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NEW YORK (AP) _ Jennifer Connelly, who's earned an Oscar nomination for her performance as the wife of Nobel Prize-winning schizophrenic John Forbes Nash Jr. in ``A Beautiful Mind,'' thought it was important to talk to the woman she was playing before filming began.

She went in wanting to ask intelligent questions of the woman, who went to MIT in the '50s when mostly men were there. But once she met Alicia Nash and tried to debrief her, Mrs. Nash did the debriefing.

``She and John are movie fans and wanted to know how we make movies, and what it's like on the set and what's Russell like, and that kind of thing,'' Connelly told The Associated Press, referring to the film's star, Russell Crowe. ``So what I got mostly out of it was just an impression of her and her kind of countenance.''

And that was OK, Connelly said, since she ``was playing her with license ... a slightly fictionalized version of her.''

At least once before, the 31-year-old actress has played a real-life person _ in ``Pollock'' as Jackson Pollock's mistress, Ruth Klingman _ but this is the first time she met the person she portrayed.

And she came away thinking: ``Alicia's a really singular, dynamic, extraordinary woman.''