By Fred Topel | Image property of 20th Century Fox
The Day the Earth Stood Still
Oscar winner Jennifer Connelly often tackles heavy dramatic subject matter in her films. When she does a more mainstream comic book or horror movie, she still brings her A game. So the remake of The Day the Earth Stood Still benefits from her commitment.
Earth Stood Still for Jennifer Connelly
"I don’t want to classify films into what is serious and what isn’t," she said. "In terms of the way that I work, I can’t say, 'Oh, I’m doing this one for whatever superficial reason.' Everything I become involved in working on, I’m so committed. I’m so madly, compulsive, and obsessive about it. I approach it with the same seriousness, on everything."
Likewise, she did not take the decision to remake a classic lightly. "It had a great impact on me when I read the script. I thought that it was really powerful. I loved that it was a movie that was looking at how we treat each other, how we live on the earth, whether we do that responsibly. We have a tendency to be self-destructive. It just really struck me. I thought it was poignant and moving. It was a great combination of that in a film that was exciting, dramatic, thrilling, and suspenseful."
As Helen Benson, Connelly's character spends the film trying to convince Klaatu that humanity deserves a chance to change its ways. "It felt like a huge responsibility but I was happy. I think it was really clever what [director] Scott [Derrickson] did. It’s not just Helen. It’s not just on my shoulders in reality. I think that the relationship between Helen and Jacob is employed in a different way than it is in the original film. It really functions as a little microcosm of human nature and how we are treating each other. They're sort of in conflict and there's a bit of a crisis and then there's a sort of reconciliation. They each take responsibility and there’s a move towards resolution and Klaatu observes this so there is that dynamic."
Helen doesn't take her job as spokeswoman for humanity lightly either. "I wanted people to be able to identify with her and I thought it was important that she herself be aware of the task and the enormity of that task and that position. So I liked that she has a moment with Barnhardt where she says, 'What do I do? Tell me what to do?' She’s aware what the stakes are and what she’s found herself in. I liked about Patricia Neal’s character in the original that she is open-minded and she's very strong, free thinking individual. I thought that was important to carry over, that bravery and thought as qualities, to be human without prejudice, without bias was really essential, that she be able to communicate, and that you feel the depths of her love. I thought those were all really important things."
The Day the Earth Stood Still opens to theaters on December 12th.