Universal Pictures has dated its spy thriller “355,” starring Jessica Chastain, Lupita Nyong’o, Diane Kruger, Fan Bingbing and Penelope Cruz, for a Jan. 15, 2021, release.
Simon Kinberg is set to direct from a script he co-wrote with Theresa Rebeck. The movie follows a group of spies from international agencies around the world. These women must bond together, overcoming their suspicions and conflicts, to stop an event from occurring that could thrust the world into chaos. A new faction is formed – code-named “355,” a name they adopt from the first female spy in the American Revolution. Sebastian Stan and Edgar Ramirez also co-star.
Producers are Chastain and Kelly Carmichael for Chastain’s Freckle Films and by Kinberg for his Genre Films. The film is executive produced by Richard Hewitt (“Bohemian Rhapsody”).
Chastain proposed the idea for a female-led spy film while working with Kinberg on this summer’s “Dark Phoenix.” The cast came together during 2018 with CAA Film Finance brokering the deal and Film Nation handling international sales.
“355” hit a hurdle, however, when a whistleblower accused Fan of tax evasion. The actress stepped out of the limelight in her home country of China, and admitted to wrongdoing on social media. The spy thriller will mark Fan’s first big-screen role since the scandal.
Universal had already dated the film for Jan. 15, 2021, as an untitled Universal event movie. It’s currently the only release on the date.
On May 23, Jessica Chastain stopped by “Graham Norton Show” to promote her upcoming movie X-Men: Dark Phoenix. She was joined by Taylor Swift, Sophie Turner, Michael Fassbender and James McAvoy.
Jessica – who had a mysterious role in the X-Men universe – let a secret about her character slip while chatting on tonight’s (May 24) Graham Norton Show.
Thankfully, the actress didn’t give the game away entirely, as she admitted to playing “an other-worldly creature”.
“I was told I am not allowed to say that I play an alien, but basically I play an alien,” she added.
Chastain also revealed the inspiration behind her take on the Dark Phoenix “alien”, explaining that Tilda Swinton is her muse for anything out-of-this-world. A solid choice.
“I am a shape shifter, so I am supposed to look like an elevated form of a human being,” Jessica said. “The one person I think of that way is Tilda Swinton. I’m not convinced she’s a human being. I think she is ruling over some planet somewhere like the goddess she is.“
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Appearances & Public Events > 2019 > May 22: Exclusive fan event for “X-Men: Dark Phoenix” at Picturehouse Central in London, England
Jessica Chastain and Andrew Garfield are on board to star in the Fox Searchlight biopic “The Eyes of Tammy Faye” with “The Big Sick” director Michael Showalter on board to helm.
Based on the documentary “The Eyes of Tammy Faye,” directed by Fenton Bailey and Randy Barbato from World of Wonder, the film tells the extraordinary and outlandish rise, fall and redemption of televangelists Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker, played by Garfield and Chastain. In the 1970s and ’80s, Tammy Faye and Jim rose from humble beginnings to create the world’s largest religious broadcasting network and a theme park, and were revered for their message of love, acceptance and prosperity. Tammy Faye was legendary for her indelible eyelashes, her idiosyncratic singing, and her eagerness to embrace people from all walks of life. However, it wasn’t long before financial improprieties, scheming rivals, and sexual scandal tore their marriage apart and toppled their carefully constructed empire.
Abe Sylvia penned the script.
Chastain will produce along with her producing partner Kelly Carmichael through their Freckle Films production banner as well as Gigi Pritzker and Rachel Shane through their MWM Studios. Jordana Mollick is exec producing.
Chastain has a busy 2019 ahead of her that includes the “X-Men” movie “Dark Phoenix” as well as the highly anticipated “It: Chapter 2,” which dominated social media with the recent release of its first teaser trailer. She also has the Tate Taylor pic “Eve.”
Garfield has been very busy on the Broadway circuit most recently in the Tony-award adaptation of “Angels in America,” which won him a Tony for his critically acclaimed performance. On the film side he was also recently tapped to play pianist James Marsh in “Instrumental,” which will be selling at the Cannes Film Festival.
