admin • May 5,2018 • 0 Comments

DEADLINE –  Hard to imagine there will be a hotter film package unveiled at Cannes next week than 355, a large-scale espionage film that Simon Kinberg will direct with an all-star international spy cast of Jessica ChastainMarion CotillardPenelope CruzFan Bingbing and Lupita Nyong’o. They’ll play international agents in a grounded, edgy action thriller that aims to alter a male-dominated genre with a true female ensemble, in the style of spy franchises The Bourne Identity, Mission: Impossible and James Bond. The script is by Theresa Rebeck. The hope is to launch a franchise.

The actresses will be on hand with Kinberg next week to pitch their vision to international buyers at the Majestic Hotel on the Croisette. FilmNation Entertainment will sell international and CAA Media Finance Group will rep North American and Chinese distribution rights. Freckle Films’ Chastain and Kelly Carmichael are producing with Kinberg and his Kinberg Genre banner.

Kinberg just directed and Chastain starred in X-Men: Dark Phoenix. The idea for 355 came from Chastain, and she pitched it to him while they worked on that superhero film on which Kinberg made his feature directing debut. It didn’t take long for Chastain to get commitments from the filmmaker, and the actresses.

I had so much fun working on The Help that I always wanted to do another female ensemble film,” Chastain told Deadline. “I love the Bourne movies, the Mission: Impossible films, and wondered why, except for Charlie’s Angels, there hadn’t been a true female ensemble action-thriller spy film. That got my wheels going, along with the idea of casting actresses from all over the world to truly make it an international project. I realized the incredible creative freedom we would have with that. I brought the idea to Simon, told him about the actresses I was thinking of, and he was so sweet. He said, ‘I want to do it with you.’

Then I called all the women, told them what I was envisioning and that I wanted it to be a collaborative process, and how we would all create this together,Chastain said. “The one thing that felt important is that we all show up at Cannes, because that would be the beginning of our journey together. Every single actress I called said yes, on the phone call. They committed to Cannes and to everything. So far it has been a very wonderfully easy process.

Beyond The Help, the project that most helped inform Chastain’s appetite for espionage was Zero Dark Thirty, for which she also was Oscar-nominated. Through that research, Chastain found the film’s title.

When I was preparing for Zero Dark Thirty, I had incredible resources working in the CIA I got to learn from,” she said. “We have a consultant in our film that has a lot of knowledge in espionage. This title came from one of the conversations I had with him. Agent 355 was the code name of a female spy during the American Revolution. She was one of the very first spies for the United States, and her identity is still unknown. For a lot of women who work in the CIA and other organizations like that, Code 355 is a universal slang term for female spy. It’s the invisible woman who was never named.

Kinberg said that tonally, the Bourne franchise is the touchstone, only here the agents will be women, and they will share the screen equally.

It won’t be as hyperbolic as some franchises, and unlike the other films that revolve around one main character, the goal here is the true ensemble, all these characters who have their own distinct traits, histories — fully formed and complex characters with equal weight in the film. That’s unique, as is having all female spies. We are digging into the reality of spy craft today. There are all kinds of things that seem out of a James Bond or even a sci-fi movie, but the technology is so advanced that it’s real. Having someone who knows that reality informing the script has been really helpful.

The film involves these top agents from organizations around the world uniting to stop a global organization from acquiring a weapon that could plunge an already unstable world into total chaos. They have to overcome cultural and political differences to form a bond and work together.

What we can say is, they come up against an organization larger than the established spy organizations we’ve known up to this point,” said Kinberg, long the creative spine of the X-Men franchise and who’s separately writing and producing a Star Wars film. “We are hoping to create a franchise with this, and the first film will be the agents coming together.

While the cast creates the opportunity for glamour to go along with the global locations and action set pieces, this will not be some campy outing. Those Zero Dark Thirty experiences with Kathryn Bigelow and Mark Boal set Chastain’s bar for reality very high.

It’s a film and not a documentary, but our goal is to make this action spy thriller as authentic as we can, with as much trade craft as we can,” she said. “So when people in these organizations, in the CIA or MI6 around the world see the film, my goal is they will say, ‘Wow, this is pretty authentic. They got it.’ That was the thing I loved the most in making Zero Dark Thirty.

