To portray the driven journalist Maddy Bowen in Warner Bros.' controversial new thriller Blood Diamond Academy Award-winner Jennifer Connelly sought out reporters who could give her a better grasp of the life of a female war correspondent.
She notes, "I have a friend who, it so happens, had been in Sierra Leone in 1999 writing a piece on conflict diamonds. I got a lot of information and insight from her and from friends of hers. I became very intrigued by these women who were always fiercely intelligent and knowledgeable and often, I found, deeply feisty. I saw an apparent love of adventure, matched by an unflinching commitment to their work. I think that combination of attributes also applies to Maddy."
Set against the backdrop of the chaos and civil war that enveloped 1990s Sierra Leone, Blood Diamond is the story of Danny Archer (Leonardo DiCaprio), an ex-mercenary from Zimbabwe, and Solomon Vandy (Djimon Hounsou), a Mende fisherman. Both men are African, but their histories and their circumstances are as different as any can be until their fates become joined in a common quest to recover a rare pink diamond, the kind of stone that can transform a life…or end it.
The character of Maddy Bowen brings an altogether different perspective into focus. An American correspondent, Maddy is an outsider; she is in Africa only to expose the real story behind conflict diamonds. On her own, she’s been able to uncover compelling evidence of smuggling and subterfuge—including the fact that for five years Sierra Leone had reported almost no diamond exports, while its neighboring country of Liberia had exported a great number…without any significant diamond mining to speak of. Nevertheless, Maddy is still in need of the hard facts that will lock her story down. She seeks out Danny Archer as an inside source for her article, never imagining that her contact with him will change her from an observer to a participant, or that he will lead her to the human face of her story: Solomon Vandy. Connelly offers, "Maddy wants to trace and expose the course of blood diamonds from the source to the marketplace. Given Archer's involvement, she feels confident he has the information she needs. She realizes he's probably done some horrendous things in his time but also opines that no one is entirely good or bad, and sometimes in a world this desperate, the lines are blurred."
Connelly was especially intrigued by a journalist’s constant struggle to avoid crossing the fine line between reporting the story and becoming the story. "A lot of the reporters I spoke to told me how hard it is to control the urge to do something to effect a more immediate change. It is difficult to be in that kind of environment, surrounded by tragedy, and feel like you are in some way benefiting from another person’s grief," the actress notes, adding, "I think that is the conflict Maddy faces, especially with regard to helping Solomon. She knows he might not ever find his family without her, but would she have gotten involved if it didn’t help her article?"
Opening across the Philippines on January 08, Blood Diamond is distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Entertainment Company.