Elizabeth Banks: Jennifer Garner Got Alias Role When We Both Worked in NYC Restaurant Scene

Jennifer Garner and Elizabeth Banks
Elizabeth Banks revealed at the Elle Women in Hollywood celebration that she and Jen Garner once worked at the same restaurant, though they didn't know each other until much later in their acting careers. Michael Buckner/Getty Images

Look at them now! Elizabeth Banks revealed at the Elle Women in Hollywood celebration on Monday, Oct. 20, that she and Jennifer Garner once worked in the NYC restaurant scene at the same time, when the Alias star landed her career-launching TV gig. Banks also spoke about how Annette Bening inspired her to push her way through her acting career.

Banks, 40, one of the evening's honorees, took to the stage after a funny introduction made by her Hunger Games costar Jennifer Lawrence. "When I was in drama school, Annette Bening came to [give a speech]," recalled Banks. "And that’s the bulls— I've been doing since then. F—ing studying Chekhov and Shakespeare. F—ing making a porno movie [Zack and Miri Make a Porno]. So, I went to drama school and Annette came and she was very forthcoming about all types of [problems in Hollywood] like not getting paid enough money, because her costar Denzel Washington was going to make like 10 times as much money as her, and all these amazing things."

How did Banks react to Bening's speech? "I was like, s—!" she told the crowd of high-profile stars filtered to the Four Seasons Hotel. "Hollywood is going to be tough! But I was so excited that Annette Bening — I mean she’s married to Warren f—ing Beatty — she like, showed up to my little school and was like, 'Keep going, keep going!'"

Another person to inspire Banks throughout her acting career was Garner, the 30 Rock alum revealed. "That was the encouragement I needed in that moment," Banks reflected of Bening. "So I went to New York City and I was a waitress on the Upper West Side and Jennifer Garner was a waitress [at the same restaurant] on the Upper West Side."

Garner yelled from the crowd, "I was a hostess, baby!"

"A hostess, sorry," Banks quipped. "Jennifer Garner, it turns out, was so f—ing nice, that literally, I didn’t even know her, but I knew of her. Everyone was like, 'Did you hear about the hostess who got that f—ing awesome TV show Alias, and we were like, 'F—! Yeah she's cool! She's so f—ing nice! She deserves that gig! She deserves! She’s cool!' Literally!"

Hearing about Garner the hostess landing a TV role encouraged Banks even more. "I was like, 'She did it man!' She’s no longer a f—ing hostess! Like I might not always be a waitress! It might work out!' I got super encouraged. I got super encouraged." Banks concluded her speech by referencing Garner's introduction from Steve Carell. "And now she's like Steve Carell's best friend. I did a movie with Steve Carell and he didn’t f—ing come up here! I had Jen, I had Jen! You were better, you were better!" Banks shouted at Jennifer Lawrence.

Sign up now for the Us Weekly newsletter to get breaking celebrity news, hot pics and more delivered straight to your inbox!

Want stories like these delivered straight to your phone? Download the Us Weekly iPhone app now!