Jennifer Connelly and Husband to Be Honored for Helping Homeless

Kimberly RipleyLife

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Jennifer Connelly and her husband Paul Bettany will be honored on October 30th at the 20th Artwalk NY to benefit the Coalition for the Homeless. The couple is recognized for raising awareness about homelessness with for their upcoming film Shelter. The Metropolitan Pavilion event includes an auction of works by artists including Chuck Close, Ed Ruscha, Cindy Sherman, Roxy Paine and others.

Connelly's husband directed her in Shelter, in which she portrayed an addicted homeless woman. Jennifer Connelly had to lose 26 pounds to play the role. The actress--who has always been known for her slim build--must be incredibly gaunt after losing that much weight.

She spoke recently with ContactMusic about preparing for her role.

“There was so much work to do about her (Hannah) and the circumstances of her life that I knew nothing about. I had a lot of practical research to do. Slowly, over months, I lost a lot of weight and ultimately lost about 25 pounds. I wanted to be quite comfortable with her and I had no experience of using needles, so I spent a lot of time working on that so I could be quite at ease; practicing using the paraphernalia,” she said.

“Also, my character is an intravenous drug user, so I spent a lot of time with people who are currently struggling with addiction, with doctors who are experts on addiction and some recovered addicts who shared their stories with me and worked with me closely on the script,” she said.

Jennifer Connelly says the Coalition for the Homeless in New York City and Lower East Side Home Reduction Center were very helpful in helping her prepare for her role. Despite her preparation, however, she was in no way prepared with the actual plight of the homeless.

“The sheer numbers are quite striking. For me it was quite revelatory to realize how many children are homeless in New York--56,000 people each night in New York City are in shelters alone. So those numbers are quite staggering and that doesn’t count for people who are sleeping rough, sleeping in the streets and not in shelters,” she said.

Kudos to Jennifer Connelly and Paul Bettany on raising homelessness awareness with their film Shelter. May it raise even more once it hits theaters.

Hopefully Jennifer Connelly has gained some--if not all--of the weight back she lost for the role. In light of her normal, very thin frame she could stand to gain back even more than that.

Kimberly Ripley

Kimberly Ripley is a freelance writer and published author from Portsmouth, New Hampshire. A wife, mom of five and ‘Nana’ to Lilly and Aiden, she loves cooking for her big family and watching HGTV in her spare time. Kim is guilty of starting way more home design projects than she can finish. Visit her at Twitter and Facebook.