The other thing that was important was to broaden the opportunities and expectations for women in this #MeToo moment, something that means a great deal to Chastain and her co-stars.

The action genre has long been dominated by male heroes, and it’s so exciting to be part of a film that will allow for not just one female action hero but a whole ensemble of very capable, fierce female characters that reject tired stereotypes,” she said. “Characters that liberate from the confines of stereotypical traits. That is something that excited me about this, the opportunity to create different types of female heroes.

Kinberg is repped by CAA and attorney Karl Austen; Chastain is CAA, Mosaic and Hansen Jacobson; Cotillard is CAA and Adequat; Cruz is CAA, Untitled and Kuranda Management; Bingbing is CAA and Nyong’o is CAA and Del Shaw.

admin • March 3,2018 • 0 Comments

VULTURE – There’s a new Jessica Chastain double feature hitting theaters this weekend, but this one isn’t a revival of The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby or some ambitious two-parter she squeezed in after filming Molly’s Game. Instead, it’s a unique theatrical experience beamed in from 2006, before Chastain was an Oscar-nominated A-lister: That year, Al Pacino cast the then-relatively unknown actress opposite him as the titular character in the Oscar Wilde play Salomé, and as they performed it in Los Angeles, he also shot a feature version of the production and put together a documentary about staging it.

The result, now finally making its way into theaters, starts with Pacino’s behind-the-scenes documentary Wilde Salomé and then shows us their production of Salomé itself, and both are a spectacular showcase for Chastain, not just as an actress, but as someone who thinks and feels deeply about what her role represents. Chastain recently hopped on the phone with Vulture to reminisce about the project that served as her big break and discuss how she found her character, who starts in a place of shy reserve but eventually commands the stage with a famous dance of sexual expression.

Take me back to where you were in your life when this opportunity came along.
Gosh, well, I was auditioning, I was doing a lot of guest spots on television, living in Los Angeles and just dreaming for a great film script to come my way that I could audition for. And then, funnily enough, I was visiting Michelle Williams in Australia because we’d been in a play together, and while I was there I got a call from my agent that said, “Al Pacino wants you to audition for Salomé.” I was shocked. I’d never met Al Pacino! Come to find out that I’d done a play off Broadway called Rodney’s Wife, and Marthe Keller — who had worked with Al on Bobby Deerfield — saw it and she recommended me to Al. So this literally was the most random phone call to get from my agent to say, “Al Pacino wants you to audition for this play.”

That must have put some wind in your sails!
It gave me more confidence. It was an interesting thing because when I got out of college, it felt like you needed to start in television and film before you became financially viable to do theater, because that’s what I was learning from the shows I was seeing: It was very rare to see a non-famous actor in a lead on Broadway. So I moved to Los Angeles, and then to be told that a play that I had been in Off Broadway had helped me to have the opportunity to meet Al Pacino, it was kind of wonderful because that’s where my heart lies. My first love in this industry was the theater.

So what was that first audition like?
I read the play because I was unfamiliar with it and my first thought was that I was shocked how great the part of Salomé was, and I was really surprised that I would have the chance to audition for it. I just assumed that they would take Keira Knightley or someone with more recognizable work, so when I showed up I was prepared, but I really wasn’t expecting to get anything.

For the first audition, I met with the play’s director, Estelle Parsons, and we sat and talked for a while. She helped me so much because I used to be very, very shy and very self-conscious, and as we were talking, she just said, “Why should I know you?” I went, “Oh my gosh! I don’t know.” And she goes “No, tell me, why do I need to know who you are?” So I had to tell her the work I’d done. And before I’d even read one work from the play for her, she pointed to the stage and said, “Let me see you dance. I wanna see how you move.” I was like, “What?” But I could see this little twinkle in her eye and I could tell it was like a bit of a dare to see if I could play the role and go through a transformation like the character does, to do this dance. So I got up and I was like, You’re not gonna scare me away, lady, and I just danced. There was no music or anything, I just was in this empty room dancing, and she goes, “Okay, great.” And then I was told that I was gonna come back to audition again, and this time Al would be there.

