I don’t mean to go anal, but there’s this nagging issue with the blue contact lenses that Maria Bello wears for her part as John McLoughlin‘s wife Donna in World Trade Center (Paramount, 8.9). Reader Rich Frank observed yesterday that her eyes “are a weird, translucent blue and the pupils never seem to change size. Every time they went for a close-up I couldn’t help but stare at her eyes. Sure enough, in the photos on her IMDB page her peepers are deep brown.”

Maria Bello in World Trade Center) (l.) and A History of Violence (r.)

I noticed this too but I tried to push it away. There’s a weirdness in those artifical blues — almost a Village of the Damed quality — and this seems to get in the way of Bello’s fine performance, at least in the early stages. (I forgot about them during the scond half.) I presume Bello used the contacts because Donna’s eyes are blue and she wanted that extra measure of similarity. That’s understandable, but only Donna and her friends and family know she has blue eyes so it obviously didn’t matter that much. It’s not a huge deal but Oliver Stone probably should have said something.
Maybe Bello is one of those actors, like Laurence Olivier, who needs to alter her physicality in some way to get out of her self and become the character. Peter Ustinov once said that in his own skin and using his own voice Olivier never exactly filled the air with electricity. But give him a fake nose or a wig or something that took him out of his natural being and he was off to the races.
“I wouldn’t have mentioned this except it’s the second time in a month that colored lenses have become an issue,” Frank continued. “The same thing happened with Brandon Routh in Superman Returns. I knew going in that he did not have naturally blue eyes, so it became really distracting every time I saw those Master Po contacts.”