From the David Bowie fantasy Labyrinth to The Rocketeer, actress Jennifer Connelly has starred in her share of superheroic yarns. Come March, she'll begin filming The Hulk due out in summer 2003 in which she plays the green meanie's brainy ex-girlfriend. Fans can expect the movie to resemble the Marvel comics more than Bill Bixby's melodramatic 1970s series. "I saw that show all the time," Connelly tells TV Guide Online, "but I was like eight then, so I just remember Lou Ferrigno was really big!
"I want to do it not because of a particular leaning toward comic books," she continues, "but because of [director] Ang Lee. I think he's enormously talented. When I asked him why he wanted to do this, he said, 'I think it's actually like a Greek tragedy, a psychodrama.'"
Eager to underscore the point that Hulk's not just a kid flick, Connelly notes that "the Hulk doesn't appear at the beginning of the movie. It takes a while [before he shows up], so it's not really just about a green guy running around."
More imminent is Connelly's emotional turn in A Beautiful Mind (opening Dec. 21), inspired by Princeton mathematician John Nash's real-life battle with mental illness. (Russell Crowe plays Nash; she plays his "firecracker" wife, Alicia.) What does she think of the Oscar buzz she's already stirring? "I can't imagine who it wouldn't flatter," Connelly smiles. "It's really nice. Beyond that, it's all speculation, which feels like rocky ground to tread upon."
Genuinely humble, the 31-year-old was stunned she beat out the competition to co-star with Crowe. "It felt like such a longshot that they ever would cast me," she says. "It just seemed like the kind of movie a lot of people would want to be involved in. I felt like I was getting a prize just to be able to work on it."