Jessica Chastain (Courtesy Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)
Jessica Michelle Chastain (born March 24, 1977) is an American actress. Chastain played guest roles in several television shows before making her feature film debut in the 2008 independent film Jolene. In 2011, she gained wide public recognition for her starring roles in seven film releases; her performance in The Help was particularly well received and she earned an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress nomination, as well as Golden Globe, Screen Actors Guild Award and BAFTA nominations in the same category. For her lead performance in the controversial 2012 military thriller film Zero Dark Thirty, Chastain received wide critical acclaim and won the Broadcast Film Critics Association Award for Best Actress and the Golden Globe Award for Best Actress - Motion Picture Drama, and received an Academy Award nomination for Best Actress.
In 2012, Time magazine featured her as one of the "100 Most Influential People in the World". Chastain's performances in Zero Dark Thirty and in the 2013 horror film Mama led film critic Richard Roeper to describe her as "one of the finest actors of her generation".
Early life and education
Chastain was born in Sacramento, California. She was raised by her mother, Jerri, a vegan chef, and her stepfather, a fireman. She is close to her grandmother Marilyn, who attended the Oscars with her in 2012 and 2013.
She graduated from El Camino High School in Sacramento in 1995 and attended Sacramento City College, where she was a member of the debate team (1996-1997). In 1998, she appeared as Juliet in a production of Romeo and Juliet staged by TheatreWorks, a professional theater company in the San Francisco Bay Area. Chastain then attended the Juilliard School in New York City as a member of the Drama Division's Group 32 (1999-2003), which also included Michael Urie and Jess Weixler. The funding which made it possible for her to attend was provided through a scholarship by Robin Williams. She was an active participant in the drama department and starred in several theatrical productions and student film projects. She graduated from Juilliard with a B.F.A. degree in 2003.
Shortly before her drama school graduation, Chastain attended a showcase for final-year students in Los Angeles, and was promptly signed to a holding deal by television producer John Wells. She relocated to California, took up residence in Venice Beach, and started auditioning for jobs. Facing early difficulty in even getting auditions for roles, she recalled that "being a redhead and not having very conventionally modern looks, it was confusing for people and they didn't know exactly where to put me." In her television debut, The WB network's pilot remake of the 1960s gothic soap opera Dark Shadows, she portrayed Carolyn Stoddard, who was originated by Nancy Barrett. Directed by P. J. Hogan, the pilot did not live up to the network's expectations and the series was eventually not picked up for broadcast. Chastain later appeared in a guest stint on the medical drama series ER, which marked a professional watershed as she subsequently found a niche playing eccentric characters in television. "I did a job on ER as a psychotic woman, and after that got a lot of jobs in TV where I wasn't the normal one," she later said. "I played a lot of girls who had something off. Maybe they'd been the victim of some horrible accident. Or they were crazy."
From 2004 to 2006, she also appeared in television series such as Veronica Mars, Close to Home, and Law & Order: Trial By Jury. She then was cast as the female lead in a production of Salome, playing at the Wadsworth Theatre, also starring director Al Pacino. The success of the play, which sold out after getting positive reviews, helped bring her to the attention of several casting directors.
In 2008, she made her film debut as the title role in Dan Ireland's drama film Jolene which was based on the short story Jolene: A Life by E. L. Doctorow, itself inspired by Dolly Parton's song "Jolene", and follows title character's life over the course of ten years, as an abused 15-year-old foster child up until her life as a 25-year-old woman. While the drama received mixed reviews, Chastain was generally praised for her performance, with New York Observer noting that she "not only holds her own corner of every scene, she's the only thing you want to watch." It was later released in the United States on October 29, 2010 and won Chastain the Seattle International Film Festival Award for Best Actress.
In 2009, Chastain appeared in Stolen, a mystery-thriller film directed by Anders Anderson. It was universally panned by critics and not released as video on demand and in a limited theatrical release until March 2010. The same year, she finished work on the British period drama series Agatha Christie's Poirot, playing Mary Debenham in a full-length adaption of Christie's 1934 novel Murder on the Orient Express.
In 2011, Chastain showed a wide variety in her roles, including: Terrence Malick's The Tree of Life and the crime thriller Texas Killing Fields.
Chastain's biggest commercial success of 2011 was The Help, which was based on Kathryn Stockett's novel of the same name. The movie received positive reviews from critics and became an immediate box office hit grossing $169,620,611 in North America, and $35,700,000 in other territories, as of February 2, 2012, for a worldwide total of $205,320,611. Her performance received praise from critics, and gave her an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress nomination, which she lost to her co-star Octavia Spencer. Chastain continued to receive rave reviews for her performance in the 2011 film Take Shelter playing the wife of a small town man plagued by apocalyptic visions.
