Jennifer Connelly on Darren Aronofsky’s biblical epic, Noah, and her favourite collaborators
Two Oscar winners, an atheist director and a $130 million budget—that’s what’s gone into the making of what director Darren Aronofsky often calls the “the least biblical biblical film ever made”. Despite the flood of criticism Noah has received (Christian religious groups claim it is a loose interpretation of a sacred script), its female lead, Jennifer Connelly, says that “while it is very creative, bold and complex, it’s true to the spirit of the story in the Bible.” The 43-year-old, who recently made news for the jewel-encrusted Givenchy gown she wore to the film’s premiere in Mexico, will be seen next in Shelter (directed by husband Paul Bettany) and Winter’s Tale with Colin Farrell. For now, she tells us about Noah, how it was working in extreme conditions:
Why did you say ‘yes’ to this role? Was it the chance to work with Darren Aronofsky again?
Well, I’ve worked with both Darren and Russell (Crowe) before and each of them were very important experiences for me. I’m a fan of both of their work.
Had you all changed in your approach to work since you last collaborated?
Yes, the circumstances of our lives are now very different than they were the last time we worked together. This film and the dynamic between our characters is very different, and yet there was something very familiar about it, too. It was amazing to see Darren at the helm of this big epic film. I think he handled it so well. And I love working with Russell, too. As an actor he’s so engaged with the material and with the actors he is working with.
Did you draw on your own experiences as a wife and a mother?
Well, I think it’s inevitable that you do… because being a mother is a huge part of who I am. Naameh is the same; she is fiercely protective of her family. So I drew on the love and the fear of loss I have at a very gut level—that’s where the emotions come from.
The film uses CGI. But Darren also built a lot of sets.
Having amazing sets like that is an enormous help. We didn’t use real animals in the film. But in the ark, we had these models and they were unbelievable. It was better than any natural history museum that I’ve ever been to. I took my kids to the set for a field trip.
You were working in some extreme conditions.
I think you pretty much sign on for that when you do a movie called Noah. There’s going to be water (laughs). We had a lot of different temperatures to contend with. We started working in Iceland for the exteriors. And then we were shooting in the summer on Long Island and the actors were drenched with sweat, it was so hot.
Noah is scheduled to release today.