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Marie Claire │The Change Makers: Constance Wu, Ava DuVernay, and Jessica Chastain

Marie Claire │The Change Makers: Constance Wu, Ava DuVernay, and Jessica Chastain

Marie Claire

Inclusion. Representation. Diversity. Agency. Equality. On-screen and off-screen, these women are shaping the future of Hollywood.

A little over a year ago, as revelations of misbehavior by powerful men sparked a global reckoning, a group of women in entertainment came together to talk about what they could do to prevent abuse and ensure equity for working women.

The result was Time’s Up, an organization committed to building a world that insists on safe, fair, and dignified work for women of all kinds. What started in Hollywood has grown to a coalition of women spanning industries and geographies, with more women meeting and organizing every day.

Time’s Up Entertainment is now just one of the many affiliates working to solve industry-specific challenges, and the women involved are united in their unwavering commitment to keep fighting until their female peers have the opportunity to reach their full potential at work.

Here, some of the organization’s most engaged women share what inspired their participation, what keeps them motivated in their activism, and how they plan to create lasting change. Please read these stories, and join us on this journey at TimesUpNow.com.

—Nithya Raman, Executive Director of Time’s Up Entertainment

“We’re going on a journey, you and I,” Jessica Chastain says excitedly over the phone as she pulls her car door shut. “I’m taking you on a bunch of errands with me. Grocery shopping, picking up mail, hardware store. Let’s do it!”

Infectious enthusiasm for quotidian domestic chores is not exactly what one would expect from Academy Award–nominated actress, producer, and activist Chastain, who has made a career playing knotty, complicated women—“To me, there’s no such thing as the angel or the good wife or the perfect mother”—a vein she will again mine when she joins the casts of X-Men in Dark Phoenix (out in June) and It: Chapter Two (September) and when she stars as Tammy Wynette in the upcoming biopic George and Tammy.

On the drive to the hardware store, Chastain, 42, reflects on the highs of her past year, listing Time’s Up and the record number of women being elected into office as buoying her optimism, noting, “The public has answered back in a resounding, hopeful way that change is possible and we’re not going to be dictated to by bullies.”

Though heartened that women are refusing to accept “an old-fashioned model of power,” Chastain remains pragmatic, pointing out that no social movement survives without concrete shifts in economic equality (“If you’re not paid the same, you have to work all the time”) and the promotion of women into seats of actual authority. For her part, she’s making sure her projects don’t just reflect different demographics but also deal a fair hand to all parties.

The public has answered back in a resounding, hopeful way that change is possible and we’re not going to be dictated to by bullies.

Her all-woman production company, Freckle Films, focuses on untold stories and women-led casts, as well as a commitment to equal pay, most recently with the spy thriller 355 (which starts filming this summer), where she sidestepped the studio system, independently raising more than $80 million, and insisted all five lead actresses—Chastain, Lupita Nyong’o, Penélope Cruz, Marion Cotillard, and Bing-bing Fan—earn the same fee and hold equity in the film. (Last year, she helped Octavia Spencer quintuple her salary on a comedy they sold by tying Spencer’s deal to hers.)

“I’ve had people tell me, ‘You need to be a little more quiet with all this woman talk,’” Chastain admits, laughing, adding she has no interest in perpetuating damaging sexist tropes about what women should be and do, on- or off-screen. Her dedication to leveling the field extends to crew and head-of-department hires, adjustments that have real-world implications and puncture the oft-repeated lie that filling those jobs with women is “too hard.”

“I agree there are not as many women as men that have the same experience, but that’s because, in the past, women have been actively discriminated against. Male directors who had their first film in Sundance, their next offer is a huge action movie. Women haven’t been given those opportunities, and we need to ask why.”

She goes on to talk about her most recent empowerment epiphany, as she was surrounded by the 355 cast at Cannes last May. “I remember us all holding hands, walking through this crowd of people, this incredible moment of solidarity, and one of the girls whispered, ‘The power of women,’ and I was like, Ohhhh. I realized, wait a minute, we’re the ones who are actually in charge here.”