And what was it like for you to meet him in person?
In all fairness, I was surprised by his generosity because he’d always played such aggressive, dynamic characters onscreen — not necessarily the most empathetic or compassionate people. And yet, when I met him, I went into the room very nervous and started acting and then I could hear him in the audience saying, like, “Wow! That’s amazing!” I think at one point he said, “What am I seeing? Is that Brando?” Saying the most crazy things! I had never had anyone in an audition look at me as an actor like that, who really valued my work and could see beyond my shyness and my self-consciousness and my insecurities. He was a great cheerleader. He saw in some way that I needed someone in my corner and he became my greatest acting teacher. Everything I am on film and theater — even who I am as a person, I’m sure — it’s because of the time that I got to spend with Al.

I was impressed to see that in the documentary, you’re really fighting for the things you want out of your performance. I feel like there is a straight line I can draw from that version of you to the Jessica Chastain in 2018 who is not afraid to speak her mind.
But you know what that is? It’s because Al set the stage for it. You can be in an environment where it’s very clear people aren’t interested in your opinion, but from the moment I arrived at that audition, he made sure I understood that I was contributing something. Even if I wasn’t going to play the part, I still felt that my opinion and my talent were valued. When someone creates that space for me, it helps me blossom as a performer because then, as I’m discovering who Salomé is and the transformation that she’s making, I can really fight for her. And when I do, I’m not being shushed or overlooked like sometimes I have been in situations, especially in the beginning of my career where people weren’t interested in what I wanted to bring to a character. With Al, you can’t just show up and be a prop. You’re not there to be moved around by a director, you’re there to contribute. Even in a film, with every part I play, it’s not me separate from the director — my character is created from my conversations with the director. We’re discovering it together, and I learned that from Al.

One of the thing we see you negotiating is the nudity in Salomé’s famous dance.
I have no issues with nudity, especially in a lot of European cinema that I adore, but I find that in American cinema, the idea of nudity has always bothered me. I realized why: For me, I’m uncomfortable with nudity when it feels like it’s not the person’s decision to be naked, when it’s something that has been put upon them. In a way, I see that as like a victimization. It trains an audience that exploiting someone in their body should be normal for nudity, when I think the opposite. When people are completely in control of their decisions, that is a really exciting thing. I love the human form — male nudity, female nudity, I’m all about it. I had to get to that place where, for me, it was my decision.

How did that happen?
From the very beginning, like when I first came on to the play, I was never told it was something I had to do. The more I researched and read about the other versions of the play, I learned about how scandalous it was, I read about Sarah Bernhardt, and I read a book called Sisters of Salomé which talked about what it meant to dance naked. What is that power? What is that freedom? Even the idea of the Salem witch trials, when you think of the young girls dancing naked … what is so scary to society about that kind of female sexual freedom. I realized that there’s power in that to harness, so learning all of that stuff actually made me feel it was important for the character that there was nudity.

The crazy thing I learned in the documentary is that you essentially improvised the dance every night. 
I was terrified. I just started working with a lot of dance experts. I studied dance when I was younger but with Western dance, it’s very still — there’s not very much movement in the pelvis. With a lot of Eastern dancing, there is, so I worked with people on that. For the dance, the music would change every night, so the music would start a certain way and I would do a certain move where everyone would realize, “Okay, the dance is starting,” and then, depending on what I was doing and depending on what the musician was doing, we would kind of find it together. So I had a beginning and an end but I didn’t know what was going to happen in between.

Was that exciting, too?
In an Actor’s Studio way, it forced me to completely be in the moment. Sometimes the dance would be really long, and sometimes it would be really short. I would just have to find her journey each night and it’s terrifying to think that there’s 1,400 people sitting in the audience and I don’t know what I’m going to do. How am I gonna get there? It’s a very vulnerable thing, but it’s so important because through that dance, Salomé becomes a woman. It’s the first time that she’s taking control over her life and taking control of other people. The audience doesn’t know what to expect, but then when they sense my uncertainty, my nervousness, or maybe even my stumbling or not knowing what move I’m going to make next, that’s Salomé.

