For the past 32 years, a memento from Jessica Biel’s childhood has remained with her, and she has no plans to retire or refresh it.
“I have this really gross stuffed animal that I had since I was 2 years old,” the actress confessed to Footwear News on Tuesday at the premiere of her film “The Book of Love” in Los Angeles. “The nose is falling off and the stuffing is coming out — it’s gross, but I can’t get rid of it because it’s a part of me now.”
Her character in “The Book of Love” would likely toss the keepsake in the trash. In the drama, Biel stars as Penny, a free-spirited artist who tries to invigorate her workaholic architect husband Henry’s (Jason Sudeikis) passion for life. She starts by replacing his beloved brown loafers for a fresh pair of New Balance 574 Core ($74.99) kicks in gold and purple, a nod to their city New Orleans’ colors embraced by Mardi Gras revelers and sports teams.
The shoes take on a greater symbolism after tragedy strikes that same day: Penny dies in a car accident while Henry is holding a business meeting, still clad in the sneakers. No matter the occasion, the shoes stay with him as he mourns the loss and finds inspiration in the here and now.
Through Penny’s last gift to him, a “new balance” in life, the message manifests when he forms a friendship with a homeless teen, played by “Game of Thrones” star Maisie Williams, and the pair build a raft to sail across the Atlantic.
Biel served as a co-producer of the drama, and her husband, Justin Timberlake, is credited as the composer.
Co-starring Mary Steenburgen, Orlando Jones and Paul Reiser, “The Book of Love” hits theaters Friday.