Jennifer Connelly stars in the remake of the 1951 sci-fi classic The Day the Earth Stood Still as a scientist and single mother who decides to help the alien Klaatu and his robot Gort on their mission to deliver a message to planet earth. ReelzChannel sat down recently with Connelly to talk about the role.
RC: Your character is quite different than the one Klaatu meets in the original movie -- mainly because she understands him scientifically. That's quite interesting; it gives your character an opportunity to approach him from a different angle.
Connelly: Yes, certainly, they become entwined much quicker in our version than originally in the 1951 version. For people who haven't seen it, my character is played by Patricia Neal -- who is phenomenal by the way, really fantastic -- but she is a secretary in the film. I play an astrobiologist and so I have a reason to encounter him that much earlier. What they have in common, those characters I think, Patricia Neal was a very strong woman. Helen was very strong and she was open-minded, which our Helen is, as well.
RC: Very strong women. But I guess there's more curiosity with your character, because you want to know things for lots of reasons and you have so many questions. It makes me feel like you had a lot of questions going into the project.
Connelly: Yeah, I tend to come with a lot of questions, and I knew nothing about astrobiology so there was a lot for me to learn there. Scott Derrickson was great. We had a really generous rehearsal schedule. We spent a lot of time -- Keanu [Reeves] and Scott and I -- just sitting in a room going through the script, questioning everything, talking about what we wanted to accomplish, did all the scenes support that, was there anything we can do, any amending? He was very accessible, really collaborative.
RC: You haven't done very many movies on this scale. When shooting, did it feel as big as it actually looked?
Connelly: Yeah, it felt like it wanted to be a big, entertaining movie. We were aware of that. It's kind of an interesting mixture, though. It also needed to have this quieter, dramatic component. [The movie] always had that kind of social commentary, and it was sort of provocative and, I think, really interesting. We always knew that Gort had to be cool, and the sphere had to be really cool and impressive. I think they did a great job with that stuff.
RC: And Klaatu is playing a son and a mother role and not even realizing it. I guess you don't even realize that he's doing that?
Connelly: I think it starts to repair when they each take responsibility for their own contributions to the conflict. And I think that it's essential for Klaatu to observe that humans have that capacity to take responsibility and to move towards change.