. According to the statement shared with Closer Weekly, she commented: “I’ve never had the chance to explore that kind of visceral need to defend or protect my family in a film, but the concept was something I could easily connect with.”
That’s because she has fought to defend her family, as part of a group of celebrities and members of the public who pushed for a California law that makes it a crime for paparazzi to harass a child. She and Halle Berry testified in front of the California Assembly’s Judiciary Committee, according to Parade, calling for passage of the law which, among others things, makes it illegal for photographers to follow a child’s activities and lay in wait. A few months later Garner even confronted a photographer when she felt like he was being to aggressive, according to HuffPost.
While this is another loving mom role for Garner, it’s definitely not the same kind you've seen her in before, and probably best to take a good look at the trailer before heading out to watch it.
Look for Peppermint in theaters starting Sept. 7.