TORONTO — Jennifer Garner used to be pretty famous all by herself before she became a mom (Violet, Seraphina, and Samuel are now 7, 4, and 1) and the better half of a less flashy Bennifer. Now, with husband Ben Affleck still riding the high of Oscar darling “Argo,” the former “Alias” star is returning to the screen in a big way. She costars with Matthew McConaughey in “Dallas Buyers Club,” then will be seen in “Imagine” with Al Pacino, “Draft Day” with Kevin Costner, and “Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day” with Steve Carell.
Q. Have you gotten used to the Boston accent yet?
A. It’s so fun whenever we are working [there] and living in Cambridge and everywhere I go people stop and roll down their windows and truck drivers say, “Hey, Missus Affleck!” It’s really sweet. . . . I don’t think I ever registered the accent until “Good Will Hunting.” It didn’t seem like something that was real to me; it seemed like it could only be done in caricature. But now I get it. It’s real.
Q. Have things changed for you guys since the Oscars?
A. The only thing that changed was that he took a minute to just relax and to focus on what he wanted to do next. And during that time he kind of said, “OK, go to work, wife. Let’s go.” So I did go back to work in kind of a big way and I did this before “Argo” came out. Then I took a big break to be around for all of him getting that movie up and out. I just wanted to be there and travel with him.
Q. What’s important to you right now in choosing movies?
A. I have to say, [shooting] location has a lot to do with it. And what’s required of me, how it fits into my family’s life. But I’ve had a few scripts in a row that I’ve loved so much and we’ve been able to make them fit and that’s been really fun.
Q. And this movie, in particular?
A. I chose to do this movie because I had such a great experience working with Matthew before and I saw how serious and committed he was when we did the romantic comedy “Ghosts of Girlfriends Past.” He treated it like it was, you know, “Hamlet.” So I wanted to see him play this role. . . . He’s doing beautiful work that seems totally inspired right now. But he’s been pretty great for a really long time.
Q. You’ve been especially vocal recently about paparazzi issues. Why?
A. Nobody wants to hear celebrities complain about being celebrities. I don’t want to hear it either. But I’m at home flipping pancakes and wondering what I’m going to put in the lunch boxes, just like everyone else. [Except that] there is this added stress that when I leave the house to go to school at 7 in the morning there are eight cars waiting for me every day, and they are with me the rest of the day, wherever I go, whatever I do. I go to the pediatrician and they are there. And not only are they there, they stand and block the pediatrician’s door so I can’t get my sick kid inside, and they talk to them as I’m going inside. That is what we’re trying to curb. We’re not, you know, anti-freedom of speech. All I’m hoping is that [the law enacted recently in California] will change the tenor of my kids’ days and change their experience of the world as a large group of scary men who are loud and in their faces and make them stand out from their friends in a really unnatural way.
Q. Meanwhile, Ben has his own causes. . .
A. Ben inspires me. The work that he does in the Congo [as founder of the nonprofit Eastern Congo Initiative] is so much more work than people realize. So much deeper than people realize and so much more of an effect than I think anyone can know. That’s just him. He is just pushing that rock up the hill every day and I admire it and I am inspired by it and I love him for it. I look forward to going with him someday. I’ve never been able to because I’ve always been pregnant or working. But I look forward to our family going someday.
Q. I know you’ve worked with Ben in the past [“Daredevil,” “Pearl Harbor”], but any chance he’ll direct you in something? Perhaps you could be cast in his Whitey Bulger movie?
‘I’ve had a few scripts in a row that I’ve loved so much . . . and that’s been really fun.’
A. Oh, that’d be cool [laughs]! I don’t know. We’re linked together [as a couple] in people’s minds. It’d be tricky for us to do a movie together. Also, I would be saying to him every day, “I think we got it. I need to go home. It’s almost bed time.” I think he’d kill me.Interview was edited and condensed. Janice Page can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.