Showalter, who is best known for directing “The Big Sick” and developing Netflix’s “Wet Hot American Summer” series, has strong ties to Chastain as the two are developing an untitled holiday comedy for Universal that she stars in along with Octavia Spencer. He most recently helmed the Paramount romantic comedy “The Lovebirds,” starring Issa Rae and Kumail Nanjiani.
Chastain and Garfield are both repped by CAA with Mosaic also repping Chastain. Showalter is repped by UTA and Artists First.
On April 26, Jessica Chastain joined Sophie Turner and Michael Fassbender at the X-Men: Dark Phoenix photo call and press conference held at Cafe De L’Homme on Friday in Paris, France.
As the three met up at the photo call, it looked like they had fun sharing a few laughs before taking their official photos! It’s presumed the trio will be traveling around doing a lot more press for the film as the release date draws closer.
The film will hit theaters on June 7, 2019.
Jessica was wearing Ralph Lauren pants and top, Christian Louboutin shoes, and Piaget jewlery.
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Appearances & Public Events > 2019 > April 26: “X-Men Dark Phoenix” Photocall At Cafe De L’Homme in Paris, France
Appearances & Public Events > 2019 > April 26: “X-Men Dark Phoenix” Press Conference At Cafe De L’Homme in Paris, France
Photoshoots & Portraits > 2019 > #005 Self Assignment
Moving from one strong role to the next frequently takes Jessica Chastain into the inspiring territory of time and space which, she tells Sarah Edworthy, we can all use to explore what we are truly capable of.
Like many kids growing up in the 1980s, Jessica Chastain’s first watch was a Swatch. “That was the big collector’s item, and we would wear more than one at a time,” she recalls. “I had a bunch of them. One was lime green, one was pink… I took pride in my watches. They made me feel like a grown-up, especially going to school where you feel like you have no control of your time, when your schedule is laid out in front of you each day. With a watch, I was master of my calendar.”
Her first timepiece instilled an enduring love of punctuality. “I actually set my watch ahead of time so I can always arrive early,” she says from LA, over a phone line crossing several time zones and, fittingly for this Space issue, as crackly as a radio signal to an orbiting space craft. That early sense of being in control of time, of being aware of its constraints, also informs Chastain’s film work. Drawn to playing strong, single-minded, driven women who want to influence destinies on a social, historic or galactic scale, hers is a career in which timepieces have added a special dimension to the story. “My characters definitely wear watches,” she concurs. Sometimes they are badges of personality or mission, such as the heavy-duty, functional watch she wears when playing an indefatigable CIA operative hunting down Osama bin Laden in Zero Dark Thirty. In the dystopian sci-fi Interstellar, a wristwatch is the device on which the entire plot turns.
Off-set, Chastain at 42 says she now simply wears a watch to complete an outfit. “In my everyday clothes or my eveningwear, I always think whatever I’m wearing could benefit from something on my wrist. I choose a watch to ground my outfit. Watches now are like jewellery pieces to me.” She took this watch-as-detail sensibility into Miss Sloane, the 2017 political thriller directed by John Madden in which her character is a ruthless, work-all-hours political lobbyist in Washington DC, a ticking timebomb of a powerbroker adorned with Piaget wristwear.
“It was important to me that we presented Elizabeth Sloane as someone who wore a watch all the time because she is very structured with her agenda,” she says. “She doesn’t allow herself any time when she is not moving forward in her desire to outsmart the opposition. Her wardrobe is sharp and elegant: the way she presents herself is the armour she wears in a man’s world. And she has really cool watches.”
Eagle-eyed horology experts will appreciate the Piaget watches. By day, Chastain/Sloane wore the Dancer watch in white gold, set with 36 brilliant-cut diamonds, with a sapphire caseback and white gold bracelet. For evening, she wore a traditional oval watch in white gold, set with 24 brilliant-cut diamonds, on a white gold bracelet. She is never without one or the other. As Chastain says, “The engine keeps running on this character.”
