×
Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

The TV Series Audition That Made Jennifer Garner Break Down In Tears

Jennifer Garner is a seasoned performer by this point, but early in her career, she got so emotional during a major audition that she ended up bursting into tears.

While appearing on the recap podcast "Dear Felicity" — a project of The Ringer — Garner revealed that she auditioned for the small role of Hannah Bibb on "Felicity," the beloved series created by J.J. Abrams and future "The Batman" director Matt Reeves. While reading, Garner became so overcome with emotions that she excused herself to finish crying. "I remember the audition," Garner recalled. "I remember going into the bathroom after because the scene was so emotional and I needed to cry." According to her, the scene in question "must have been the breakup scene," perhaps regarding a scene between Hannah and series lead Noel Crane (Scott Foley, who was married to Garner from 2000 to 2004).

"I needed to hide in the bathroom stall and finish the cry that I started in the audition because it was such a powerful scene," Garner told the podcast's host Greg Grunberg, a friend of Abrams who starred on "Felicity" and alongside Garner on "Alias" (as well as a brief appearance in early episodes of "Lost" as the doomed plane's pilot). So what happened with the audition? Apparently, Abrams insisted she come back and audition again.

Jennifer Garner appreciated Abrams Reeves' guidance

Everyone knows how talented Jennifer Garner really is, especially Greg Grunberg, who joked with his former colleague, saying he understands why she needed a ton of direction from J.J. Abrams during the audition process. "That makes sense to me, because you're not very good," Grunberg quipped. "I totally get it. I mean, notes, notes — you know what? Let me give her a block of notes to take home."

The joke was on Grunberg, though; Garner said she actually does really value notes from directors. "I do need that, though," she replied. "I've always loved a ton of feedback. I love that about working with J.J. and with Matt [Reeves]. They are helpful and they are true directors. They aren't just like, 'Okay, that seems fine. You have another one in you?' They have an idea, and they're helping guide you to the best version of whatever you show up with."

Ultimately, Garner said that receiving a lot of feedback during her audition process for "Felicity" really helped ... and even across just three episodes as Hannah Bibb, she clearly made an impression on Abrams, who created the series that would catapult Garner to superstardom.

Jennifer Garner ultimately got her own J.J. Abrams project — but will it get a reboot?

At some point, J.J. Abrams started imagining a world in which Felicity Porter (played by Keri Russell) takes a summer away from school to become a super-spy ... and he translated that concept into "Alias," a perfect vehicle for Jennifer Garner. In the fast-paced, dense spy drama, Garner plays Sydney Bristow, who secretly works for what she believes is a branch of the CIA known as SD-6, telling her friends that she works for a (weirdly demanding) bank. When she tells her new fiancé about her real job, SD-6 has him killed, and she can only turn to her estranged father Jack Bristow (Victor Garber) for help; he's also a spy, and the two begin working together to bring SD-6 down. (Greg Grunberg also appeared on the series as CIA agent Eric Weiss, who helps Sydney and Jack infiltrate and destroy SD-6.)

So would "Alias" ever get a reboot? Garner, for her part, isn't sure; she told "The View" in 2023 that it would be a great idea (via People). "Oh my gosh, would that be the most fun ever? That would be so fun," Garner exclaimed before continuing, "You know, that's really, that's up to J.J. Nobody has ever really brought it up."

In any case, Garner's path to "Alias" ran directly through "Felicity," whether or not she cried during her audition. "Alias" is available to stream on Amazon Prime, and you can rewatch "Felicity" on Hulu.