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Why Ozark's Julia Garner Almost Quit Acting

Before she shot to superstardom playing Ruth Langmore — the no-nonsense, ass-kicking associate of prolific money launderer Marty Byrde (Jason Bateman) in the hit series "Ozark" — Julia Garner admitted that dwindling acting opportunities in Hollywood had her contemplating a career change.

Reflecting on her success for People in February 2023, Garner revealed the desperation she began to feel as an actor just before she landed her pivotal role in the Netflix crime drama. "When I was 21, I had a pretty dry year," she said. "This was before I booked 'Ozark.' It wasn't a great year for me as an actor. I felt a little hopeless. I wasn't getting jobs for a few months."

Garner mentioned quitting started to creep into her thoughts until playing Ruth on "Ozark changed her life. The series not only presented Garner with a solid role, it proved to be the ultimate launching pad for a new phase of the actor's career. Her ferocious turn as Ruth brought her several industry accolades, including Primetime Emmy Awards for outstanding supporting actress in a drama series in 2019, 2020, and 2022.

Garner gave herself a time limit to find show business success

Julia Garner's screen career kicked off in earnest in 2011 with a role in the indie cult thriller "Martha Marcy May Marlene," where she starred opposite Elizabeth Olsen, Sarah Paulson, and John Hawkes. Yet, while Garner appeared in more than a dozen projects in the years after her big-screen debut — including "The Perks of Being a Wallflower" in 2012 and "Sin City: A Dame to Kill For" in 2014 — she told People she began to feel her career had an expiration date once she hit her early 20s.

"I remember thinking, If I'm still in the same place in five years, I don't want to do this," Garner recalled. "You're not 16 or 17 anymore. You're not the bright, shiny new toy, and this business relies on shining. They love a shiny new toy. I booked 'Ozark' and I kept pushing because I felt like I still had a lot to do."

And Garner has already proved after "Ozark" that she is very capable of achieving much more. In 2022, she was nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award for outstanding lead actress in a limited or anthology series or movie for "Inventing Anna." Garner stars as Anna Delvey in the Netflix limited series, based on the real-life exploits of Anna Sorokin, a con artist who was eventually found guilty of swindling money from wealthy socialites in New York City.

Not everybody has reacted favorably to the series. Netflix got slapped with an eye-popping lawsuit over "Inventing Anna," where one of the real-life people portrayed in the series, Rachel Williams, claims she comes off as a villain in the story.