Along with her political evolution has come a personal one. Chastain quit being a pleaser, realizing her time and energy are currency she should spend more wisely. “I used to be so obsessed with wanting to accommodate others. Like, in the beginning of my career, when I had ideas about my character or a scene, I felt like I had to go through the male actors. I’d go to them and say, ‘Ooooh, what are we going to do?’ And they’d say, ‘Don’t worry. I’ll take care of it.’ They would go to the director and the director would take them seriously.”

Chastain sighs. “I wish I could’ve just bypassed all of that.”

She bypasses it now, working only with people who understand she has no intention of couching her voice or opinions. Still, she wonders what would have happened had she begun advocating for herself sooner.

“When I look back, there are moments when I’m like, ugh,” she says, launching into a story about a male producer who grew hostile and aggressive when she didn’t return his flirtations. “For months, I tried to make it light, laugh it off. Now I wish I had just told him to fuck off.”

I learned it’s impossible to make everybody happy. At the end of the day, just do stuff that you’re proud of and don’t be an asshole.

When asked how she freed herself from the approval matrix, Chastain pauses a beat.

“That’s a hard question because I don’t know that it was even something that I was aware of until I stopped doing it. All of a sudden, I realized, I feel really happy. Why is that? And it was because I was caring less about what others think of me.”

Now she’s concentrating on what she can control, generating work that lifts others and finding creative fuel in everything from long, solitary walks in the countryside to brainstorming inventions for Shark Tank.

“I learned it’s impossible to make everybody happy. At the end of the day, just do stuff that you’re proud of and don’t be an asshole.”

It’s a journey she’s happy to take.

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Photoshoots & Portraits > 2019 > #003 Marie Claire

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Interview: Jessica Chastain for Grazia France

Interview: Jessica Chastain for Grazia France

We translated Jessica’s interview to Grazia France. In the interview she talks about Time’s Up, her support for movements that support women, about becoming a producer and about her role in ‘X-Men: Dark Phoenix‘.

The interview can be found in our press archive. The interview can be found in our press archive. The article was translated exclusively by Jessica Chastain Online. Please give a link back if reposting.

Actress, fighter and muse to Piaget jewelry, Jessica Chastain turned out to be a spokesperson precious of the female cause.Interview with a modern heroine.

I know you, come here! Jessica Chastain draws me in her arms. This is the sixth time we’ve interviewed the American actress. “I remember the first time, you were pregnant! “, she says. She’s right, it was our first interview, in Deauville in 2014, where she was receiving a tribute. But our first meeting actually dates from February 2012. A villa on the heights of Los Angeles, at a party in honor of Sofia Coppola who had realized the commercial of the Marni collection for H & M. Wandered around the different rooms of the house were Drew Barrymore, Winona Ryder, Liv Tyler. Bryan Ferry was giving a private concert. And then we noticed this sublime redhead actress, sitting on an armchair in the entrance. Alone. Without a photographer to annoy her. Without publicist to make barrage. So we went forward to tell her how much we loved “The Tree of Life“, movie by Terrence Malick who unveiled it to the world in Cannes a few months earlier, where he had won the Palme d’Or. She smiled and blushed. “It was the moment I took aware that my life was changing. It was very exciting,“she recalls. Jessica Chastain did not imagine not then how much. Seven years have passed, two Oscar nominations, a Golden Globe win, collaborations with the greatest directors  –Kathryn BigelowRidley ScottChristopher NolanGuillermo del Toro,Jeff Nichols -, the launch of her own production company Freckle Films. And even a video with Jay-Z,‘Family Feud‘, released in January and directed by Ava DuVernay. (Read more)

 

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  Photoshoots & Portraits > 2018 > #012 Grazia France

Magazines & Scans > 2018 > #007 Grazia France

Jessica Chastain for Vanity Fair Italy

Jessica is on the August issue of Vanity Fair Italy. She talked about her marriage, Miss Sloane, build a family and much more. The photoshoot used on the magazine is the same used on Elle Spain. The photographer is Mario Sorenti. Read the interview:

Jessica Chastain is the exception to the rule. Actually she really confirms all the rules about the entertainment world. The one that success inevitably changes you; the one that you pass from a total lack of opportunities in the beginning to having way too many options after and this makes your choice even harder, and sometimes can lead to a real career disaster; that one for which being worshipped, a relentless poison, destroys the reality and brings true talented girls to become excessive and whining divas. It happens to many, but not to Jessica Chastain. Keep  on reading!