Don't ask Jennifer Connelly about religion

arts-connelly-getty-392.jpg Actress Jennifer Connelly arrives at the gala presentation of Creation at the Toronto International Film Festival on Sept. 10. (Jason Merritt/Getty Images)

I love getting denied -- shut down and talk-to-the-hand-ed by publicists on the red carpet. After six years of covering TIFF, I’m less affected by it now, and having way more fun. Sometimes that means taking the piss when it comes to the bon-cop-bad-cop routine. That’s how it works: the star gazes into your eyes to telegraph a promise of genuine connection, if only for a blink. But one step out of narrow bounds and the publicist snuffs out the magic.

The next moment is crucial. The cool stars override their handlers and take your question anyway. The biggest stars shake their head and throw their hands up as if to suggest, Oh, how I wish little powerless me could do something. Either way, the star shines.

Jennifer Connelly was lovely as always last night, speaking about the joy of working with her real life-husband, Paul Bettany, in TIFF’s opening film, Creation, about Charles Darwin. I then asked her how making the film affected her own beliefs on religion vs. evolution. BAM! The publicist jumped in with, “That’s a personal question, she’s not answering that. Next.” Connelly scrunched up her face cutely as though there was nothing she could do.

The message of my dereliction must have been delivered to hubby Paul Bettany’s handlers, because he was not allowed to even stop at my microphone.

I get it if actors don’t want to answer personal questions. I just wish they would speak that sentiment for themselves. I guess some stars need a thousand more years of evolution before they grow a pair.

-- Jelena Adzic

Comments (21)

Julia wrote: Posted: 2009/09/11 at 10:29 AM

Speaking of growing a pair, Jelena should compose herself before interviewing celebrities. This isn't E-talk.. ask them something constructive.

Anonymous wrote: Posted: 2009/09/11 at 10:42 AM

Those publicist are annoying. These actors and actresses can answer for themselves. If they do not want to talk about a paticular subject they can say so themselves! Tending to these people like they were little children is so ridiculous. Anyways, their opinions are not that important in the grand scheme of things. Same has my little comment right now!

Kathy wrote: Posted: 2009/09/11 at 11:34 AM

I think Jennifer Connelly can keep her personal beliefs private just as I wish to. I feel you were insensitive with your questions. Your question about losing a child was glib. Maybe if you had started with an intelligent question you would not have gotten "snuffed out" with your second question.

Nicholas Roach wrote: Posted: 2009/09/11 at 1:05 PM

I think Jennifer Connelly was a very poor and boring interview up until the charged question was asked and so it showed a very brilliant manoever on Jelena's part. The publicist showed how uninterested she is in the movie and it's subject by removing her client and was therefor rude to the people who pay for the food on her table. I suggest she not show up at any film festivals if she can't be sociable with the press. Jelena's question was relevant to the subject matter in the film.

Doug Rutherford wrote: Posted: 2009/09/11 at 1:41 PM

Considering how indicative of your amateur standing as a journalist that question was, Jelena, why would you honestly expect someone to answer. Maybe, CBC should send a real entertainment journalist next time.

Sam wrote: Posted: 2009/09/11 at 1:47 PM

If the publicist let her answer a potentially explosive question such as this, she would be an idiot! The potential for disaster was huge. Right move. No answer will please everyone on this subject.

Nicholas Roach wrote: Posted: 2009/09/11 at 1:50 PM

Further to my last post; I believe that if Jennifer Connelly's publicist/handler had anything to do with Jennifer's husband Paul Bettany boycotting Jelena Adzic at TIFF then she and Paul are both cowards. Jelena was not intenionally trying to annoy Jennifer or her people. If they can't handle the tough questions then they should stay home and stop making movies.

R. Smith wrote: Posted: 2009/09/11 at 2:49 PM

For all the intelligence that they are able to portray on screen, it must be remembered that not very many actors have completed more than high-school and undoubtedly many not even that let alone seen the inside of a university. Perhaps Ms. Connolly has not the emotional intelligence or intellectual capacity to deal with the concepts put forth in the question.

Anonymous wrote: Posted: 2009/09/11 at 3:42 PM

Hopefully no one way paying the Publicist by the pound! If the actor is two stupid to answer a question which is more intelligent than "who are you wearing", then I can't be bothered to watch their movie. Obviously Jennifer Connely is a trained chimp reciting lines. I like an actor who has the brains to have an opinion!

