Although she's been a jobbing actress since the 80s, it wasn't until her Oscar win for A Beautiful Mind that Jennifer Connelly finally arrived in Hollywood. Ang Lee's Hulk was a disappointing follow-up, but more acclaim was heaped upon her for a startling turn in House Of Sand And Fog. Always up for something different, Connelly now takes a stab at psychological horror in Walter Salles' remake of Hideo Nakata's Dark Water.
Did you have any reservations about remaking a film that was already beloved by horror fans?
I thought about it, but then I thought I was a fan of the original film as well and I was curious to see how this would be. And it was out of respect, not disrespect for the film that we were doing a version of it. Not to take away from the film that Hideo Nakata had made, which is still a great film and worth seeing, but this is it's own film. It's respectful of it but it's also a departure. It's been translated into English and adapted for a western audience. The biggest difference is that there's more time spent in character development. It has that same balance between having emotional depth and bein thought provoking, while also being, hopefully, a scary film.
Were you one of those kids who loved a good ghost story?
I used to try and scare my mom into not smoking by dressing as a ghost, ruining all her favourite sheets by cutting eyeholes in them. I remember doing that. I truly believed in ghosts and felt that they had a strange power, but I don't remember reading ghost stories. My uncle used to record these vampire stories, and my cousins and I would go into a room, he'd turn a tape recorder on and play it and we'd sit there in the dark getting scared out of our wits. I remember that.
Do you see any similarities between Kathy (the character you played in House Of Sand And Fog) and Dahlia in this film?
I think that they're really different characters, Kathy and Dahlia, but they're both struggling. For Kathy it's more like depression and for Dahlia it's more a difficult time in her life, going through a divorce and a custody battle. For someone with her temperament and history it's really a difficult thing. They're both complicated characters in crisis. They're also well written characters - complex characters in stories that I thought were interesting.
Are you hankering for something lighter now?
I think doing a comedy would be very interesting - a smart comedy after these couple of films. I get offered a lot of drug addict parts, women on the verge and whatnot, so I think I'm going to do a comedy. I'd better not do a real bomb. I'd better try and be careful about it, otherwise they'll say, "See, I told you she was nuts, and dark!"
How did you develop such a convincing bond with your onscreen daughter Ariel Gade?
Threats! I threatened her a lot. I told her she really had to make me look good, 'hairy or sweaty', as my husband [Paul Bettany] likes to say to the kids. She was great, really lovely. She's the same age as my son Kai. We spent a lot of time together in rehearsals. Walter was really smart in setting up time for us together before we started shooting. Not only in going through scenes, in the locations, but also just talking about what it's like being in New York and being away from San Diego, how she feels about her grandma, moving houses and her new puppy. She would come over to our house and play hide and seek, stuff like that.
What about the wet working conditions - was that a problem for you?
At worst it was a minor nuisance. The deluge that we went through at the end of the film - they saved it until the end too. They waited, they really got me - but they made it very comfortable, except for the first day. They had some problems with the water temperature. It was very cold. But after that they were really repentant. I had a hot tub on set, which was very nice. Paul [Bettany] and [son] Stellan were in it most of the time.
You'll be working with Kate Winslet next...
I've met her. She's someone that I've seen in passing at different things, and we've chatted a few times about kids and pregnancy and that kind of thing. Every time I meet her I think she's a nice girl. I really like her. It's a film called Little Children. It's being directed by Todd Field and it's based on the book by Todd Perrotta who also wrote Election. It's about thirtysomethings and their kids and playground politics and married people not wanting to grow up - a kind of satirical view on all that. That starts filming on July 18th.
Dark Water is released in UK cinemas on Friday 22nd July 2005.