Monday evening's episode of TNT's Snowpiercer left the tracks — literally — as we followed the perilous attempt by Jennifer Connelly's Melanie Cavill to track weather balloons at a research station as the titular train carried on its journey. While the show featured appearances from Sean Bean's Mr. Wilford, Rowan Blanchard's Alexandra Cavill, and several rats, the show was essentially a showcase for the A Beautiful Mind actress.
"I thought it was a fun opportunity to spend more time with Melanie," Connelly told EW of the episode. "She's been on this journey back to herself, and back to her original purpose, that's happened over the course of the first season, and has moved along in the second season. She's out there, off the train, trying to fulfill her mission. I think it's really exciting for her, and frightening, and the stakes are super high, and it was a very different kind of episode. I had a great time doing it."
Connelly talked to EW via Zoom about the episode, her rodent co-star, and a certain Marvel show starring her husband, Paul Bettany.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: I can't help noticing at the bottom of your screen it says "Paul Bettany." What gives?
I bought my computer in, like, 1962. So, if I ever have to do anything official, I use my husband's computer. He always has up-to-date equipment!
What was the most recent episode of Snowpiercer like to shoot?
It was pretty full-on. I don't think I sat down for the whole time. [Laughs] It was very action-packed, and there was snow, and there were physical challenges, and a lot of time on my own. But I really really enjoyed it. I really enjoyed working with the director, I enjoyed the story, and I enjoyed learning more about Melanie's past through those flashbacks that we see.
Right. Because we see her making the decision to leave her daughter behind and to start the train. That must have been an emotional scene to shoot.
It was such an intimate set. The whole episode felt so internal in a way. There were these grand external elements outside the research station, but it's a very internal journey that she's on, delving into herself and delving into her past, and her shame and her guilt. So, from an acting standpoint, I really enjoyed it, I really enjoyed the opportunity to have that time with the character and to be able to go that deep with the character.
How close did you get to the rats?
Oh, really close. [Laughs] I picked them up and I was so grateful that I had decided to wear gloves in that scene. I was like, is she wearing gloves is she not wearing gloves? I was so grateful that we had decided that she was wearing gloves.
So, you actually picked the rat up?
I picked the rat up. There was one point where they wanted me to put the rat into some ink to trace where it goes and the wrangler was like, "Yeah, it will be totally fine, I think. I mean, we haven't practiced it yet, so we don't really know how the rat's going to respond, they don't really like getting their feet dirty." I was like, "Maybe you could practice first before I do it, would you mind?" I'm so glad we did, because he did it and the rat bit him on the hand. But I had a lovely time with the rat and its various siblings that also worked on the show.
In the episode, you did get to verbally joust with Sean Bean. That looked like fun.
I feel like it's such a fun character for him. He''s clearly really cruel but his cruelty comes in this really charming bon vivant package. He presents very different from the way he actually is. I think he's a very interesting character and of course they have such a long history together and we learned a little bit more about it.
You're starring in Snowpiercer and your husband is in WandaVision. It must be high times at the Connelly-Bettany household.
Yeah. It's great. It's really fun. We both have shows that have come out at the same time. I think WandaVision's great. It's such exciting, groundbreaking television and I'm happy to see that people are responding really well to it. I think it's fantastic. I've seen it. I've seen all the season. So, I know what's happening.
Watch a teaser for next week's episode of Snowpiercer, above.
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