Jessica Chastain Movies

Updated
04-27-13



Jessica in The Help - click to enlargeAfter graduating from Juilliard, Actress Jessica Chastain spent a few years in stage work and television. But when director Al Pacino cast her in the play, Salome, and then based a film on it, Jessica transitioned into movies. After two small, independent releases in 2010, she became well known during the summer of 2011 through her roles in The Tree of Life, The Help, and The Debt. She is often compared to Meryl Streep and Cate Blanchett.

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In Pre-Production and Rumored Films
Filming
Filming Complete
Upcoming Releases
Released in USA
No Release

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Awards and Festivals
Film Reviews
Jessica Chastain Biography
Jessica in The Tree of Life


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Movies by year: 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 No Release


Movie index in alphabetical order:

American Darling (coming)
Blackbeard
Caught in Flight (withdrawn)
Coriolanus
Crimson Peak
The Debt
D Eleanor Rigby (coming)
The Help
Jolene

Lawless
Madagascar 3
Mama
Miss Julie (coming)
Murder on the Orient Express
Oblivion (withdrawn)
Stolen
Take Shelter

Tar (unreleased)
Texas Killing Fields
To The Wonder (withdrawn)
Unity (unreleased)
Tree of Life
The Westerner (unreleased)
Wilde Salome (unreleased)
Zero Dark Thirty



Movie Roles
In Reverse Order of American Release

After Blackbeard, Jessica made a couple more TV guest appearances and did another play, but her major work became movies. According to Jessica, her first eleven movies were filmed in this order: Wilde Salome, Stolen, Jolene, The Tree of Life, The Debt, Coriolanus, The Texas Killing Fields, Take Shelter, The Help, The Burial, and The Wettest County in the World. However, due to various factors (often serious delays), the movies released in a considerably different order. She says, "I had made 11 movies before one came out in the movie theatre. I thought there was a Chastain curse."


Rumored Films

Jessica is rumored to be in some films, but is not yet confirmed. Those films are:


In Pre-Production

Crimson Peak (no date)
Jessica's role is not released
Directed by Guillermo del Toro
With Emma Stone, Charlie Hunnam, and Benedict Cumberbatch
Announced 04-05-13; to begin shooting early 2014

Last year, del Toro wrote about the film, "It's set at the turn of the century and it is a gothic romance with ghosts. When I use the GR term I use it not in the Barbara Cartland model but rather in a Bronte fashion. Dark and stormy and wind-swept." The story is a about a woman who discovers her husband might not be who he appears to be. It is uncertain whether Jessica or Emma plays the main character.

Legendary is financing the film, but Universal Pictures retains an option to join Legendary as a financier. Del Toro wrote the script with Matthew Robbins; Lucinda Coxon recently did a rewrite.

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Films Scheduled for 2014 Release

So far, films scheduled for 2014 release are American Darling (no date) and Miss Julie (fall). Jessica stars in both films.


American Darling (2014)
Jessica is Hannah Musgrave, the main character
Directed by Denis Villeneuve
Announced 10-14-11

Front Cover of the Novel
The Novel
Jessica has been cast in the main role of American Darling, an adaptation of Russell Banks' novel, The Darling, which was selected by The New York Times Book Review as a Notable Book of 2004. Earlier it was announced that Martin Scorsese was to direct the film version with Cate Blanchett as the main character.

Novel Synopsis: The story is about Hannah Musgrave, a member of the politically radical Weather Underground who is pursued by the FBI. On the run, she escapes to the African nation of Liberia and marries Woodrow Sundiata, a Cabinet Minister of that country. She also creates a sanctuary for chimpanzees. The story is set against twenty-five years of political struggle and civil war in Liberia.

See two-minute Video of author Russell Banks discussing the process of adapting the novel to a screenplay.

