Golden Globe and Emmy award-winning actress Jennifer Garner portrays super mom Kelly Cooper—a force of nature, in Walt Disney Pictures' hilarious family comedy “Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day.”
Based on the 32-page children's classic book by Judith Viorst, “Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day” follows the exploits of 11-year-old Alexander (Ed Oxenbould) as he experiences the most terrible and horrible day of his young life—a day that begins with gum stuck in his hair, followed by one calamity after another. But when Alexander tells his upbeat family about the misadventures of his disastrous day, he finds little sympathy and begins to wonder if bad things only happen to him. He soon learns that he’s not alone when his mom (Garner), dad (Steve Carell), brother (Dylan Minnette) and sister (Kerris Dorsey) all find themselves living through their own terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day. Anyone who says there is no such thing as a bad day just hasn't had one.
Shouldering the family’s breadwinning duties, Kelly secretly craves more time with her family. She starts her terrible day behind schedule and finds herself battling a potentially career-ending publishing blunder. “It’s a big moment in her career,” says screenwriter Rob Lieber. “There’s a celebrity reading that day, and a rather unfortunate misprint is discovered at the last minute. Everything goes wrong.”
Says Garner, “I don’t think I’ve ever played anything closer to my real life. Not that I have days as bad as this, but just days with the chaos of having a bunch of kids in the house—when there’s a kid peeing on the floor, and the dog is throwing up and somebody’s about to step in it, and you’re trying to get dinner on the table. I can definitely relate to the idea of trying to do too much in a day.
“Steve and I definitely drew from our own lives as parents,” continues Garner. “We understand having a baby who won’t stop crying, passing the child off so you can deal with something else, and taking it back because it won’t stop crying. All of that happened very naturally for us on set.”
The actress talks further about “Alexander” in the following interview:
Question: How do you describe the movie to people who aren’t familiar with the book?
Jennifer Garner: The book is just seen from the eyes of a kid who finds that everything possible goes wrong in his day from the minute he wakes up till the end of the day. It’s been rotten, but tomorrow is another day. I love reading this book to my kids, because it teaches you that it’s OK to have a horrible, terrible, no good, very bad day.
Q: How does the film expand on the book?
Garner: Our movie is inspired by the book; it follows Alexander having a horrible, terrible, no good, very bad day—everything goes wrong for him. When his family is blasé about how bad his day has been, he wishes that his family would just understand what it’s like to have a bad day. And the next day, his mom, dad, brothers and sister all have their own bad days. Alexander has a great day, but is watching the world fall apart for his family, which is where it’s really different from the book.
When I heard that they were making this movie and Steve Carell was in it, I said, “I’m in, I’m in.” And when I read the script and saw how smart the adaptation was, I was even more excited. It’s such a funny movie. There’s so much physical comedy for kids, but at the same time there’s so much that parents will relate to. It’s a true family movie.
Q: Who plays Alexander?
Garner: Ed Oxenbould is a revelation as Alexander in this movie. He really is. He is such a special kid. He is joyful. He came to work ready to play. And he really plays. He played all day. He played with the older kids. He played with the babies. He played with us. He played with the crew. He’s just up for a good time. One of the camera guys, with whom I have worked on a bunch of different movies, leaned down to me on one of the first days of production and said, “I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone more real in front of the camera than this kid. He can’t play a false note.” Ed is pretty great. He’s pretty impressive.
Q: How did the cast get along?
Garner: We lucked out with the kids. They’re such good, smart, sweet kids who all have their heads on straight and have been parented really well. And they all came wanting to be part of a group. Steve and I are both parents, which had a lot to do with the way that we played our roles.
Q: What are your thoughts on director Miguel Arteta?
Garner: I would do anything with [director] Miguel [Arteta]. He is kind and thoughtful and purposeful and intentional. He’s such a great guy to be around. At the same time, he’s totally clear about what he wants and how to get there. He’s not cookie-cutter at all. He has a real sensibility about him. And to take the slight bit of unexpected that you might find in his films “Cedar Rapids” or “Chuck and Buck,” and add that to a pretty straightforward family movie—it’s a great fit.
Q: Who should see this movie?
Garner: This is a movie that families should see together. You can take your little kids. You can take your big kids. But the parents will have a good time, too. There is something for everyone. It’s that kind of movie.
Opening across the Philippines on Oct. 15, 2014, “Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day” is distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures International through Columbia Pictures.