While Jennifer Connelly makes her animated feature debut in 9, the 38-year-old mother-of-two is also teaming up with her husband Paul Bettany – pictured above at the Toronto International Film Festival – in the controversial film Creation, exploring the life and work of Charles Darwin. Jennifer spoke with Parade about her new films and if she sees herself as an action-hero mom.
On playing an action-hero in the animiated film 9: “This was a good and safe way to start. I get to be this sort of cool warrior, but I didn’t have to train for the kicks and punches. The animators supplied the moves, so it was really fun. I was still pretty much doing as much as I could get away with without making noises that they do not want to pick up on the microphone. I tried to keep the rattling and clunking and foot stomping to a minimum, but I was trying to get myself into what was going on in the scenes, even if they are animated.”
On if she sees herself as an action-hero mom: “I don’t think of myself as being particularly vicious or aggressive, but it depends on the circumstances. Now that I’m a mother, I can relate a little more to things like women lifting a car off their kid or whatever. If there were a car on top of my baby, I’m going to try to move it for sure.”
On if 9 is a film for the whole family: “I think it is too dark for young kids, but I don’t really know what the cutoff is. My younger son is six and I think it is too frightening for him. My older son is 12 and he has seen it and loves it. But I think kids have been to a lot of action movies set in a post apocalyptic world that probably had more violence than 9 and weren’t animated.”
On her new film Creation: “My husband Paul and I play Charles and Emma Darwin in Creation. He, of course, is developing his theory of evolution and I’m a devout Christian whose faith contradicts his work. Even though they have this huge problem at the center of their marriage, they are full of love for one another. It’s well documented in the letters that they wrote to each other where they often faced their problems through written correspondence rather than talking to each other in the same room. They would try to sort out their conflicts and she would implore him to read certain passages from the Bible, and he would explain to her his gradual loss of faith.”
On the controversy surrounding Creation: “It’s being released in Britain this month, but it doesn’t have a U.S. distributor yet. I know some people have problems with the subject, but I think information is power. People should be informed and then left to their own beliefs. I think making a film about Charles Darwin and Emma Darwin should not be controversial. No one involved in making the film, in any way, dismissed anyone else’s beliefs, religious or otherwise.”
On taking a vacation after her busy work schedule: “I’m really obsessive about work. Much to the chagrin of people who live with me, I kind of have a hard time not thinking about it, no matter what it is. But I’ve just taken a long time off. That’s what you get as an actor, you have periods where it’s really busy and then periods where you’re blessed to have the luxury of that much time off as a family.”
On her body of work: “I admit to having done some silly movies along the way. But I learned even from the worst of them. I hope the work I’m doing now is more reflective of who I really am. I am really happy now and I feel quite grounded.”