Gibault grad finds success in acting - Republic-Times | News

Gibault grad finds success in acting

By on April 4, 2018 at 12:33 pm

Hannahh Lundy Connell

Gibault Catholic High School alumna Hannah (Lundy) Connell may not have the level of fame that Michael Weatherly or Ellie Kemper are enjoying.

 But the 25-year-old Bloomfield, N.J., actor has assumed a number of roles in her well-rounded career.

“It’s certainly helped me pay the bills,” she said of the dozens of acting jobs she has taken over the years. “I enjoy being on set.” 

Most recently, Connell, a Columbia native, was fortunate enough to serve as an extra on CBS’ “Bull,” a drama centered around Dr. Jason Bull (played by Weatherly), the founder of a trial consulting firm. Connell was featured on the show as potential juror Megan Palowski.

In the episode, titled “Gag Order,” Dr. Bull helps a journalism professor caught stealing trade secrets from a dating app developer. Connell appears as Palowski when the court works on putting together a jury for the trial.

Palowski, who was involved in the dating app developer’s dating network, is removed from consideration because it was believed she couldn’t serve as an objective juror. Connell said her character meets her husband using the dating app.

When they pull up Palowski’s husband’s dating profile on screen, Connell said they use her actual husband, Eddy. Connell said she did not have any lines in the episode.

“I’ve been doing background work for about two-and-a-half years now, where I don’t have TV lines but you see me on camera,” she said. “It’s a good way to make extra money.”

Another well-known TV show in which she has appeared is the Netflix original “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” about a woman rescued from a cult who looks for new adventures in New York. 

Connell also recently finished filming as an extra in “The Good Fight.”

The CBS series picks up after the last episode of “The Good Wife” and focuses on young lawyer Maia Rindell, whose reputation was tarnished by a financial scam. Connell also serves as a jury member in her appearance on the show.

Connell has been cast for small roles in a couple of movies as well. These include a remake of the 2000 film “Shaft” which starred Samuel L. Jackson and “The Irishman,” a film about a mob hitman starring Bobby Cannavale.

Asked if she has met any major celebrities on set, Connell explained her roles don’t put her in the position to do so.

“I have certainly made eye contact with some notable actors. But as an extra you don’t interact with them because they’re busy working,” she said. 

However, Connell noted that she’s learned a lot about the creative differences between being on stage in a theater production and being on the set of a movie or TV show.

“I have the most experience on stage. What you’re able to do on camera is much more limited,” she explained. “When you’re in theater, you’re allowed to paint with a giant brush. You’re less concerned about the small mistakes because you’re farther away from the audience.

“On camera it’s like you’re sketching with an inkpen. The camera is so close to your face that the smallest mistake is notable. It makes the intensity very different between the stage and film.”

Connell, who graduated from Gibault in 2011, garnered a lot of experience from the different theater productions she was involved in through the school and through The Actors Attic in Columbia. 

She met her husband while studying musical theater at Southeast Missouri State University and started on an international childrens tour for Theatreworks USA a year after graduating. During her time on the tour, she played the mother in the play “Alexander Who’s Not Going to Move.”

As she continues to grow in her profession, Connell is deciding on the kind of actress she wants to be, saying she best fits the role of the funny best friend with the one-liners.

She hasn’t quite reached her goal yet but said she hopes to have a similar career trajectory to actor Allison Janney, who had a role in the movie “I, Tonya” about competitive ice skater Tonya Harding.

“Her trajectory is what I want. Whether I’m on stage or in film. If it’s commercial work for TV, I would love to do that,” she said. “I feel like I can do it all. I’m flexible and a fast learner. I want to do it all. I want to make people laugh and move people.”

Sean McGowan

Sean is a die-hard Cubs fan, despite the relentless peer pressure coming from the rest of the Republic-Times staff. He and his wife, Jacqui, have been married for two years. Originally from the west suburbs of Chicago, Sean and his wife moved down to Normal to attend Illinois State University and stayed central Illinois residents for the past four years.