Points of interest:

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Filming

Miss Julie (fall 2014)
Jessica plays Miss Julie
Directed by Liv Ullman; written by August Strindberg
With Colin Farrell and Samantha Morton
Announced 10-16-12; confirmed 01-30-13; to be filmed at Castle Coole, Fermanagh, Ireland; began shooting 04-09-13

On October 16, 2012 Jessica told the New York Observer, 'I'm all about research. Hopefully, next year, I'm going to play Miss Julie, and I'm going to see as many versions of Miss Julie as I can get my hands on.' Miss Julie is a one-act tragedy written by August Strindberg in 1888. There have been a number of performances of the play, including two on Broadway (1913 and 1962) and seven on film and television. Some who have played the character of Miss Julie are Manda Bjorling (1912) and Helen Mirren (1972).

Most of the film will be shot at Castle Coole, Fermanagh, Ireland. Castle Coole was designed by James Wyatt and completed in 1798. The mansion served as the home of the Earls of Belmore.

Synopsis: Miss Julie inherited the primitive, intense passion of her mother and the neurotic aristocratic tendencies of her father. Added to this heritage is the call of the wild...Miss Julie feels...that the barrier of rank reared through the ages, by wealth and power, is not flung aside with impunity. Therein the vicious brutality, the boundless injustice of rank. The people on the estate of Julie's father are celebrating St. John's Eve with dance, song and revelry. The Count is absent, and Julie graciously mingles with the servants. But once having tasted the simple abandon of the people, once having thrown off the artifice and superficiality of her aristocratic decorum, her suppressed passions leap into full flame, and Julie throws herself into the arms of her father's valet, Jean -- not because of love for the man, nor yet openly and freely, but as persons of her station may do when carried away by the moment. The woman in Julie pursues the male, follows him into the kitchen, plays with him as with a pet dog, and then feigns indignation when Jean, aroused, makes advances...when Kristin, the betrothed of Jean, discovers that her mistress Julie had given herself to him, she is indignant that her lady should have so much forgotten her station as to stoop to her father's valet.

Points of interest:

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Filming Complete


Films Scheduled for 2013 Release

So far, films scheduled for 2013 release are: Mama (January 18) and the companion films The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby: Hers (no date) and The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby: His (no date). Awards Watch: Jessica is the starring actress in all three films.


The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby: Hers (2013)
The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby: His (2013)
Jessica is Eleanor Rigby
Written and directed by Ned Benson
With James McAvoy, Viola Davis, Isabelle Huppert, Jess Weixler, William Hurt, and Ciarin Hinds
Announced 02-02-12; began shooting July 2012

Jessica Chastain and James McAvoy
Jessica with James McAvoy
Synopsis: The love story explores a New York City couple’s relationship during a difficult time in their marriage, from the different perspective of the husband, (McAvoy), a restaurant owner, and of the wife (Chastain), who goes back to college.

Jessica Chastain and McAvoy will star in this double-feature project. One movie tells the story from the perspective of the wife who has returned to college; the other is from the husband's viewpoint. Some sources indicate that it has a 1930's Depression era setting. The two movies are meant to be shown separately, so that viewers can choose which to see first. It comes to us from Myriad Pictures and is directed by Ned Benson (In Defiance of Gravity). Whether there is a connection to the Eleanor Rigby of the Beatles is not known. See the Beatles lyrics here.

Jessica Chastain and Jess Weixler on Eleanor Rigby Set
Jessica with Jess Weixler on Set
Eleanor Rigby is Jessica's second film to be directed by Ned Benson. They worked together on the film short The Westerner which was never released to theaters.

The cast seems to be a Jessica Chastain dream team. Jessica shares on her facebook page that her best friend Jess Weixler plays her sister [Katy Rigby] in the movie. Viola Davis, Jessica's Oscar-winning cast-mate from The Help, is with her and there are rumors that The Debt's Ciarin Hinds is casted as well. By far the most exciting for Jessica must be that her idol Isabelle Huppert is in the film. With all her friends and heroes on board, she should have a wonderful adventure. One wonders if perhaps she had some input into the casting!

