She's been an actress since the age of 11, and after 20 years of small roles and independent films, Jennifer Connelly has finally hit it big with the critics. The actress is up for an Academy Award for her role as Alicia Nash, the wife of schizophrenic math genius John Nash in A Beautiful Mind.
ABCNEWS' Diane Sawyer sat down with Connelly on Good Morning America to talk about her latest role and to find out what the actress is like behind the scenes.
The following is a uncorrected, unedited transcript of the interview that aired on Good Morning America.
ABCNEWS' DIANE SAWYER: First of all, Alicia Nash, you did talk to her before, before you did it.
ACTRESS JENNIFER CONNELLY: I did. From her I just got sort of the sense of her bearing, of her countenance, of her spirit, her exuberance. She's so protective of him and so passionate about him still.
SAWYER: Did I read someplace that she said to you, "So is Russell Crowe as handsome in person?"
SAWYER: That's what she wanted to know?
CONNELLY: I went in there thinking, you know, she's this brilliant woman and so I was a little bit intimidated. You know, I don't want to be disrespectful and ask her questions and I get there, and she says to me, "Okay. Okay. But is Russell really handsome," you know, and "What's it like making movies?" And, you know, I think the two of them are, actually, they love movies. They're big movie fans. So she was really curious about what we do. That's funny.
ANCHOR NARRATION OVER TAPE: She's also an ivy-educated woman who would rather read poetry than watch herself on screen.
CONNELLY: I run like, "la, la, la, la," screaming from the room. I mean, once is fine … twice if I have to. I get what I need and then, you know, I don't like to watch myself.
SAWYER: The first time you screen it all the way through, are you sitting on your hands with anxiety?
CONNELLY: Yeah, I get nervous, you know, because I am, because I'm critical, because I want it because it's important to me, and I don't want to just do good enough. I want to do everything I can, and I want to always be better, and I always find things that I feel I can improve on, and hopefully the list of my criticisms from film to film will get shorter, and shorter, and shorter.
ANCHOR NARRATION OVER TAPE: She started out as a teen model 'Jenny Connelly' … cover girl for Seventeen magazine. Then, in Roy Orbison's music video with teen Hearthrob and 90210 star Jason Priestly. When the movie career started, it was eclectic: a society girl in Inventing the Abbotts, … a wholesome girl next door in Rocketeer, and a sultry girlfriend of tortured painter Jackson Pollock … all it seems without really trying.
CONNELLY: I started working when I was 11. I did my first movie. So I started working before I had really planned to be doing this. It sort of I came in the back door, it just sort of happened.
SAWYER: Your 4-year-old son writes little plays for you?
CONNELLY: Yeah, we've written a few plays. He's written some books, and he's written — we've written a couple of short plays together. He dictates.
SAWYER: And do you get a starring role or does he have you …
CONNELLY: Sometimes I get cast in the hallway. I don't always get cast.
SAWYER: You don't get a speaking part?
CONNELLY: Sometimes. Sometimes I do, sometimes I don't. Sometimes I'm just, you know, I'm the chair or, you know, and I don't always get a lot of liberty to sort of make my own choices. He'll say, "This is your role. You do this," and I'll try some things. He'll say, "No, no, mom. Not like that, not like that," yes. So he's funny.
SAWYER: So tell me what it would take to make you perfectly happy.
CONNELLY: I have a lot in my life that I think I'm really blessed. You know, I have a beautiful son. I love what I do for work. I have great friends. I have great family. A lot of it is sort of just, you know, acknowledging that and being — remaining aware of that, the blessings that I do have in my life right now.
SAWYER: The old habit of gratitude.