To get the intense “I don’t give an F” vibe she wants for Ruth on “Ozark,” Garner listens to ’90s hip-hop music to pump her up for a scene. Garner also uses journaling as an acting tool, creating diaries for her characters to express themselves. “I don’t write a journal personally, but I have an acting journal where I write as the characters that I’m playing,” she told W magazine. “I would be writing, ‘I don’t know how I’m feeling about Marty,’ or how I’d be feeling, what’s my objective — how you would write personally in your journal, but as the character.”
It isn’t just the attitude she works on for her characters, but also smaller things like the way they walk and what they wear. For example, when Ruth tries to fit in with the country club feel of her bosses, Garner made sure she wore press-on nails. “She’s trying to be something she’s not … and in the middle of the season, she takes off the nails,” Garner told The Hollywood Reporter.
Garner also discussed her love for the minutiae in a 2020 Gold Derby interview. “So much of acting for me is detail,” she said, before discussing how big boots helped her develop Ruth’s iconic walk. “I don’t walk like that, just letting you know … I was stomping around and I remember making a joke out of it and I was like, ‘Oh, I actually like that for the character.'”