At the release of the first images from the Eleanor Rigby set, a number of news writers reported that Jessica had cut her hair for the film. This is not the case; Jessica informs us on facebook that she is wearing a wig (she does look cute, though, with short, red hair). Later, she told another fan on facebook that she is keeping it! Jessica also answered a question on facebook regarding the scheduling conflict between her two projects. She says, 'I finish Eleanor Rigby the last week of Aug, and then start rehearsals the first week of September for The Heiress....not much of a break, but thank goodness they don't overlap.'

Points of interest:

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Upcoming Releases

No upcoming release dates at this time.


Released in USA

Mama Poster - click to enlargeMama (January 18, 2013)
Jessica plays Annabel
Written by Andres and Barbara Muschietti; and directed by Andres Muschietti; produced by Guillermo del Toro
With Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Megan Charpentier, and Isabelle Nelisse
Announced 07-19-11; began filming October 3, 2011 in Toronto

Jessica Filming Mama - click to enlarge
Jessica as Annabel
Synopsis: Mama is a supernatural thriller that tells the haunting tale of two little girls who disappeared into the woods the day that their mother was murdered. When they are rescued years later and begin a new life, they find that someone or something still wants to come tuck them in at night. The day their father killed their mother, sisters Victoria and Lilly vanished near their suburban neighborhood. For five long years, their Uncle Lucas and his girlfriend, Annabel, have been madly searching for them. But when, incredibly, the kids are found alive in a decrepit cabin, the couple wonders if the girls are the only guests they have welcomed into their home. As Annabel tries to introduce the children to a normal life, she grows convinced of an evil presence in their house. Are the sisters experiencing traumatic stress, or is a ghost coming to visit them? How did the broken girls survive those years all by themselves? As she answers these disturbing questions, the new mother will find that the whispers she hears at bedtime are coming from the lips of a deadly presence.

Mama Film Short - click to view
Mama Film Short
Jessica is Annabel in this horror film based on a 2008 Spanish film short of the same name (Mama). Annabel is a tattooed, child-hating bass player in a punk band trying to get away from the ghost of her own mother. She and her husband, Lucas (Coster-Waldau), become adoptive parents for Lucas' long-lost nieces who are found after living in the forest after five years. Jessica and stars in Mama
Jessica and stars in Mama
However, when evil arises Annabel matures and becomes the children's protector. At first, the director assumed Jessica would not want to physically change her look, but she wanted to play the character as she is, so she has short black hair and a huge octopus tattoo.

Horror giant Guillermo Del Toro is producing the project for Universal Pictures. See the Video of original short (3:35) introduced by Guillermo del Toro. Read a review of the original short. Mama Trailer. The second Trailer released is similar to the first, but a few parts are deleted and a few added; it is even scarier than the first trailer. See the Mama TV spot, four more clips, ten photos, and ten more photos. See a 4:56 Video of Jessica discussing Mama and a 2:28 featurette. Guillermo Del Toro talks about Mama and casting Jessica Chastain. Reviews

Jessica shared with an interviewer, "I've done an experiment, and it's working for me. I heard Johnny Depp has an earwig [headphones], and sometimes he listens to music during a scene. So I asked the director if I could wear one for all of my scary scenes and have them play this really terrifying music in my ear. That's how it's gonna be in the scene anyway, right?"

Points of interest:

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Films Released in 2012

Films slated for 2012 release are: Coriolanus (January 20), Madagascar 3 (June 8), Lawless (August 31), and Zero Dark Thirty (December 19). In addition, Jessica has a Broadway play, The Heiress, in the fall.

Awards Watch: Jessica is a supporting actress in Lawless, but she has the starring role in Zero Dark Thirty, which began generating Oscar buzz several months before its release. Madagascar 3 in an animated film. Coriolanus opened for one week in December 2011, so it was part of the 2011 award season.

