Jennifer Connelly opened up about being directed by husband Paul Bettany in Shelter

By Lindsay Kimble
Updated October 29, 2015 01:25 PM
Credit: Jemal Countess/Wireimage

Jennifer Connelly loved collaborating with husband Paul Bettany on their latest film, Shelter. What she wasn’t into, however, were the pointed questions about her work-life balance that followed.

The actress, who has been married to the British star for 12 years, says despite sharing the same schedule for Bettany’s first project behind the lens, she’s the one who received the more personal inquiries.

“No one ever asks Paul if it’s tough juggling work and family,” Connelly, alluding to sexism in her industry, tells Net-A-Porter’s The Edit for its latest issue.

In Shelter, Connelly, 44, stars as a homeless junkie whose life is romantically intwined with a fellow displaced man played by Anthony Mackie.

“Because it was low-budget with only a few days to shoot, we really couldn’t leave it all behind at the end of the day,” Connelly says of their shooting schedule. “We had to prep each night for the next morning. Although it was probably somewhat miserable for the kids, it actually helped that the film was being made on such a short schedule. If it had been longer, it would have been more miserable.”

The pair have two children together: Stellan, 12, and Agnes, 4. Connelly also has an 18-year-old son, Kai, from a previous relationship.

When it came to the couple blending work and pleasure on set, Connelly admits it wasn’t as strange as she expected.

“In a way, it felt very familiar. We met at work. We’ve been on the same set; we’ve been on each other’s sets,” she says of working with Bettany. “And it was really great to have that much trust, to have that degree of intimacy with your director, especially when the subject matter is so intense. It’s an amazing feeling of freedom and safety.”

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As for getting his leading lady to shine, Connelly says her director hubby had nothing to worry about.

“I was doing my homework … He saw me hunkered down!” she says. “And we have similar sensibilities, we respond to similar films, we like the same performances, and I think that he had a sense of comfort, knowing we were creatively aligned.”

Shelter will be released Nov. 13.