'Camping' stars Jennifer Garner and David Tennant gush about being fans of 'Girls' and talk about where their show is now headed
It was 'Girls' which had drove the 'Alias' alum and the former Time Lord to take up the show created by Lena Dunham and Jenni Konner.
Lena Dunham and Jenni Konner's new HBO series 'Camping' starring Jennifer Garner and David Tennant is up and running, and the two lead actors cannot help but gush about the fact that they finally have the chance to work with the creators of 'Girls'. Garner stars as the obsessively, compulsive Kathryn who has arranged a weekend camping trip to celebrate the 45th birthday of her husband, Walt (played by Tennant). While both the actors are playing characters very different from their former genres, the sheer thought of working with Dunham and Konner acted as a big YES to being the show.
Speaking with The Ringer, both Garner and Tennant confessed that the reason behind their liking 'Girls' was the characters. Garner stated that she was introduced to the show by a young nanny who would help her take care of her kids. She explained, "For me, it felt like an insight into—my kids have had an incredible nanny who’s much younger than I am, and I felt like I was watching her life when 'Girls' came on. She was introducing it to me and saying, 'This is how this is now'. And I would say, 'I can’t imagine that!'" Tennant, who too agreed with Garner's statement described 'Girls' as a "fresh and honest and true and funny" show.
The tenth Time Lord praised Dunham and Konner's former show which followed the story of the 20-something Hannah (played by Dunham), a writer who never writes, and who is continuously critical about people and things around her. Tennant states that it was something extremely new on television as it had broken all stereotypes regarding women-driven shows. He mentioned, "You just felt a new voice and a clear voice. And also a good show, with characters that you believed and a world that you might not know, but you absolutely felt like you were looking through a very clear window into."
Probably that is why when the two creators approached the two of them, they were all up for the show, which is based on the 2016 British mini-series by Julia Davis. Both Tennant and Garner mentioned that the original series had influenced their work in a big way. Garner, however, recalled that she was specifically told not to be the "America's sweetheart" that she has been on several movies like 'Valentine's Day' and '13 Going on 30'. She mentioned, "Jenni and Lena were very clear with me about this as well, to not give in to softening Kathryn too much. To hold on to the rigidity of her, and let that just be who she was. Not trying to make her more likable or more human."
Garner has pretty much succeeded in keeping up with the "not likable" aspect of Kathryn since the character has been overtly criticized for being "unlikable". However, that only proves how precise Dunham must have been with her direction and how well Garner has managed to adopt Kathryn, just as Tennant rightly says, "It’s fascinating that Lena and Jenni could have taken that show, which is so vivid and so brilliant, and created something equally brilliant and from the same building blocks, and yet very much its own show." However, as it is required of every script dealing with a complex character, Garner's Kathryn will probably come to a full circle by the end of the show.
During the interview, Garner mentioned that her character certainly goes through multiple changes during the course of the show. She indicated that the changes might "accelerate towards the end". "I think she can change. I think it’s really important to remember that she is someone who’s living with pain that’s unseen. It’s chronic. It’s something that’s misunderstood, been misdiagnosed. She’s been cut open a billion times, and no one has really gotten to the bottom of it. So that has changed her. That’s fundamentally changed who she is, and her capacity for dealing with other people, and how much she thinks about herself. It’s made her much more brittle and shrill," Garner explained.
Dunham has sketched Kathryn out of her own self, and certainly, the director/actress' own struggles with chronic illness and hysterectomy have been the biggest elements in etching out the character. Garner has presented Kathryn with a stumbling gait and an uncomfortable physical appearance and padding them up with the dialogues, Kathryn is a complete package representing the women who suffer from such physical ailments. Probably a lot of Kathryn's frustration was psychosomatic, and probably that is one of the features which must have helped Garner cope with her character and be able to relate to her.
She explained, "It’s the fact that people would automatically think it was psychosomatic that is so tricky. Because I have to believe that it’s real, at least for myself. I think she really has been in pain, and she’s focused on it so much, maybe she’s made it worse. But that’s not even fair for me to say, because I’ve never dealt with it." As for Walt, Tennant explained that Kathryn's pain no more seems real enough to him, considering the years of tolerance that went along with it. Tennant confessed, "I think Walt fears that they’ve gotten to a place where it’s not real anymore. He fears that it’s become a behavior rather than a fact."
Both Garner and Tennant shed light on the fact that probably Kathryn's physical discomfort has been getting in the way of her relationship with her husband, and maybe there are times when she actually does not consider her husband's feelings. Tennant stated, "He doesn’t want to hurt her, clearly, but he also doesn’t want to unleash her, and he doesn’t want to unleash the fury that he sometimes gets thrown on his head. So I think he’s gotten very nervous about how delicate the situation has got, and that they’re maybe not coming back from that. I think that’s his fear—that things are broken, and they can’t be glued back together."
Probably Walt and Kathryn are off on a rocky road in their relationship, and maybe the continuous turmoil between the two will result in some severe breakdowns for their son, Orvis (played by Duncan Joiner), who might want to move out of the house even before he turns 18. However, there are chances that we will see Kathryn develop into someone a little more tolerant and a little more accepting than what she is right now, as the series progresses. As of now, we can only wait to see what happens next. 'Camping' returns to HBO on Sunday, on October 21, at 10:00 p.m.