Love blooms on the set of 'Rocketeer'

June 20, 1991|By Lou Cedrone | Lou Cedrone,Evening Sun Staff

They met on the set of "Rocketeer," and now they are engaged. They don't know when the big day will be, but it should be some time soon.

She is Jennifer Connelly, and he is Bill Campbell. She's done a few other movies. He's done some television, but ''Rocketeer'' is his first theatrical film.

He is 31, and she is 20. She was 15 when she did "Labyrinth,"

and for the next four years, she didn't do much of anything professionally.

''I did a wacky movie called 'Etoile.' Then I did 'Some Girls' and after that I went back to school,'' she said.

School is Yale, and no, she doesn't know Jodie Foster. She has three more semesters to complete and is expecting to do so.

More recently, she has done two films, ''Hot Spot'' and ''Career Opportunities.'' She isn't that high on the second. ''It wasn't a great movie, so it didn't deserve any more promotion than it got,'' she said.

''Rocketeer'' is Walt Disney Pictures production. You may recall that Alec Baldwin recently worked for the same company and since his departure from the lot, has had little good to say about it.

''We had a very good experience,'' Connelly said.

''I've had no previous experience on a lot, but they were very supportive,'' Campbell said. ''We had no problems.''

He spent two years on ''Dynasty'' as Luke Fuller. "Dynasty" stars will reassemble for a four-hour TV revival of the show, ''but I won't be in it,'' he said. ''I was machine gunned in the forehead, so I don't think I will be back.''

In ''Rocketeer,'' Campbell is a pilot who finds a rocket pack that allows him to fly. It is 1938, and the Nazis want to get their hands on the invention so they can use it to invade countries.

The bad guys in the film are represented by a movie actor who is a Nazi spy and is supposed to be, more or less, Errol Flynn. Flynn was actually accused by writer Charles Higham of having been a Nazi spy.

Neither Campbell nor Connelly was aware of that at the start. ''We didn't know about that until we began filming,'' Connelly said.

The studio is obviously planning to do a sequel or two should ''Rocketeer'' succeed. If it does, Campbell is signed for two. Connelly has signed for only one.

The character Campbell plays is a very idealistic, sincere young man, who might be thought of as an anachronism in today's society.

Asked which way he would like to go with his career, Connelly said, ''I'd like to work consistently, do interesting stuff, do just about anything they pay me to do.''

He studied commercial art in college. ''I wanted to illustrate comic books,'' he said, ''then I went to acting class with a friend. It appealed to me. I thought it might be nicer and less solitary than a corner at Hallmark. One interest simply outgrew the other.''

Was it difficult getting started?

''Yes and no,'' he said. ''My first job was a TV movie in Chicago. I was nervous and couldn't speak. All I could do was sweat and mumble, and the director looked at me, tore at his hair, swore and fired me a few hours later. I almost went back to art school.''

Instead, he did some work on the stage then moved to California where he won roles on ''Family Ties'' and ''Hotel.''

Nobody screamed on those sets, and he got another continuing role in ''Crime Story.''

Connelly is getting a lot of attention from the magazines and newspapers, some of whom refer to her as one of the great new beauties of the day.

She smiles. ''It's so funny. One said I was a sex symbol for the '90s. I said, 'Excuse me?' That's someone else's idea of what I'm like.''

Neither Connelly nor Campbell worries about being recognized on the street.

''It's not an attractive prospect, and I have no way of dealing with it,'' Connelly said. ''I think it is important to take stock of yourself and remain the way you are.''

They don't know when it was that they fell in love. That is, they can't trace it to anything associated with the film. ''I can't think of a darn thing,'' she said.

He has no projects on the immediate horizon. ''But we would like to do more films together.''

''I'm reading scripts,'' she said. ''I like to do films that move me around. I like to do roles that others say are not meant for me.''

He uses the name Bill Campbell because there is another actor named William Campbell.

''I don't like it, but that's the way it has to be,'' he said.

''Rocketeer'' opens at area theaters tomorrow.

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