Jennifer Garner on How She Became an Action Machine for ‘Peppermint’

Jennifer Garner is kicking some serious butt in a PEOPLE exclusive featurette about the making of her new film, Peppermint.

The star, 46, brings Riley North to life in this action drama about a mother seeking justice after her husband and daughter are killed in a drive-by shooting.

Garner opens up about playing Riley, saying in the clip, “I was excited right from the jump. The first time I read the script for Peppermint because it’s an original story and there’s a strong woman at the middle.”

“My character, Riley, watches this happen in front of her. She sees the people who killed her family,” Garner says. “She discovers the police and the people who should be helping her are all on the wrong side of the law.”

In a sequence of intense action scenes in which the actress punches, shoots and maims her family’s killers, Garner shows audiences she was deep into her character.

“She just shuts down her heart, goes into hiding and spends the next five years becoming a machine,” she says.

“She immediately takes matters into her own hands to make sure those people are brought to justice,” the mother of three continues. “The fact that she just says I’m a mom, I’m taking care of this and I’m going to do what I need to do. That, I’m inspired by. I’ve never gotten the chance to play that kind of visceral need to defend, or protect or take care of someone in your family.”

As for how she trained for those killer action sequences, Garner reveals she immersed herself into physical training.

“I’ve been training for a while on this. I did MMA skills, gun skills, knife skills. It was the connection to the physical that made me kind of understand her fight for her daughter,” she says.

Jennifer Garner Joins Lakeshore & Pierre Morel-Helmed Revenge Thriller ‘Peppermint’

Thank you Deadline for this exciting news!

EXCLUSIVE: Jennifer Garner is in talks to star in Peppermint, the Chad St. John-scripted action film for Lakeshore that will be directed by Pierre Morel. At the same time, the film is in the process of moving: STXfilms is in talks to distribute the film worldwide. It looked like Lionsgate had secured worldwide rights during Cannes, but that arrangement has fallen apart.

The high-action revenge thriller premise has been likened to John Wick, with a female protagonist. When her husband and daughter are gunned down in a drive-by, the heroine wakes up from a coma and spends years learning to become a lethal killing machine. On the 10th anniversary of her family’s death, she targets everyone she holds responsible, the gang that committed the act, the lawyers that got them off, and the corrupt cops that enabled the murderous incidents. Lakeshore’s Tom Rosenberg and Gary Lucchesi are producing.

Garner will hone action chops not seen since her breakthrough role as the ass kicking operative Sydney Bristow in the JJ Abrams-created series Alias, which led to her playing Elektra in the Marvel film Daredevil and a solo spinoff movie. She has more recently become known for her work in such films as Dallas Buyers Club and Miracles From Heaven. WME and Management 360 rep Garner. Morel and St.John are UTA and Morel is managed by Sentient Entertainment.