A life based around the rigours of film schedules calls for a certain amount of laissez-faire. Each film involves stepping into a time warp. “Everything gets turned on its head,” she says. “We could have our lunch break at 6pm or at midnight, depending on what we’re shooting. For me, it’s usually a question of ‘do I have enough time to do all the things I want to do?’ Last year I made four films and my personal and work life was very scheduled. It was important that it matched up and that there was time to do every-thing in a manner that would benefit the film and myself.”
To many, Chastain seemed to rocket into recognition in 2011 with the release of six films, including Coriolanus with Ralph Fiennes, The Tree of Life opposite Brad Pitt, and The Help, a role for which she won multiple award nominations. The reality, she says, was a slow, steady ascent, fuelled by a packed CV. “It took a long time before I got the chances to audition for films that I was excited about being in,” she says. “Films hovered. Or stalled. It took a while for films to come out… And then I was busy, busy, busy making up for the opportunities I had missed.”
Around the same time as her Swatch-watch phase, Chastain recalls watching Alien. She has often described Sigourney Weaver’s performance as a kickass crew member aboard the spaceship Nostromo as a lightbulb moment: “I realised for the first time that there could be more than one kind of role for an actress—that a woman could be this fully realised, active, multi-dimensional character. And she couldn’t only be all of that, she could also be a hero.” Thirty-odd years later, Chastain got the call from Ridley Scott herself, for The Martian, and was cast as Melissa Lewis, the captain of a mission to Mars.
From being master of her school schedule, Chastain time-travelled to being a master of the universe, drawn to sci-fi roles in Interstellar and The Martian because of directors Christopher Nolan and Ridley Scott. “I was already interested in space, but I knew those directors were going to tell a fascinating story and I was going to learn a lot,” she says. “Interstellar ignited my interest, opening my mind to the idea that space is the great unknown and there is so much we can learn about ourselves when we explore the galaxy.” She recommends The Science of Interstellar, a book by Kip Thorn, a theoretical physicist who helped with the concept of the movie. “It explains all the space-time theories in our film and how they interconnect, and I found it fascinating.”
By showing Einstein’s theory of relativity as a human story, Interstellar achieves the actress’s goal: to make you see the world in a different way. Professor Brand, the architect of the NASA mission exploring alternative planets for human survival (played by Michael Caine), is not afraid of death, only of time. The crew consider time as a resource on a par with food or oxygen: it will run out. Like all good thrillers, the denouement is a down-to-the-wire race against time or, in this case, a race to the gravitational flickering of the second hand of a wristwatch.
To prepare for her role in The Martian, Chastain met with “some incredible astronauts and scientists” at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory and NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston. She was also dismayed by the low profile of women throughout the Space Age. “At NASA, there was a hall-of-fame type wall of all the astronauts who had left Earth and spacewalked. I was really disheartened to see how few were women. Like every industry, the space industry discriminates against women. That is pretty clear when you see the history, visually, up on the wall. We have a real long way to go to make that up.
“All you have to do is research the Mercury 13 programme,” she continues, referring to the 13 American women who were privately funded to participate in the same physiological screening tests as the astronauts selected by NASA in 1959 for Project Mercury.
“You discover that the United States actively discriminated against women. There were female pilots who were scoring much higher on the astronaut tests than the men, and yet they had to go and lobby for the inclusion of women in front of Congress. In 1962, John Glenn, one of the Mercury Seven [the military test pilots selected in 1959 by NASA as the nation’s first astronauts], testified against the women, saying ‘the fact that women are not in this field is a fact of our social order’. Great strides are being made now, but we have a long way to go to make up for the discrimination of women who were never allowed to achieve their ambitions.”
Chastain hopes that a young girl could see her in The Martian and be inspired to join NASA. “Or not just join NASA, but maybe be a leader, the commander of a mission to Mars,” she says. “When you see these depictions of strong women in the media then the idea of a woman leading a space mission doesn’t seem like it’s out of reach. I feel a responsibility in the roles I take. My goal is for a young girl to see that and step forward herself.”
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Photoshoots & Portraits > 2019 > #004 Vanity Fair