Skip to main content

Jennifer Garner Reveals Why 13 Going On 30 Co-Star Mark Ruffalo Nearly Dropped Out Of The Film

Mark Ruffalo and Jennifer Garner as Mattie and Jenna in 13 Going on 30
(Image credit: (Sony))

Long before Mark Ruffalo’s Marvel days, the actor memorably played opposite Jennifer Garner in the sweet 2004 rom-com, 13 Going On 30. The modern classic follows a preteen named Jenna Rink as she wishes herself to be “thirty, flirty and thriving” and then wakes up as Garner, a successful magazine editor who has lost touch with her BFF Mattie (Ruffalo). And at one point, the Avengers: Endgame actor almost said goodbye to Razzles and dream doll houses during the film’s production.

Jennifer Garner still loves talking about 13 Going On 30, recently calling it a “perfectly constructed” movie by its late director, Gary Winick. The Yes Day actress still thinks fondly of the comedy but did remember a small hiccup in the shoot regarding her charming co-star. In her words:

Our first rehearsal, I think it was Mark and Judy [Greer] and me, and Judy and I were both dancers growing up and poor Mark didn't know that. And he came in and he hated the rehearsal process so much he almost dropped out.

Of course, she’s talking about the unforgettable “Thriller” sequence. In the film, Jennifer Garner’s Jenna pressures Mark Ruffalo’s Mattie to join her on the dance floor and do the choreography from Michael Jackson’s famed music video and everyone ends up joining in. Garner recalls Ruffalo hated rehearsing that scene, especially since his partner had experience as a ballet dancer prior to taking the scene.

I don't know about you, but I think Ruffalo being rough around the edges with “Thriller” only added to the charm of the scene. The actor played this sort of every-man, boy-next-door type in 13 Going On 30, and it was adorable. Plus, it would make sense for Garner’s character to remember it like it was yesterday since she wakes up from being 13, whilst I’d be a while since Mattie turned up some ‘80s jams. Here’s the full scene:

Obviously, we couldn’t have imagined anyone else dancing beside Jennifer Garner’s Jenna in the beloved romantic comedy, and we’re so happy Ruffalo powered through. The actress revealed the details to TheSkimm with a bit of chuckle, so who knows just how seriously Ruffalo considered leaving. As you can imagine, if you were not apt in dancing and many others on set were, it would be a bit of an uphill battle to get through the sequence.

Over 15 years after the film’s release, Jennifer Garner and Mark Ruffalo will work together again in The Adam Project. They recently shared this adorable photo of their reunion:

See more

The actors will play the parents of Ryan Reynolds' character in a movie that will ironically enough be a bit of a reverse of 13 Going on 30. The Adam Project will have Reynolds going back in time to speak to his late father and get help from his 13-year-old self. Until their next film’s release, you can check out Garner’s latest movie, Yes Day, streaming on Netflix now.

Sarah El-Mahmoud

YA genre tribute. Horror May Queen. Word webslinger. All her writing should be read in Sarah Connor’s Terminator 2 voice over.