In the new HBO series “Camping,” Jennifer Garner plays a mom, but Kathryn Siddell-Bauers isn’t maternal — she’s militarized. Kathryn is a hyper-organized Type A personality who is brutally focused on making sure everything goes according to plan, even if it means being consciously or unconsciously cruel to the people in her life — a role that plays with Garner’s well-known public persona as a caring mother.
So making that performance happen, according to director/co-creator Jenni Konner, wasn’t easy. “It’s really hard to take the sweetness out of Jen Garner,” she told IndieWire.
And according to Garner, “I was really terrified. A lot of the time… I loved having people so clear in their vision, but it also took a lot of trust.”
Read More:‘Camping’ First Trailer: Jennifer Garner and David Tennant Have a Doomed Vacation in Lena Dunham-Written HBO Series
In order to push the ensemble cast featured in the series based on Julia Davis’s British comedy out of their comfort zones, Konner and co-creator Lena Dunham put David Tennant, Janicza Bravo, Arturo Del Puerto, Brett Gelman, Juliette Lewis, and Ione Skye through weeks of rehearsal prior to filming.
It was a process that allowed each actor to develop not just their character, but their characters’ relationships with each other, and the time spent breaking down the scripts and playing theater games was essential given the premise, which tracks what happens when an eclectic group of adults meet up in the woods to celebrate the 45th birthday of Kathryn’s husband Walt (Tennant).
“I felt pushed to be brave than I felt,” Tennant said of the experience. “I felt empowered by the sense that it was a safe environment where nothing was wrong and that actually, these characters could go wherever you wanted to take them. That was scary and exciting when it worked.”
Garner, once filming began, said that a lot of the direction she received during early episodes involved being asked to “take it farther.” “I would do something that felt very right to me and they would say, ‘stop doing that. You’re being you and we don’t want you, we want Kathryn ,’” she said. “I would try to soften a moment and they would say, ‘no.’”
The way Konner explained it was that Garner “wanted to find humanity in …read more