Blood Diamond - Jennifer Connelly interview
Interview by Rob Carnevale
JENNIFER Connelly talks about appearing in Blood Diamond, her views on the diamond trade and her charitable work in Africa and in the US…
Q. Did working in Africa change you as a person?
Jennifer Connelly: It was a huge privilege to be able to spend that much time in South Africa and Mozambique. I was fortunate enough to travel to Botswana with my family who were over with me. I think it was so extraordinarily beautiful and wrenching. It was really difficult to try and figure out what to do with one’s own privilege every day. It really made me think about my own privilege, how we spread our wealth and the responsibility which comes with it.
Q. Have you ever bought diamonds without checking their origin? And will you be wearing diamonds at the Oscars?
Jennifer Connelly: Since making the film and becoming more informed about conflict diamonds, I have worn diamonds because I feel that a boycott is not necessarily the answer that’s going to solve the problem. There are potential positive benefits that can come out of the work that diamond mining can bring to these countries, even if, at the moment, the economic benefit isn’t quite as equitable as hopefully it can be in future.
But on the subject of conflict diamonds, the diamonds I have worn since becoming a little more educated have come with certificates guaranteeing that they’re conflict free.
Q: Did any of what you witnessed inspire any further activism or charitable actions?
Jennifer Connelly: I’ve been working with Amnesty International for a few years now on human-rights education in the United States. I’m the spokesperson for trying to encourage programmes in support. And I also – like Leo and Djimon – on most of my days off was going into an orphanage, and working there. I have tried to keep a line of communication open with some of the kids I developed relationships with.
Q: Did filming on location help with bonding and developing a camaraderie on set that translated to your characters?
Jennifer Connelly: I think filming on location really lends a lot to the film, in terms of the light, the weather, and the heat. I think it lends an atmosphere to the scenes that one can strive to overcome. It’s really a gift when it’s already there for you to use. But both of them [Leo and Djimon] are actors who are very much present in a scene and collaborative and generous.