Harry Chandler wrote: Posted: 2009/09/11 at 4:35 PM

This just demonstrates hollywood's spinelessness when it comes to tackling the science vs religion debate. Good on Jelena for not asking the typical vain, cliched and frankly harmless questions that so often comprise these little red carpet Q & A's. If these celebrities are making movies about evolution, than a simple question about where their personal beliefs on the film's material stands should not be denied. Shame on this publicist, shame on Hollywood, and shame on Mrs. Connelly!

Jim wrote: Posted: 2009/09/11 at 4:46 PM

Did Jelena expect 15 mins alone with Ms Connolly on the carpet?
Can we get back to the days where CBC had people on television who actually could justifiably talk about film with knowledge and without elitism. Jelena may be populist, but she doesn't know a damn thing about film and continually makes factual errors on air. Send her to Fashion File for crying out loud.

Scott wrote: Posted: 2009/09/11 at 5:00 PM

Haha, nice one Jelena.

J.W. wrote: Posted: 2009/09/11 at 5:23 PM

Maybe Ms. Connelly prefers to discuss such personal, profound subjects in a different forum than a film festival red carpet.

This story is a lot closer to petty tabloid kvetching than entertainment journalism...just as vapid and insubstantial as "so, who are you wearing?"

Anonymous wrote: Posted: 2009/09/11 at 6:07 PM

Billy Bob Thornton Attitude ......Whatever

mx wrote: Posted: 2009/09/11 at 6:29 PM

something more annoying than celebrities ....celebrity journalists.

dignity wrote: Posted: 2009/09/12 at 11:57 AM

Sad to see you decided to join the ranks of TMZ paps Jelena! You were rude - if you can't take it don't dish it!!

Greg Robinson wrote: Posted: 2009/09/12 at 12:58 PM

No, it wasn't her publicist, or your interview subject dear woman, it was you. My partner and I both watched in awe as you lobbed one lead bomb after another at Ms. Connelly, and that last question - how do you teach your children? - could have been phrased differently and you would have had an interesting answer. Something like, "You've made a film about Charles Darwin. Are you expecting this to be controversial in any way, given the debate that still rages over his theories?" Now, you wouldn't have intruded into anyone's private life, but you could have gotten to the root of the question. By the way, it was right of that publicist to shut you down. What an awkward moment for us to witness - thanks!

baldy cotton wrote: Posted: 2009/09/14 at 5:51 AM

Maybe the CBC can have one of their outsourced production teams do up a scintillating comedy pilot about a feisty red-carpet entertainment "journalist" who has to balance a workaday life of asking tough questions at schmoozefests with girls' nights at Osmar's Mojito Lounge. The show could be called "Unicorn Entertainment Journalist"--it would be really wacky and quirky, but also funky-urban and full of estrogen.

Darren Tucci wrote: Posted: 2009/09/14 at 11:42 AM

I find it VERY interesting that, for those of us not able to view the complete interchange between you (Jalena) and Mrs Connelly, that certain facts didn't make it to this self-serving, ahem, "tirade" on your blog, to at least flesh out the complete story. Strike one for a "journalist" such as yourself.

The fact that you asked Jennifer "how do you teach your children?", and questions about "losing a child" are, at best, far reaching for attention and provocation than they are getting the actress to shed more light upon the more creative aspects of the film she was in.

Isn't it obvious, then, why the publicist did her job and intervened? You obviously think more about yourself and your narcissistic charged attitude than you do about the actor/actress you wish to incite.

Bill wrote: Posted: 2009/09/14 at 3:02 PM

Religion vs. Evolution? Biggest non debate ever.... religion geeks versus science geeks... ho hum..... we exist don't we? Nuff said.

myspace.com/antiform wrote: Posted: 2009/10/04 at 12:57 PM

to Julia (of Toronto):

I think the question was actually very constructive; it's just that "constructive" in some people's eyes (maybe yours included) may be something entirely different. It all glides along within the latitudes of superficiality.

Listen, within the context of the event, and the film she was representing specifically, it was a very constructive question to ask that could have gotten a very interesting note worthy response. A real exchange of ideas -- not small talk.