Academy Award winning actress Jennifer Connelly (A Beautiful Mind) talked to us about working on such a large scale practical set and about her Alita: Battle Angel character, Dr. Chiren. Neither bad or good, she’s someone with her own plans.
Screen Rant: Congratulations on the film. It’s one of the most visually stunning movies I’ve ever seen, but it also has so much humanity in it that blows my mind. Dr. Chiren is a complex character. What was it that you wanted to explore on screen that excited you to bring this character to life?
Jennifer Connelly: I thought she was not the person that she presented initially. So stubbornly she was kind of diluted frankly, you know, she’s trying to escape something that she thinks she can escape by leaving this literal place and obviously she can’t, but she’s kind of a delicious villain at the beginning or behaves like one and then we get to understand where it’s coming from and who she really is.
Screen Rant: That’s something to me that, I really loved about the character and about the film in general is that some, not all the characters are what they seem. One thing that really stands out about Alita is that even, even though she’s a cyborg, it’s her human interactions that kind of define her. Talk to me about how your character views Alita.
Jennifer Connelly: As an adversary, she feels affronted. I think it’s like she was accosted by her almost like the apparition of this character. I can’t really explain why without giving things away, but, it’s, it threatens her, threatens my character that she’s there and with each subsequent meeting with Alita something that I’ve tried to bury coming to the surface. And ultimately it kind of restores her, my character’s humanity.
Screen Rant: With the sets because everything looks so stunning. I know a lot of it, like Iron City was a practical set. Were you kind of overwhelmed by how in depth this stuff was because it looks amazing.
Jennifer Connelly: Yeah, it’s pretty beautiful. I love that. I love making movies where they’ve created these kinds of worlds. I always marvel at it and this one was very intricate and was very complete. You could walk inside a storefront and it would be completely dressed. Walk down the streets and turn corners. It just kept going. Really beautiful. And some of the vehicles can move.
Screen Rant: With Robert Rodriguez directing this. He did a fantastic job. Talk to me about how he helped inform your performance.
Jennifer Connelly: We had conversations about the character initially before we started making the film in pre production. But he was really kind of just supportive, you know, he was just supportive. It was a really nice environment that he created on set. You know, he does this and this sort of in his backyard with his family all around and so it’s a really nice environment that he creates to work in.
Screen Rant: Rosa (Salazar) is great in this. She’s so, so good. Is there any advice you would be able to give, like a young actor like Rosa or any advice that you did give her while you guys were on set together?
Jennifer Connelly: No, I wouldn’t. No. I thought she did a great job and didn’t need my advice at all.