Is it fair to say that in some ways, Salomé’s character arc — from shy girl to empowered woman — was not unlike where you were as an actress at that point?
I never thought about it that way, but absolutely. The moment we meet Salomé, we see that she just wants to live this life of purity separate from her mother and the court, but then at the end of the play, our last image of Salomé is her kissing a severed head. We go from chastity to necrophilia — you can’t have a bigger arc than that! I can’t say that I have that specific arc, but I can say that in terms of going from girlhood to womanhood, absolutely I did. It was about this idea that I didn’t have to be a little girl anymore. I could step away and be a full person, and I could have my own voice and not be in the shadow of anything.

admin • January 1,2018 • 0 Comments

Jessica is amongst a very star-studded line-up on the cover of this years Vanity Fair Hollywood issue, which has been released online on January 25. Chastain is joined by Nicole Kidman, Oprah Winfrey, Reese Witherspoon, Tom Hanks, Zendaya, Claire Foy, Michael Shannon, Harrison Ford, Gal Gadot, Robert DeNiro, Michael B. Jordan and the Vanity Fair editor Graydon Carter. The issue consists of the fold-out cover photoshoot, and a small blurb on each star. Find the photos in our Gallery and Jessica text snippet below:

In the quarter-century since Vanity Fair launched the Hollywood Issue, show business has changed in fundamental ways, as have magazines. But a star-studded, foldout cover remains a surefire thrill. This year’s portfolio goes inside the cover’s creation, which took place in L.A. and New York as Annie Leibovitz photographed 12 of film and TV’s most iconic actors—with a non-actor corralled for the shoot for his last V.F. hurrah.

The films and TV shows represented by the actors in this year’s Hollywood Portfolio—which for the first time offers a behind-the-scenes look at the shoot—took the #MeToo movement in stride, offering strong women in leading roles, as well as strong men supporting them. Here we have Reese Witherspoon and Nicole Kidman summoning the women’s battle cry of Big Little Lies alongside Tom Hanks as Ben Bradlee, the indispensable sidekick to The Post heroine Katharine Graham. There’s also Claire Foy and Gal Gadot, embodiments of their formidable characters, the Queen and Wonder Woman, and one possible future female president in the mix. Movies have always thrived on relevance, and this year’s cover stars don’t hesitate to make a statement about the times we’re living in and the changes that need to happen.

JESSICA CHASTAIN, actor, producer.

30 films, including Molly’s Game (2017).

With her cherry hair and Creamsicle complexion, Jessica Chastain possesses a classical beauty suitable for Victorian high collars (Crimson Peak), to-the-manor-born hauteur (Miss Julie), heroic archery (The Huntsman: Winter’s War), and parts requiring her to keep her dimpled chin cocked. Chastain has also dived into the netherworlds of counter-intelligence (Zero Dark Thirty) and high-roller underground gambling (Molly’s Game, as real-life “poker princess” Molly Bloom) without losing translucence. On the horizon is perhaps Chastain’s greatest challenge: playing the sainted country-music singer Tammy Wynette in George and Tammy. (+)

Gallery Links:
Photoshoots & Portraits > 2018 > #007 Vanity Fair’s 2018 Hollywood issue

admin • January 1,2018 • 0 Comments

Jessica Chastain stopped by The Tonight Show Thursday(18) and asked Jimmy Fallon to act out some imaginary movie scenes. They switched it up and Chastain played the male role, while Fallon played the female role.

She and Fallon then acted out three movie scenes, reading off scripts and adopting roles of the opposite gender.

The first scene, from a romantic comedy, saw Chastain playing the man, bumping into Fallon, who was playing the woman.

Oh, excuse me. I didn’t see you there,” Chastain intoned. Fallon giggled and mumbled something about being clumsy. Here, Chastain launched into a self-involved monologue.

You’ll have to forgive me. I was lost in thought contemplating how small we are in this vast universe,” she said. “Nothing but a speck of dust. The only thing that could give me purpose is somebody to grab onto and join me as I float through this endless world of confusion.

