Interview: Harry Connick, Jr's on His Role in 'P.S. I Love You'

"My life is chick powered"

Harry Connick Jr in PS I Love You. © Warner Bros Pictures

Though Harry Connick, Jr. is better known as a musician than he is as an actor, he has appeared in films since his acting debut in 1990's World War II drama Memphis Belle. In 2007, he appeared in a supporting role in the romantic comedy P.S. I Love You. In the film, Connick plays Daniel, a bartender who falls for the newly widowed Holly (Hilary Swank). The film was directed and co-written by Richard LaGravenese (writer of The Fisher King), and is based on the novel by Cecelia Ahern.

Also appearing in the film are Gerard Butler, Lisa Kudrow, Gina Gershon, Kathy Bates, and Jeffrey Dean Morgan.

Though Connick's role was relatively minor, it presented a challenge for the actor-singer because he had to play a character with Asperger Syndrome. He was intent on doing justice to those with the syndrome. Speaking with About.com around the release of the film, Connick explained that it wasn’t at all difficult to play a guy who is very awkward around women.

On Playing a Character with Asperger Syndrome:

It was very easy to tap into. I didn’t have to tap at all, as a matter of fact. Well, we were dealing with a character who could have been borderline being controversial in that he’s got Asperger's syndrome, and to be funny without laughing at that syndrome was sort of the challenge that Richard had, when I came to the process that I had too. But, you know, this guy just says whatever’s on his mind.

I don’t know what you’ve seen of my work, but in personal situations I’m probably more like that guy. I’m really good onstage. I like to get out there and perform for people. But I’m a pretty quiet person otherwise, you know? I think if there was somebody like Hilary that I fell in love with, it would be difficult to communicate with her.

It was hard for me to sort of communicate with my wife when I first met her. It’s just intimidating. I would never be a big player like that.

The Extra Work the Role Required:

I knew what [Asperger's syndrome] was but I certainly couldn’t have played a character of a guy with it. I had to do a little research about that. And subsequently I’ve done more, just because I’ve become fascinated with it. Yeah, but it’s profound. It really is an interesting disorder.

Playing Daniel During His Awkward Moments, Like Asking Out Holly (Swank) at Her Husband’s Memorial Service:

Well, that’s the whole point of Asperger's. It wasn’t [too] soon in his mind. He just doesn’t pick up on the social etiquette that normally occurs when people meet. He just says what he has to say, and then has to deal with the consequences which is, from what I know about the syndrome, is probably very debilitating for people with it. The fact that they say things and then can’t understand why they’re being treated the way they’re treated, why they’re looked at in an awkward way… They just say whatever comes to their mind. They’re at the memorial service and he’s hitting on her so I would think that’s too soon. But this guy doesn’t.

On Acting in a "Chick Flick":

My life is chick powered. My manager’s a woman. My wife’s obviously a strong, intelligent woman. I have 3 daughters. I’ve got 3 dogs, they’re all female. I’ve got so many women in my life, running my life, I wouldn’t know what to do with a guy so… In fact, I’m probably gay and I don’t even know it!

Edited by Christopher McKittrick

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Murray, Rebecca. "Interview: Harry Connick, Jr's on His Role in 'P.S. I Love You'." ThoughtCo, Oct. 3, 2016, thoughtco.com/harry-connick-jr-in-ps-i-love-you-2428546. Murray, Rebecca. (2016, October 3). Interview: Harry Connick, Jr's on His Role in 'P.S. I Love You'. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/harry-connick-jr-in-ps-i-love-you-2428546 Murray, Rebecca. "Interview: Harry Connick, Jr's on His Role in 'P.S. I Love You'." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/harry-connick-jr-in-ps-i-love-you-2428546 (accessed November 22, 2017).