The actress celebrates half a century of life cultivating a reputation for being distant. However, she has carved out an eclectic and solid career in Hollywood accustomed to punishing women.
April 2014, premiere of Darren Aronofsky’s ‘Noe’ in the heart of Madrid. A reporter from this medium has the immense honor of asking a few questions about the protagonists of that fantastical and ambitious film. Among them, is a very tall and beautiful Jennifer Connelly.
The question, improvised and somewhat quick due to the circumstances, is whether she has prepared much for her role as the wife of the mythical (real or fictitious, each with her own beliefs) character from the Old Testament. Her response is cold, and direct, one might even say unfriendly.
Noah’s loving wife in the film claims, somewhat sullenly, that “everyone knows” the story of the creator of the biblical ark. “It’s just a few pages of Genesis,” she adds reluctantly. The rest of the reporters present comment, cheekily, that the protagonist of ‘A Beautiful Mind’ not only dislikes some questions but also that they focus too much on her hands or feet. Maybe because she is no longer that girl who got lost with Bowie ‘inside the labyrinth’. Cinema came, in fact, by chance to this woman who turns half a century this Saturday.
Jennifer Connelly was only 14 years old when she worked for Sergio Leone in ‘Once Upon a Time in America’ and she made it to that film, today a legend of modern cinema, without intending to have an acting career. A friend of the Connelly family worked in the world of advertising in the early 80s. It was he who, given the beauty of little Jen, suggested to her parents that they take her to castings. The girl started working as a child model and, suddenly, she found herself in Leone’s blockbuster, surrounded by stars like James Caan and Robert De Niro. “I remember what I did, for the most part, but I don’t know why. I had no aspirations, I didn’t have movie posters in my room, and I wasn’t a fan of movies. I liked Evel Knievel and animals. And I liked science and English,” she recalled of her first film experience. Over time, ‘In the Labyrinth’ would arrive, alongside the aforementioned Bowie, and other already essential titles such as ‘Requiem for a Dream’ or ‘A Beautiful Mind’, for which she won an Oscar thanks to her performance as Alicia Nash.
Over her nearly four-decade career, it’s no secret that Connelly has cultivated a reputation for being cold and distant. Perhaps that is why we have found it easier to believe many of her characters, marked by the drama and the coldness of her gaze. In her private life, secrecy has been part of her life from minute one. Since 2003 she has shared her life with Paul Bettany, with whom she has two children. Although they are both actors and famous, it is rare to see them showing off on the red carpet, as other Hollywood couples do and have done. To understand each other, they have nothing to do with the current Brangelinas. The actress also has another child from her previous relationship with photographer David Dugan. That love of youth did not make it to the altar but they say that it filled Connelly with happiness. “If I got married, I would prefer not to get divorced. And I didn’t get to the point where I felt it was the choice,” she commented on the matter in 2002.
Style icon (just remember her daring and wonderful looks at premieres like ‘Alita’ or on the red carpet at Cannes) and actress with extensive records, Jennifer Connelly have managed to make herself essential in an industry that crushes its children prodigy or penalizes maturity in women. A far from trivial achievement in the neoliberal Hollywood of this time of uncertainty; a feat for which it is perhaps necessary to err on the side of unfriendly.