Fallon‘s single line: “Yeah.”

The late night host then pointed out to Chastain, “I barely got to speak there.

The two other faux movie scenes proved similar points, with Chastain taking the lead or carelessly dismissing Fallon’s lines with a wave of her hand and a “no thanks.”

Chastain has been a vocal supporter of the #MeToo and Time’s Up movements. Last May, at the Cannes Film Festival, the actress spoke out about the problematically low female representation in film during a press conference following the festival’s final ceremony.

This is the first time I’ve watched 20 films in 10 days, and I love movies, and the one thing I really took away from this experience is how the world views women from the female characters that I saw represented,” Chastain said at the time. “It was quite disturbing to me, to be honest. There are some exceptions, I will say. But for the most part I was surprised by the representation of female characters on screen in these films, and I do hope that when we include more female storytellers we will have more of the women that I recognize in my day-to-day life. Ones who are proactive, have their own agency, don’t just react to the men around them, they have their own point of view.”

Jessica also revealed to Jimmy Fallon on how nervous she is to make her hosting debut on Saturday Night Live

I am so nervous,” the actress said of her upcoming debut, also explaining that she couldn’t enunciate her name while filming the promo. “Yeah, so we’ll see how Saturday goes,” the actress joked. Though Chastain is new to the SNL stage, the actress revealed that she has friends who have hosted the show before, including Sam Rockwell, Gal Gadot and Amy Schumer.

Gal said that it should be fine for me because English is my first language,” the actress joked of the Wonder Woman star’s advice. Meanwhile, Schumer informed her, “Just make sure you play everything super-serious, like your life depends on it.Chastain then revealed the subtle advice Rockwell offered which was simply to drink water and “stay hydrated.

Chastain also recalled a past, nerve-wracking experience meeting Oprah Winfrey, which she describes as not having gone well.

Because I started crying… I’m such a loser,” the actress said, further recalling the humorous encounter. “I just started crying and I said, ‘You raised me.‘” After Fallon asked whether the actress was still able to continue speaking with Winfrey, Chastain said, “I kind of blacked out after that moment.”

Though Winfrey and Chastain haven’t run into each other again, the camera did cut to Winfrey after the actress gave her speech at the Critics’ Choice Awards. Chastain explained that Winfrey was seen mouthing the word “wow” after her speech. “I don’t know if it was a good wow or a bad wow. … She knows I exist.

Gallery Links:

Appearances & Public Events > 2018 > Jan 18 | The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon

admin • January 1,2018 • 0 Comments

Jessica Chastain in on the cover of ‘The Wall Street Journal’ Magazine. Chastain, who was photographed by Annemarieke Van Drimmelen, gave a interview to the February issue for where she talks about gender equality and promote Molly’s Game. The magazine also brings quotes from Molly Bloom herself, Aaron Sorkin, Idris Elba and Melissa Silverstein, founder of Women and Hollywood, an initiative that advocates for gender equity in the entertainment industry and named Jessica as a co-chair for its 10th anniversary celebration last fall.

You can find interview in our press archive and the photoshoot in our gallery.

As Molly, Jessica Chastain delivers an unforgettable performance that earned her a Golden Globe nomination for best performance by an actress in a motion picture. The movie was written and directed by Aaron Sorkin, who was nominated for best screenplay. But neither of them dreamed up the film’s heroine—a real-life entrepreneur who recounted her adrenaline-fueled journey in the 2014 memoir called Molly’s Game: From Hollywood’s Elite to Wall Street’s Billionaire Boys Club, My High-Stakes Adventure in the World of Underground Poker.

Although she had lived the story, Bloom was stunned by the character Chastain created on camera. “I was blown away,” says Bloom. “To see how powerful Jessica is and how nuanced she is in communicating the things I was feeling—I just thought she was incredible. My family and close friends were like, ‘It was like watching you on-screen.’ 

Gallery Links:

Photoshoots & Portraits > 2018 > #006 – The Wall Street Journal

Magazines & Scans > 2018 > #003 The Wall Street Journal

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