In John Madden's drama-thriller film The Debt, she portrayed a young Mossad agent sent to East Berlin in the mid-1960s to capture a former Nazi doctor who carried out medical experiments in concentration camps. Chastain shared her role with Helen Mirren, both actresses portraying the character at different phases of her life. The actresses worked together before shooting started, creating a consistent voice and mannerisms for their character, while Chastain also took classes in krav maga and German, and studied books about Josef Mengele and Mossad history to prepare herself for the film.
Premiering at the 2010 Toronto International Film Festival in September 2010, the movie was released on August 31, 2011 and Chastain received positive reviews from critics and viewers. It went on to become a moderate box office hit.
On November 29, 2011, Chastain announced as New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Supporting Actress for her performances in The Help, Take Shelter and The Tree of Life as well as gaining an Independent Spirit Award nomination the same day for her performance in Take Shelter. On December 1, 2011, she received a Satellite Award nomination as best supporting actress for her performance as Mrs. O'Brien in The Tree of Life, she went on to win the award and many other honors from critics including the: National Society of Film Critics Award for Best Supporting Actress and the Los Angeles Film Critics Association Award for Best Supporting Actress.
Chastain starred as Virgilia in the adaptation and Ralph Fiennes's directorial debut, Coriolanus, which was released in January 2012 and was met with generally positive reviews from the critics. In the animated film, Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted, she voiced Gia the jaguar with an Italian accent, the film was released on June 8, 2012 and received generally positive reviews from critics.
Chastain has also completed a film adaptation of Oscar Wilde's Salome with Al Pacino and was featured in John Hillcoat's prohibition era drama, Lawless.
In April 2012, Chastain entered the list of Time 100 most influential people of the world. She was invited to join the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in June 2012 along with 175 other individuals for 2012. The same month, Chastain was named the ambassador of the new Yves Saint Laurent fragrance, called Manifesto. The fragrance was released in August 2012, Chastain stated: "Yves Saint Laurent is a brand that inspires me deeply. Since its creation, the brand has conveyed strong values that I cherish, such as an unwavering commitment, absolute love and feminine audacity. This new fragrance is an emblem of it all. I am [excited] to be part of this beautiful adventure."
In 2012, she appeared in Tar as C.K. Williams' mother. She reunited with Terrence Malick in the romantic drama film To the Wonder, but her performance was later cut from the film. In early 2012, Chastain was reported to star in the action films Oblivion and Iron Man 3, but dropped out. Chastain was also offered for the role of Princess Diana in the upcoming biopic film Diana but dropped out and was replaced by Naomi Watts. In Kathryn Bigelow's action thriller film Zero Dark Thirty, she played Maya and was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actress. In 2013, she played the lead role, alongside Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, in Andres Muschietti's horror film Mama (2013), based on Muschietti's 2008 Spanish-language short film, Mamá. With the release of Mama and Zero Dark Thirty, Chastain became the first woman in 50 years to have the leading role in the top two movies at the box office. Also in 2012, Chastain made her Broadway debut in a limited-run revival of The Heiress, playing Catherine Sloper. The play ran on Broadway, at the Walter Kerr Theatre from November 1, 2012 to February 9, 2013, the original final performance having been canceled so she could attend the BAFTAs.
In 2013, it was announced that Chastain would play the female lead and title character in The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby with James McAvoy. The film is about a two-part drama told from his and hers perspectives, set to hit theaters in 2013. She will also play the lead and title role in Miss Julie, a film adaptation of August Strindberg's play, being directed by Liv Ullmann. Chastain will be teaming up with Guillermo Del Toro again in his new film Crimson Peak. She will star in the feature film adaptation of The Zookeeper's Wife, directed by Niki Caro. Chastain will appear with Matthew McConaughey and Anne Hathaway in Interstellar, the next film to be directed by Christopher Nolan.
Chastain is a vegan and has said about her vegan lifestyle: "I don't want to torture anything. It's about trying to live a life where I'm not contributing to the cruelty in the world. While I am on this planet, I want everyone I meet to know that I am grateful they are here." She currently lives in NoHo, a neighborhood in Manhattan, with her dog Chaplin, a three-legged rescue dog. After her breakup with Mexican lawyer J. Jaime Salinas Rojas, she is currently dating Gian Luca Passi de Preposulo, an Italian-born executive for French fashion brand Moncler.