Jennifer Connelly: Suite Inspiration

A woman in a hotel room in a beautiful dress, wondering what's going to happen next. This is the beginning of a story that could go any-where. The woman is Jennifer Connelly, an actress, and the hotel is the Sunset Marquis, just off the Strip--favorite haunt of anyone with enough money or notoriety to want the luxury or need the privacy.

Even better if you're trying to come up with a plot: anything you can imagine has already happened in this suite, which is large, and opens up onto a wide back lawn.

But what story should the pictures tell? Someone is inspired by the telephones in every room. How about it? A girl in a beautiful dress in a hotel room off the Strip--of course she would pick up the phone. She could call anyone--say anything. She could even say it in Italian, and stamp her foot and toss her hair and flick cigarette ashes on the bedspread. Like a '60s movie, about the girl from Rome who's alone in Hollywood, and lonely. Jennifer isn't Italian, but she is an actress--so she can play Italian, for the camera anyway. Someone picks up the phone--to make sure it isn't a prop? And then it seems only natural to call room service.

Minutes later, waiters arrive with trays of food, and wooden sticks with rock candy at the end to stir the coffee. The story is forgotten for the moment. There's a rabbit sitting on the lawn and the stylist tries to catch it. No--there are two rabbits. Three. Actually, there are at least six, but it's hard to keep track. A brochure on the Marquis says that the staff "are used to guest whims and sometimes bizarre requests. If by chance something is not available, it's sent for immediately."

The photographer is now worried about the bruise on Jennifer's leg. "Go figure," she says, rubbing it distractedly. "It just showed up one morning." She sees a strange, blonde mop lying in the corner. "What is this?" asks Jennifer. "Look at this. What is it?" "It's supposed to be a wig," someone tells her.

In Dennis Hopper's The Hot Spot, Jennifer played an enigmatic, beautiful girl who gets seduced by Don Johnson. Her next film is Disney's mega-budget The Rocketeer, with Timothy Dalton and Bill Campbell. It's the story of a man who discovers a contraption that--that--"The studio asked us not to talk about the contraption too much," Jennifer explains. When she's not making movies, or being vague with me, Jennifer lives in New York and goes to Yale.

Here's Firooz's idea for the first shot with the phone: Jennifer has a date with a powerful man in The Industry, but she's just using him. She's talking to her real lover on the phone. "Using him for what?" Jennifer wants to know. Okay, okay--instead, how about this: she's plotting a murder. "Whose murder?" Jennifer wonders.

"I need the glint of the sun in her glasses," says Firooz. In between set-ups, Jennifer talks to the stylist in both English and Italian. "Whatever you think is best," she says to him. "You got the eyes." "You got the looks," he tells her. Some guys just know exactly what to say.

Phones are pulled from walls and rearranged. A cellular phone comes out of a handbag. "Am I still plotting a murder?" Jennifer wonders, as someone hands her a cigarette holder. But by this point, no one is sure. It's now late afternoon. Panting rabbits hide under the hedges, away from the heat and sun. Eventually, a story will emerge. It has to--all the elements are here: sex, death, telephones, room service, and hairstyles. In Hollywood, that's all you ever need.


Josh Mooney