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Virginia Is For Lovers? Jennifer Connelly And Dustin Lance Black Think So

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“Unpredictable,” “untethered,” and “unconventional” were three words Jennifer Connelly summoned last night to describe the character she plays in Virginia. The actress (pictured, left) went blonde and donned some wacky florals for her role as a Southern single mom who’s got more than a little drama in her life—including a kinky affair with the upstanding local sheriff (Ed Harris). “She doesn’t have a lot of resources, but I like the idea that she has these fantasies about a better life for herself and her son and she’s trying to live them out,” an Alexander McQueen-clad Connelly told Style.com at the Cinema Society’s screening of the film at the Crosby Street Hotel. (The evening was sponsored by Shiseido and Grey Goose and drew the likes of Billy Bob Thornton and Alexa Chung.)

Virginia is the feature directorial debut of Oscar-winning Milk screenwriter Dustin Lance Black (pictured, right), who researched schizophrenia for Connelly’s character and based the film on his childhood in the Mormon South. “We were more married to our dreams than reality, and that’s a really Southern attribute,” he said. “It’s not something you necessarily find in the bigger cities, where people define themselves almost by the present and a more tangible future, whereas in the South and even in Mormon culture, it’s all defined by how big your dreams are.”

Black had to keep his own hopes for the film aloft a while: He first showed the script to Connelly about five years ago. But for the actress, playing a troubled woman who lives life as though she’s on the big screen was worth the wait. “She’s thinking, I’m kind of fabulous, I’m out of a storybook,” Connelly said of her character.

Photo: Nicholas Hunt / PatrickMcMullan.com

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