Shelter is the story of two of New York’s homeless, Hannah and Tahir, falling in love while trying to survive the streets; but, actress Jennifer Connelly tells the story of another love affair. The tale in Shelter reminds Connelly of the romance she shared with husband Paul Bettany, who also happens to be Shelter‘s director.
Paul Bettany Won Jennifer Connelly’s Heart With A Guitar
Connelly revealed she first met Bettany 15 years ago and that it was love at first sight, or, more accurately, a deep connection at first sight, as the two happened to both be working on the set of A Beautiful Mind (2001). Jennifer says their first introduction was during the initial read through for A Beautiful Mind and the Shelter actress said she was impressed by Paul.
According to People magazine, Bettany was equally attracted to Jennifer, but he was also intimidated by her beauty.
“I’ve never been this close to someone that beautiful before,” confessed Shelter‘s director. “I remember thinking, ‘I bet every man you ever met has tried to flirt with you.”
Paul’s worries notwithstanding, he and Connelly began dating soon after filming wrapped on A Beautiful Mind and the couple married in 2003, a union that produced two children: Stellan, 12, and Agnes Lark, 4. Also joining the family is Connelly’s son from a previous marriage, Kai, 18.
It was Paul’s guitar playing that really won Jennifer Connelly over and the two have been a close couple ever since and, unlike some Hollywood couples, Connelly says their working relationship has never soured their relationship. Shelter is the fourth film to bring Jennifer Connelly and Paul Bettany together professionally and Jennifer says that working together only serves to strengthen the bond between them.
“I feel very creatively aligned with him,” Shelter actress Jennifer Connelly said. “We are drawn to similar types of films and filmmaking.”
Shelter Puts Faces On A Growing Problem
Even the trailer for Shelter is difficult to watch, dark and often times depressing. The actual film doesn’t promise anything different, but it seems that it gives a necessary look at a growing problem from the point of view of those actually living on the streets. The story that unfolds may, at its heart, be that of a romance but it’s messy and dismal through and through, touching on the topics of theft, drug addiction, prostitution, and the hard rules of living on the streets.
Connelly told CBS News that her character, Hannah, is a heroine addict and that the addiction creates some dark moments in Shelter.
“For a character like Hannah who has this habit, her world is reduced to getting her daily fix. And it’s very much revolved around her kit — you know, her drugs and her gear,” Jennifer says. “And so I was very specific about the bag, and what kind of bag, and what kind of needles.”
Filming on location in New York City, Connelly says that real New Yorkers were passing by and dropping change into her cup, while never realizing that she was actually a celebrated actress or that Connelly was playing a role. Still, Connelly never broke character and stayed dedicated to the dark tale, confessing that, as is sometimes the case, she may have become just a little obsessive over the role.
Still, Jennifer says that she wouldn’t trade her career as an actress for anything.
“I’m really blessed,” Ms. Connelly said. “I love my job. Love going to work. I just love it. I love getting it, I love preparing for it. I love the whole process. I love the whole ritual. I’m really very lucky. Lucky girl.”
Shelter hits theaters on December 11.
[Photo by Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images]