Connelly Smolders in ‘The Hot Spot’
By Stephen Schaefer
USA Today, Section: LIFE, page 2D
October 24, 1990
NEW YORK – Anyone looking for proof that little girls do grow up fast in the movies should take a gander at curvaceous Jennifer Connelly opposite Don Johnson in The Hot Spot. Not yet 20, Connelly has neatly managed the transition from child actress to ingenue.
“I just slid into it,” says Connelly of the career that began at age 12 when she was cast in Once Upon a Time in America.
Connelly acted intermittently through high school, but her career seemed stalled – until Some Girls, a romantic youth comedy that caught the attention of Dennis Hopper.
“She could be a major star,” declares actor/director Hopper, who cast Connelly as Hot Spot’s unobtainable innocent pursued by a slick Johnson.
“We all clicked into a groove in the first 10 minutes,” she says of the Taylor, Texas, filming. Although Connelly is sensational in her bikini, Spot also required a topless beach scene.
“The nudity was hard for me and something I thought about,” she admits. “But it’s not in a sleazy context.”
The Yale junior, an English major who regularly interrupts studies for films, will co-star next year in John Hughes’ Career Opportunities. She is now filming Disney’s The Rocketer.
As for Hot Spot, she admits “Dennis and Don spoke a language I didn’t understand,” adding that Hopper created a sign-language shorthand for her. “He would point here,” – she says gesturing to her head – “which meant, `Think.’ Or here” – she touches her chest – “for `feel.’ ”
Connelly, an only child who often travels with her mother, recalls one “problem” on the set – getting into freezing water for a scene with Johnson.
“Hey, no problem!” Johnson assured her as he picked her up: “And with a big scream and a splash I got into the water.”