The 47-year-old actress shared a sweet Instagram post about the movie's 15th anniversary on Tuesday, reflecting on the beloved film's impact, especially when it comes to the young actresses who played her friends. Garner plays Jenna Rink in the film, a 13-year-old girl who wakes up 29 years old and just about to turn 30, after wishing to be 30 when she's humiliated at her birthday party. The film also stars Judy Greer as mean girl Lucy "Tom-Tom" Wyman, and Mark Ruffalo, who plays her love interest and childhood best friend, Matt Flamhaff.
Garner gave a shout-out to all of the young actresses who starred in the film, including Brie Larson and Ashley Benson, who had roles as girls in the popular group dubbed the "Six Chicks."
"Fifteen years ago today #13GoingOn30 made her debut, directed with ❤ by our beloved Gary Winick and a clutch of loving, hardcore producers (3 brilliant women -- before it was cool to be led by women!)," Garner wrote. "The movie benefited from the performances of so many young actresses. Open and twinkly-magical then -- now, 15 years later, they are ruling the world. (Hi #SixChicks—@brielarson, @ashleybenson, @christabrittany -- who also played a young me in Ghosts of Girlfriends Past -- and my own sweet @revjuliaroth).
Garner shared the memorable scene of her and her friends from the film dancing to Pat Benatar's "Love Is a Battlefield" at a slumber party, and also posted incredible before and after individual pics of the successful women the girls are today.
"I loved my day with this slumber party crew: they danced with abandon and reminded me of the power of just saying yes -- to being in a group, to vulnerability, to wearing a bra over your clothes," she recalled. "At the last minute I tossed my adopted L.A. family member Maddy Sprung-Keyser into the scene. @maddsk went on to be an Academic All American swimmer at Amherst, got her law degree from NYU, and is producing podcasts for @pineapple.fm. Looking back into her adolescence -- with the hair and the men not wanting to jump her bones -- is extra special today. Imagine if every 13 year old girl had an opportunity to dance and feel beautiful like the girls in this film. I am proud of all of you. ❤"
"I feel so, so lucky to have had the experience of making this joyful movie," Garner wrote. "And even luckier to be part of something that, all of these years later, can still make people (hi, @arianagrande) smile."
Grande excitedly commented on the post with multiple exclamation points and black heart emojis.
"Fifteen years ago, someone paid me to be Jennifer Garner's best friend," Greer said. "In Hollywood, it's next to impossible to stay in touch with people after you finish a job because it's like summer camp: you get so close, so fast, but real life happens after you wrap. . . . But from the minute I met JG at our first rehearsal for 13 Going on 30, I knew that I really didn't want that to happen."
" ... Even though I got paid all those years to do it, I'm so lucky to be your friend every day for free now," she continued.
"I remember it was like the moment when I realized that I really wanted to direct,” she shared. “I remember paying a lot of attention to where the camera was and the camera moves, thinking about how I would have cut it together and then seeing the movie and seeing how it differed from what I thought."
"We had the sweetest time," he recalled. "[Jennifer] was a big star then but I was kind of just starting out. She was just so lovely."
"We were making this really sweet movie that had a great message for young girls," he added. "We were all sort of coming into our own in that moment. We really loved that story, and Jen was just transformed into a 13-year-old girl. It was really amazing."