The Alias actor began her remarks by noting she was a last-minute replacement for Mark’s We Don’t Live Here Anymore co-star Laura Dern, who had recently tested positive for Covid-19.
Being asked to fill in for Laura, however, left Jennifer a little puzzled.
“Why wasn’t I asked to do this in the first place? I kicked off the Mark Ruffalo rom-com era,” she joked.
The success of 13 Going on 30 led to Mark’s roles in a string of romantic comedies, including Just Like Heaven and Rumor Has It.
Still, Garner questioned whether Mark’s co-stars in those films ― including Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon ―“enjoyed Mark’s anxiety as much as I did”.
“I wonder if he tried to drop out of their films like he did out of ours after the first rehearsal of the Thriller dance,” she quipped, “where Mark went from kind of shocked that we actually had to do this to antsy to a deathly quit to ‘Bro, this is not for me’.”
“You allow yourself to be fully known by your colleagues, by the audience, by the world,” she said.
“Your work on Poor Things deserves all of the awards, all of them. But the real success is in how thrilled and delighted your colleagues are to have the opportunity to lift you up and celebrate you. Every time your name is called, Hollywood takes a deep collective breath and says: ‘OK, the good and right thing has happened.’”
After Mark’s star was unveiled, he and Garner playfully recreated a few of their signature Thriller moves for photographers and onlookers.
Mark previously recalled his initial misgivings about 13 Going On 30 in 2022, when he and Jennifer teamed up again for Netflix’s The Adam Project.
“She had to drag me onto the dance floor. It took me six hours what she learned in about six minutes,” he said in an appearance on the ReelBlend podcast.
“She was so good at dancing, and I was so bad at it. I almost quit the movie because of it!”
Fortunately, Jennifer and director Gary Winick were able to convince Mark to stay. Released in 2004, 13 Going On 30 was a critical and commercial hit, raking in a reported $96 million at the box office worldwide.
Watch Jennifer Garner’s speech honoring Mark Ruffalo below. Her remarks begin around the 27:22 mark: