Jennifer Connelly had long been an admirer of the science fiction classic “The Day The Earth Stood Still” and when she received a script for a re-imagining of the film for a contemporary audience she was immediately intrigued by the possibilities of working on “such a great story” alongside Keanu Reeves.
Helen is an astro-biologist who is part of the team that is called in to interrogate and analyze Klaatu after he lands on Earth. She’s also a single mother who can see beyond the obvious scientific interest in him as a ‘specimen’ and connects with him on an emotional level.
Q: The story in the original is dominated by the threat that mankind is about to destroy itself with nuclear war. How has the story been updated?
A: Our film has been updated on a number of levels. The original was very much a film of its time that really spoke to the political climate of 1951, and it largely focused on the issues of the Cold War era and the proliferation of nuclear weapons. Now it’s the threat of violence but also the way we are living on the planet, the way that we treat each other and the way we treat the Earth. It looks at the fact that as a culture, it’s not sustainable to live like this on a number of levels. So I think the movie speaks to us now in terms of the crises we face.
Get Our Newsletter
A: He’s lovely. I think it was a hard line for Jaden to walk because Helen and Jacob have a relationship that is complicated and I think Scott Derrickson (director) wanted to use that to serve as a kind of microcosm for Klaatu. It’s hard to play a kid who is a bit bristly with his parents and yet you still love him and you get where it’s coming from. I think it was a little bit complicated and it’s to Jaden’s credit that he managed to do that in such a convincing way. He is really good.
Q: Let’s talk about Keanu Reeves….
A: I think he was absolutely marvellous as Klaatu. He is so hard-working and so devoted to his work. He cares so much about what he is doing and I found it really moving in terms of the extent to which he cares about everyone and the way he works and pushes himself. He’s incredibly polite and incredibly professional, and so kind to everyone on the set.