December 15, 2011 |
— Jessica Chastain is clearly up for just about anything. On this warm November night she could be sitting cozily inside a buzzing hotel restaurant surrounded by chandeliers, candles and ivy trellises. Instead, she's gamely agreed to be interviewed in the hotel's garden, and is now swaying gently in a wooden swing, articulating with a wide-open, shining face and fluttering hands about what it was like, once upon a time, to be "the most unlucky actress in Hollywood. " Hard to believe now, of course: Today, Chastain has at least three films putting her in Oscar contention: "Take Shelter," "The Help" and "The Tree of Life.
February 1, 2013 |
This post has been corrected, as detailed below. Jessica Chastain is currently on Broadway in "The Heiress," playing Catherine Sloper, a rich girl with boyfriend and daddy problems. Now Variety reports that she's been tapped to play another classic stage rich girl with those problems -- the title role in a film adaptation of August Strindberg's "Miss Julie," to be directed by Liv Ullmann. "The Heiress," Ruth and Augustus Goetz's 1947 play drawn from "Washington Square," Henry James' novel about the upper crust in mid-1800s Manhattan, is scheduled to end its limited run Feb. 9. "Miss Julie" might keep Chastain in the 19th century -- if Ullmann decides to maintain the original time frame.
January 31, 2013 |
"If I ever ask you for anything it's to speak with you for five minutes … just five minutes. " Jessica Chastain received that mysterious text from producer Megan Ellison in 2011, completely unaware that director Kathryn Bigelow had been trying to gauge her interest in playing Maya, the lead CIA operative heading the hunt for Osama bin Laden in "Zero Dark Thirty. " "I thought, 'Wow. That's super-dramatic,' " Chastain remembers of the message. She called Ellison immediately and learned a few details about the movie -- but not many.
September 25, 2011 |
With the actors that we follow for a lifetime, there is always that one movie that you go back to, the one that represented the moment of discovery, when you knew as you left the theater, you wanted to know what they would do next. For me, with Ryan Gosling, it was "Half Nelson" in 2006, his inner-city junior high teacher idealism clashing with his drug addiction in ways that were both incredibly complex and intimate. With Jessica Chastain, it was more recent, "The Tree of Life" last spring.
July 31, 2011 |
The leading ladies of the upcoming film "The Help" — Viola Davis, Octavia Spencer, Bryce Dallas Howard, Emma Stone and Jessica Chastain — sat down with The Times last week to discuss their movie, race, and being women in Hollywood. Based on the novel of the same name, "The Help" is set in 1960s Mississippi and arrives in theaters Aug. 10. Stone plays Eugenia "Skeeter" Phelan, a career-minded college grad who persuades a group of black maids to tell their stories so she can publish them.
December 18, 2012 |
"Zero Dark Thirty" does focus on, as the ads insist, "the greatest manhunt in history," but once you've seen this film, a woman - or maybe two - will be on your mind. Following up on her Oscar-winning "The Hurt Locker," director Kathryn Bigelow proves herself once again to be a master of heightened realism and narrative drive in this retelling of the decade-long search for Osama bin Laden. The film's concluding section - a crisp re-creation of the Navy SEAL assault on the Pakistani compound where the wily mastermind lived and died - has been much-publicized, and the film's depiction of torture has already become a tempest in a teapot.
December 22, 2011 |
Since it premiered at the Cannes Film Festival in May, Terrence Malick's "The Tree of Life" has sparked all manner of reflection and debate and (even among its admirers) exasperation. The film's abstract, meditative story about a 1950s Texas family and its place in the Scheme of Things invites its audience to form its own impressions. And, as sound designer and frequent Malick collaborator Erik Aadahl puts it, "It's more about the questions than the answers. " Which is good. Because we have questions.
January 17, 2013 |
Beautifully envisioned, badly constructed, the only truly terrifying things in the new horror movie "Mama" are the fake tattoos, short black hair and black T-shirts meant to turn "Zero Dark Thirty" star Jessica Chastain into a guitar-shredding, punk rocker chick. That misfire becomes just one more bump in the road when you long for more bumps in the night. Though there are a few frights - a skittering shape that keeps showing up is the best - rather than dishing out pure scary movie chills, first-time director Andy Muschietti serves up a darkly twisted allegory about a mother's protective instincts.
January 31, 2013 |
Editor's note: Taking a moment from her vigilant defense of depicting scenes of torture in "Zero Dark Thirty," director Kathryn Bigelow here addresses something else close to her heart about the film: The power, strength and vulnerability that lead actress Jessica Chastain brings to the work. *** Talent comes in many guises, but all original talents share the same quality: They're unique, one of a kind. Totally unlike the rest of the crowd. Jessica Chastain, at least to my mind, is one of our original talents, a rare and gifted actress.