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Jennifer Garner in ‘Peppermint’: ‘You Feel Her Pain Every Time She Takes a Punch’

Hell hath no fury like a woman who watches her husband and child get gunned down right in front of her. That’s the premise of Jennifer Garner’s new action movie “Peppermint,” which premiered Tuesday night at the Regal Cinemas in downtown Los Angeles. Upon arriving at the red carpet, Garner jumped out of her car, hiked up her black Narciso Rodriguez dress and dashed across the street, where a crowd of autograph hounds were gathered, shouting her name.

As it turns out, these fans were the only ones to get some face time with Garner, as four days prior — and six days after she drove husband Ben Affleck to a treatment center in Malibu — it was announced that there would be no interviews on the red carpet. Instead, arrivals would be restricted to just a photo call.

Ironically, Garner’s character pays dearly for the bad decisions made by her on-screen husband. Her suburban soccer mom-turned-urban vigilante executes drug dealers, dirty cops, and a corrupt judge while spitting out lines like, “You didn’t serve justice, your honor. I will.”

Director Pierre Morel, who also helmed “Taken,” made a brief speech before the movie started and thanked his star, whom he described as “the most wonderful, dedicated, and kind person I have ever met.”

The after-party took place not far — and yet a world away — from the film’s skid row setting at Wolfgang Puck’s Asian eatery WP24, which is perched high atop the Ritz-Carlton.

Jennifer Garner stars in PEPPERMINT

“Jennifer worked her booty off,” said one of the first guests to arrive, Shauna Duggins, who has been working as the actress’ stunt double for nearly 20 years (the two have been inseparable since the third episode of Garner’s TV series “Alias”). Duggins estimates that Garner performed 98% of her own stunts and trained for three months leading up to filming. “Every single fight scene is her. There are some hits, and you see her face hit the ground,” Duggins told Variety. “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.”

“What makes her a phenomenal actress is you can see her in these beautiful love stories and comedies and then she can step right into a revenge movie [like this],” added Duggins. “She’s not just out killing people — you feel every bit of her anguish, her physical pain and her emotional pain, and that’s why the audience is rooting for her. You want her to win.”

Duggins is hoping that a big win at the box office could spark a sequel or, better yet, a female-driven franchise. “Don’t we all dream that it can be? Absolutely,” she said. “I mean, look at ‘Taken.’ It was phenomenal and then they did two more. Jen can pull it off, obviously.”

Garner, meanwhile, was quite taken with the young actress who plays her daughter, Cailey Fleming, who was probably up way past her bedtime. The crowd slowly parted around them as they performed what started out as an impromptu dance-off, then evolved into a flawlessly choreographed routine. Laughing, Garner scooped up Fleming into her chiseled arms and spun her around.

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