Julia Garner Is Ozark’s Not-So-Secret Weapon

Julia Garner Is Ozark’s Not-So-Secret Weapon
  • Julia Garner plays Ruth Langmore on Ozark.
  • She’s been the best character for all three seasons of the show’s run—and won an Emmy for her work in Season 2.
  • She’s once again nominated for an Emmy for her work in Season 3, where she continued her incredible work as the character.

    There are a lot of top-level acting talents in Ozark—Jason Bateman (Marty Byrde) is a bona fide movie star, Laura Linney (Wendy Byrde) is a powerhouse who’s been nominated for an Oscar three times, and Janet McTeer (Helen Pierce) has been nominated for a pair of Oscars of her own. Which is why it’s saying a lot when we say that Julia Garner—who plays the scrappy, enterprising Ruth Langmore—is the best character, giving the best performance on the show.

    From her start as a backwoods scam artist in the first season, we’ve seen Ruth grow closer to the Byrdes through the years, to the point where she’s considered a part of the family for most of Season 3. However, blood is thicker than water, and Ruth is always feeling the back and forth pull between her alliance to Marty and Wendy, and her pull to her roots ,with other Langmores, and other locals like Darlene Snell. For all the depth in her performance, Garner, 26, won an Emmy for Best Supporting Actress in a Drama at last year’s Primetime Emmys, and is nominated again in the same category this year for Season 3.

    In a way, Ruth is Ozark’s parallel to Jesse Pinkman (Aaron Paul) on Breaking Bad. The difference being, however, that Ruth is a character in significantly more control; while she has been brought into the business by Marty and has an important relationship with him, she’s much more of his equal and respected partner. Walter White, on the other hand, emotionally abused and manipulated Jesse at just about every step of their journey together.

    In her performance, Garner gets so much to do. Not only does she get to be the most badass character in the show—she’s on the ground doing much of the dirty work, while Marty and Wendy are generally operating behind the scenes—but she gets to flex a lot of great character moments, too. She shares a relationship with Wendy’s brother, Ben, and also a rivalry with Frank Cosgrove Jr., the gangster from Kansas City. When the show eventually returns for a Season 4, you can be sure that she’ll be back for more.

    Her acting has stood out elsewhere, too. Earlier in 2020, her role in The Assistant, an independent film inspired by the horrible scenarios that Harvey Weinstein put some of his employees through, was one of the most acclaimed movies of the year. That movie is now available to stream on Hulu, and has been an overperformer on iTunes and other platforms.

    Garner isn’t just known for her work on Ozark, either—she’s made a big splash in the entertainment industry the last few years.

    Julia Garner has been in several other great shows too.

    julia garner maniac

    Netflix

    Even aside from her award-winning role on Ozark, Garner has made a splash in the last several years in acclaimed TV series. Back in 2018, she played Emma Stone’s sister in Cary Fukunaga’s underrated Netflix series Maniac. She also played one of Connie Britton’s daughters in the television adaptation of the hit podcast Dirty John, and had her own standalone storyline in a pair of episodes of Modern Love, the anthology show based on the famous New York Times column.

    Even before that, Garner had been making waves on television: she had a recurring role in The Americans, FX’s hit series about Russian spies in America during the ’80s, and also played a part in the Paramount Network’s Waco miniseries that focused on the true story of cult leader that got involved in a police stand-off.

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    She’s married to a rock star.

    In December 2019, Garner married Mark Foster, a rock star best known as the lead singer for the band Foster the People. The couple were engaged in May of the same year.

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    She was in one of 2020’s most acclaimed movies so far.

    the assistant julia garner

    Bleecker Street Films

    As we touched upon earlier, Garner received widespread acclaim for her performance in The Assistant, which came out on a limited basis at the end of January and is now available to rent on Amazon, VOD, and iTunes.

    The movie is about a young college graduate entering a job in the film production world, and is loosely based on things that were learned in light of the #MeToo movement and the crimes of Harvey Weinstein. The movie currently has a 90% rating on Rotten Tomatoes and co-stars Succession star (and fellow 2020 Emmy nominee!) Matthew Macfayden.

    Stream The Assistant Here

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    Her next series could be her best yet.

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    Garner was cast in the leading titular role of Inventing Anna, Shonda Rhimes Netflix series focusing on the story of the so-called SoHo grifter, Anna Delvey. Based on the The Cut story, Garner will be playing “Anna Delvery,” a slightly-changed version of the real-life scam artist who ended up in prison. With the excitement that people had behind looking at things like the Fyre Festival and Theranos, it wouldn’t be shocking if Garner’s turn in Inventing Anna became an absolutely enormous hit, perhaps even bigger than Ozark.

    The series, which will air on Netflix, hasn’t revealed a release date yet—and while it was said to be filming, it’s likely that the series will be hit with a delay due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Hopefully we hear an update on this soon—because it sounds like something we’d love to be watching as soon as possible.


    Evan is an associate editor for Men’s Health, with bylines in The New York Times, MTV News, Brooklyn Magazine, and VICE.

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