Jennifer Connelly Breaks Down Her Multiple Roles in Dark Matter

Dark Matter continues what Apple TV+ honestly does best — smart, polished, and expansive science fiction. Whether it’s Foundation, Constellation, or Invasion (they don’t all end with that suffix, promise), sci-fi has a real home at Apple TV+. The latest show is an adaptation from Blake Crouch, who has had previous work adapted to television (Wayward Pines, Good Behavior). He’s in charge of most of it here, and that’s a good thing, with Dark Matter being the best televisual translation of Crouch’s work.

The series follows a man named Jason (played by Joel Edgerton) who gets abducted from his reality and thrust into an alternate one, where he no longer has a family but is a rich and famous scientist. In this world, he has created a sort of life-size Schrödinger’s box which can put a person (or a cat) in the quantum state of a superposition, in which every possibility is accessible. Except, it’s not so easy to simply visit different parallel worlds. And so, Jason embarks on an Odyssean attempt to return home to his reality, with his son, his job, and his wife.

That wife is played by Oscar-winner Jennifer Connelly, who also appears in multiple other realities as variations on her character, Daniela. Connelly spoke with MovieWeb about the sci-fi drama and its existential questions.

Dark Matter Is About Marriage (and the Multiverse of Madness)

Dark Matter (2024)

Release Date
May 8, 2024


Blake Crouch

Streaming Service(s)
Apple TV+

Jakob Verbruggen

If you strip away the hard sci-fi from Dark Matter, in many ways the result would be closer to a moving drama about family and marriage. “Absolutely,” agreed Connelly. “And honestly, I thought that it had the potential to be a really fun, exciting show with all the alternate realities — but the part that I loved was the portrait of a marriage.”

Another engaging aspect of Dark Matter was stepping into multiple variations of her own character across alternate realities, subtly modulating the character based on what had happened in each timeline. “Some of them not so subtle!” laughed Connelly. “I might have had white hair in one of them.” She explained how each version of the character was different:

“Some of the choices were kind of driven by necessities of the narrative, right? So like, there’s a scene where he comes, and you have to kind of believe that he’s made it home, so she’s gonna look just different enough that you kind of get it but not so different that you’re immediately tipped off, so factors like that were considered when we were making those choices. Or like a scene where he comes and his wife is really ill, and we wanted it to feel like this could be his wife, you know?”

“But then there are some where you go, ‘Okay, well we need to mark right away that he’s far from home. So it was fun,” continued Connelly.


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Becoming a Mother Changed the Direction of Jennifer Connelly’s Life

Aside from the main Daniela, the most significant version is the one Jason discovers in the reality he is first sent to. In that world, he’s rich and famous, and she’s s a thriving artist, but they never married and they never had children. “The one that we spent obviously the most time with is the second Daniela that we meet,” explained Connelly. “And that was interesting to think about, like, what were the characteristics that she would have in common with our Daniela, and how might she look different if she hadn’t gotten married and hadn’t lost a child and was still working as an artist and was successful at it? And so that was fun to think about.”

Coincidentally, that alternate Daniela is similar to an alternate Jennifer Connelly that she doesn’t want to think about. When asked what major decision she’s made that may have split off into a different timeline, Connelly said:

I feel like one of the choices that I think obviously changed the direction of my life the most was becoming a mother, but I don’t want to know what it would have been like if I hadn’t, to be honest. You know, it’s the most amazing experience in my life.

Despite that parallel, Connelly didn’t tap into the idea of playing a childless version of herself for the second Daniela. “I didn’t consciously think about it. It’s funny. I don’t, like, analyze when I’m working on a character. I’m not thinking about, ‘How does this woman relate to me?’ I’m kind of thinking about her. But I think that absolutely we have that in common, and I think that’s a huge difference between the Daniella One and Daniela Two for sure.”


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Joel Edgerton Was a Perfect Partner for Dark Matter

Whichever Daniela she may be, it’s clear that Connelly and Edgerton have palpable chemistry with each other and worked well to display that in a variety of ways. This is ultimately a love story, and they sell it. “It was great working with him. He’s so good,” said Connelly. “And he’s really open and generous as an actor and available and easy to be with. We really worked easily and happily together.

“We talked a lot. We had a lot of rehearsals that were sort of like conversations about the marriage and about choices we could make
to make it feel specific and not sort of like a generalized marriage
. Like, how do we make this feel lived in? Because we didn’t have too much time together when things were good, where they were good as a couple before this alien version [of Jason] comes in so quickly. So yeah, [we had] conversations and brainstorming together about things that we could do to make them feel believable as a couple.”

“But I was really aided by the fact that, frankly, everything he does is believable,” continued Connelly. “You know, he has that quality to him, and he’s just so good as an actor.”


Jennifer Connelly Looks Back on Requiem for a Dream: ‘It Was Kind of Electric’

Connelly stars in the new sci-fi series Dark Matter, but looked back 24 years ago at one of her pioneering roles with the film Requiem for a Dream.

Jennifer Connelly Has Nothing to Say About Hulk

Universal Pictures

Ironically, Joel Edgerton isn’t the only actor who played a scientist in love with a Jennifer Connelly character, whose scientific tinkering threatens to destroy their relationship. That also happened with Eric Bana in the 2003 movie, Hulk. We wondered if Connelly had any thoughts about the film more than 20 years later, considering the movie has often been overlooked in the superhero era. Connelly was comically candid:

Can I be totally honest with you? I don’t think I’ve seen that movie for 21 years, so I don’t know if I’m equipped to answer. I don’t know. I honestly haven’t gone back and watched it. I mean, so I can’t. I’m not sure I’m equipped to analyze that.

Dark Matter, on the other hand, is fresh in her mind. The series will premiere globally on Apple TV+ with the first two episodes on Wednesday, May 8, 2024, followed by one new episode weekly through June 26, 2024. You can watch it through the link below:

Watch Dark Matter