During an event at the 2016 Tribeca Film Festival on Friday night, Chris Rock interviewed J.J. Abrams about his career, from Felicity to Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
When they got to talking about Alias, Abrams' ABC spy drama, he revealed that he wrote the show with Jennifer Garner in mind after working with her on Felicity. But she almost didn't get the part of Sydney Bristow.
"She came in and was amazing, and I remember someone at the network was like, 'I don't know, is she hot enough?'" Abrams said. "The executive's no longer there," he added.
He went on to sing Garner's praises. "She did everything. It was incredible," Abrams said. "Doing the pilot, which I directed, I remember watching her kind of find this strength in herself that was just so cool to see. She did just a spectacular job."
Rock added that he once heard a similarly sexist criticism of Kerry Washington.
"I once... I'm not going to say the woman's name, but an executive at a film company that probably weighs, I don't know, 165 [to] 180 [pounds], was like, 'Mmm, Kerry Washington's getting a little big,'" Rock recalled. "A woman. A woman!"
Jaimie Etkin is the entertainment editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.