Jessica Michelle Chastain (born March 24, 1977 in Sacramento, California) is an American actress and film producer.
If you had asked who she was in 2010, cinephiles would have had no ready answer. If you asked the same question in 2012, the results would be very different. The intervening year saw no less than seven films featuring her, and transformed her into the personification of the breakout actress, and invited comparisons to both Kate Winslet and a young Meryl Streep among reviewers and filmgoers. She's best known as Maya in Zero Dark Thirty, Murph in Interstellar, Lucille in Crimson Peak and Commander Lewis in The Martian.
Previously, Chastain got to act thanks to a scholarship by the late Robin Williams at Julliard and had laboured for years in minor parts on television and in theatre, before working with Al Pacino in a stage performance of Oscar Wilde's Salome, where she played the title character. More roles followed, and due to a number of release delays, Chastain ended up having a very busy 2011 indeed, to the point where critics were split over which of her many performances was most deserving of recognition. The ultimate winner was The Help, the one that had made the most money, which earned her an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress. She netted her second Academy Award nomination the very next year, this time for Best Leading Actress for her starring role in Zero Dark Thirty.
She married Italian count Gian Luca Passi de Preposulo in 2017. They have two children together. She's also one of the army of co-owners of Angel City FC, a Los Angeles-based team set to start play in the National Women's Soccer League in 2022.
Notable films of Jessica Chastain:
- The Debt (2011) - Young Rachel Singer
- The Tree of Life (2011) - Mrs. O´Brien
- Coriolanus (2011) - Virgilia
- The Help (2011) - Celia Foote
- Take Shelter (2011) - Samantha LaForche
- Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted (2012) - Gia the jaguar (voice)
- Lawless (2012) - Maggie Beauford
- Zero Dark Thirty (2012) - Maya
- Mama (2013) - Annabel
- The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby (2014) - Eleanor Rigby
- A Most Violent Year (2014) - Anna Morales
- Miss Julie (2014) - Miss Julie
- Interstellar (2014) - Adult Murphy "Murph" Cooper
- Crimson Peak (2015) - Lady Lucille Sharpe
- The Martian (2015) - Melissa Lewis
- The Huntsman: Winter's War (2016) - Sara
- Miss Sloane (2016) - Elizabeth Sloane
- The Zookeeper's Wife (2016) - Antonina Zabinska
- Molly's Game (2017) as Molly Bloom
- Dark Phoenix (2019) as Vuk / Margaret Smith
- It: Chapter Two (2019) as Beverly Marsh
- Ava (2020) as Ava Faulkner
- The Eyes Of Tammy Faye (2021) as Tammy Faye Bakker
- Scenes from a Marriage (2021) as Mira
Jessica Chastain and her works provide examples of:
- Action Girl: Her character poster for The Huntsman: Winter's War dubs her "The Warrior."
- Actor-Inspired Element: Jessica felt that her character in A Most Violent Year would only wear Armani, and convinced the fashion house to lend the film vintage Armani from 1981.
- Approval of God: She loves the song "I Am Not Jessica Chastain", and posted an instagram video of Bryce Dallas Howard lip-synching to it.
- Billing Displacement: On the receiving end twice in 2011:
- Although she has much, much more screen time in The Tree of Life than Sean Penn (who only appears for about five minutes total in the 139-minute movie) she's billed third, after Penn and top-billed Brad Pitt.
- She also has third billing in The Debt, after Helen Mirren (they play the same character in different time periods) and Sam Worthington - but has the most screen time in the movie.
- Dawson Casting: As the 16-year-old Salomé in Salomé/Wilde Salomé and as the title character in Jolene (who goes from 15 to 25 in the course of the story). She was in her very early 30s at the time.
- Deleted Role: It has happened twice in her career.
- In her second collaboration with Terrence Malick after The Tree of Life, her role in To the Wonder was completely cut out. Coming from Malick, a master of this trope, it isn't unusual.
- In the upcoming The Death and Life of John F. Donovan, director Xavier Dolan decided to cut out Chastain's role as an unscrupulous gossip journalist. There are still promotional posters with her character.
- Dyeing for Your Art: She has been seen as a blonde (The Help, A Most Violent Year, The Zookeeper's Wife) and a brunette (Crimson Peak). Also for The Help she had to gain fifteen pounds of weight - which she did by eating lots of soy ice cream.
- Executive Meddling: Her making The Huntsman: Winter's War was a contractual obligation after Crimson Peak.
- Fake Nationality: Judean (as Salome in Salomé), Israeli (as Rachel in The Debt), Italian (Virgilia in Coriolanus and Gia in Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted), Irish (as Miss Julie), English (Mary Debenham in the Poirot adaptation of Murder on the Orient Express and Lady Lucille Sharpe in Crimson Peak), Scottish (Sara in The Huntsman: Winter's War) and Polish (Antonina Żabińska in The Zookeeper's Wife).
- Fiery Redhead: Maya from Zero Dark Thirty is the best example. Prompting her boss to find OBL without surrender, insisting her superior raid the compound, and that she was "the motherfucker who found this place".
- Money, Dear Boy: The reason why she played an animated Italian jaguar; she was behind in her rent. Plus she needed a new couch.
- Ms. Fanservice: As called for in the plot of Salomé with her Three Minutes of Writhing (and more). See also Jolene, Lawless, and some of her photoshoots, where she appears topless or close to it."(W)hen someone tells me I'm a sex symbol I'm like, "what?" But I'll take what I can get."
- Non-Singing Voice: Averted in Crimson Peak and The Eyes Of Tammy Faye. Unfortunately for Chastainiacs, her song isn't on the soundtrack album for the former. The soundtrack album for the latter almost qualifies as Jessica Chastain's first album (she appears on 7 of its 9 tracks).
- Older Than They Look: If you just saw a picture of her, would you believe that she's 44?
- Playing Against Type: Crimson Peak sees her playing an eerie Ophelia type in a gothic romance. She was approached for Edith, which would have been within type, but she chose to be Lucille instead.
- Protagonist Title: At least five of her movies have her character's name in the movie title. Miss Julie, Eleanor Rigby, Salomé, Jolene, Miss Sloane...
- Separated-at-Birth Casting: Mackenzie Foy plays the younger version of her in Interstellar and the resemblance is uncanny. Also employed in It: Chapter Two, where Sophia Lillis even acknowledged she'd love Chastain to play adult Bev (and that wish was granted).
- The Shelf of Movie Languishment: Wilde Salomé, a documentary about the filming of Al Pacino's version of Oscar Wilde's Salomé (which was done as a filmed play, as it were), was actually her first film - it was shot in 2008, but not released until 2011 (and the actual film of the play wasn't released for a couple years more).
- Star-Making Role: 2011 saw six films released featuring her. The Help and Zero Dark Thirty are the two that really rocketed her to mainstream success.
- Time-Shifted Actor: In The Debt, Interstellar, The Huntsman: Winter's War, and It Chapter Two.
- Those Two Actors:
- What Could Have Been: