Chastain’s cinematic charm
Talented American actress Jessica Chastain turns 40 today. Aref Omar lists some of her works
1 THE DEBT (2010)
Chastain makes an impression as a green Mossad agent who, in 1965, crosses into East Berlin to capture a vicious Nazi war criminal.
Her character’s older self was played by Helen Mirren in this alternate history drama thriller.
Chastain trained for four months in Krav Maga to prepare for her fight scenes.
2 THE HELP (2011)
Adapted from the 2009 novel of the same name by Kathryn Stockett, this period drama follows a young white female aspiring journalist and her relationship with two black maids during the Civil Rights Movement in Jackson, Mississippi in 1962.
Chastain, who plays the wife of a wealthy socialite who befriends one of the maids, received an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actress.
To gain weight for the role, the vegan actress ate a lot of microwave-melted soya ice cream.
3 TAKE SHELTER (2011)
This dramatic psychological thriller sees a young father and husband, plagued by apocalyptic visions, having to decide whether to shelter his family from a coming storm or from himself.
In the moving movie, Chastain plays his empathic wife. Apparently the actress only received US$100 (RM442) per day for her role.
4 THE TREE OF LIFE (2011)
Directed by Terrence Malick, this experimental and epic drama chronicles the origins and meaning of life through a man’s childhood memories of his family living in 1950s Texas.
Chastain plays his gentle and nurturing mother as opposed to his strict and authoritarian father, played by Brad Pitt.
The butterfly that lands on her hand onscreen was real. Malick spotted it flying around one morning while Chastain and Pitt were rehearsing. They followed it around with the crew, for three blocks, before finding a suitable spot with the right conditions to shoot.
5 ZERO DARK THIRTY (2012)
Chastain plays a fictional CIA intelligence analyst involved in the almost decade-long international manhunt for Al-Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden after the Sept 11 attacks in the US in this political thriller.
She won a Golden Globe for Best Actress and was also nominated for an Oscar and Bafta.
Chastain’s agents originally declined the role. Producer Megan Ellison, who had worked with Chastain on Lawless
(2012), gave director Kathryn Bigelow Chastain’s phone number so she could personally offer her the role, to which she accepted.
Bigelow offered her the role after seeing Chastain in an early cut of
6 THE DISAPPEARANCE OF ELEANOR RIGBY (2013)
This drama about love and loss was originally shot as a two-part movie, following the individual points of view of a couple played by Chastain and James McAvoy.
After premiering in 2013 at the Toronto Film Festival, director Ned Benson edited the movies into one feature, which then premiered at the Cannes Film Festival.
With regards to filming the love scenes with McAvoy, Chastain said: “I actually had trouble keeping a straight face! He is very funny.”
7 MAMA (2013)
Chastain plays a free spirit who has to care for two kids that later seem to hold a dark supernatural secret in this horror movie, directed and co-written by Andres Muschietti, based on his 2008 Argentine short film.
The actress was the first and only choice for the role.
She also took guitar lessons as her character plays the bass.
8 A MOST VIOLENT YEAR (2014)
Set in 1981 in New York City, this crime drama follows the trials of an ambitious immigrant (played by Oscar Isaac) and his wife (Chastain) who fight to protect their business and family.
Chastain envisioned her nouveau riche character as donning only Armani.
The fashion house obliged her official request and lent her their apparel, so every item of clothing she wore in the movie was vintage Armani from 1981.
After Javier Bardem left, Chastain suggested Isaac, her former Juillard classmate, who ended up being cast.
9 INTERSTELLAR (2014)
Director Christopher Nolan’s epic sci-fi movie sees a team of explorers travelling through a wormhole in space on a mission to ensure humanity’s survival.
She delivers a moving portrayal as a scientist and daughter of one of the explorers.
Chastain was filming Miss Julie (2014) in Ireland when she was first offered the role: The script was delivered personally by Nolan’s assistant but she was not allowed to keep it after reading it.
10 THE MARTIAN (2015)
Cate Blanchett was director Ridley Scott’s original choice for the role of Commander Lewis but she had a scheduling conflict. So the role went to the next best actress: Chastain.
The exciting sci-fi movie, based on Andy Weir’s 2011 novel of the same name, sees an astronaut (played by Matt Damon) stranded on Mars after his team assumes him to be dead.
When he manages to send a signal to Earth of his existence, Chastain and gang take on the daring and dangerous mission to rescue him.