On October 24 it was announced that Zero Dark Thirty would be campaigning Jessica for the Best Actress Oscar. Jessica was nominated and appeared to be the front runner for several weeks, but she did not win the award on Oscar night.


Zero Dark Thirty Poster - click to enlargeZero Dark Thirty (December 19, 2012) December 19 limited release, with wide release on January 11.
Previous title: Kill bin Laden
Jessica stars as Maya, a CIA intelligence analyst
Directed by Kathryn Bigelow
With Jason Clarke, Joel Edgerton and Mark Strong
Announced 01-05-12; began filming February 2012 (about three months) in Jordan and India

Jessica in Zero Dark Thirty
Jessica in Zero Dark Thirty
On December 22, 2011, Jessica indicated she would begin filming a new movie in February, which "I promised not to reveal, but it's absolutely high profile." January 1, 2012, she repeated on facebook that she could not say more about it. Four days later, she was able to reveal on facebook that that movie was Bigelow's film on bin Laden. We did not know before that that Jessica was associated with the film.

Kathryn Bigelow directed Hurt Locker and teamed up with Hurt Locker screenwriter Mark Boal on this project as well. In planning since 2008, the filmscript was originally an adaptation of the book Kill Bin Laden (by Dalton Fury?), which chronicles the US attempts to capture the leader of Al Qaeda in the battle of Tora Bora in late 2001. But, as events changed, the script changed until it became an account of the search for Osama bin Laden and the assault on his compound in Pakistan that resulted in bin Laden's death.

See a 1:14 Video teaser. It does not tell us much, so it is not really a trailer. But see the later 2:15 full Trailer.

Jessica in Zero Dark Thirty
Jessica in Zero Dark Thirty
Jessica on Zero Dark Thirty Set in Chandigarh
Jessica on Zero Dark Thirty Chandigarh Set
As details trickled out, we heard that Jessica would play a member of an elite team of spies who are devoted to finding Osama bin Laden.

There was also a report that she would portray a field intelligence analyst who assists the SEAL Team, but we were told she would not be one of the SEAL Team members, but that her role will require intensive training.

Some pointed out that there is in the script a female reporter embedded with Navy SEAL Team 6, and postulated that this might be Jessica's character instead.

In a September 2012 interview, Charles McGrath asked Jessica to comment on the fact that she had the leading role in this film about men. He sounded as though he had specific inside information on this hush-hush topic. She responded that she could not comment on his question, but she could say that she was there for a long time shooting, that most of the actors played real people, and that her part was awesome. This possibility seems more likely in light of the full Trailer released on October 11; Jessica is all over it. On November 20, a new poster was released that essentially confirmed it; Jessica was the only face on the poster and the tagline read: FOR TEN YEARS ONE WOMAN NEVER STOPPED SEARCHING FOR THE MOST WANTED MAN IN HISTORY. About a week later, the first Reviews of the movie erased all doubt. Also see the final 2:33 Trailer released in mid-December.

Accepting a role in this movie created a scheduling conflict with Jessica's previously announced project, Horizons (or Oblivion), with Tom Cruise that was to begin shooting March 12, so Jessica dropped out of Horizons.

Controversy

Jessica in Zero Dark Thirty
Jessica in Zero Dark Thirty

There have been a number of controversies surrounding Zero Dark Thirty. For example, since August 2011, as to whether Bigelow and Boal had access to inside classified information regarding the Obama Administration's mission in preparing the script. The Pentagon investigated charges made to that effect by Rep. Peter King, chair of the House of Representatives homeland security committee. In any case, Sony Pictures scheduled a December 19 release in an apparent attempt to avoid the presidential election season. Republicans were concerned that the planned October release would provide President Obama a home-stretch boost in the election. As it turns out, Obama does not factor into the story and the tone of the movie is not particularly favorable toward him.

A second controversy opened when US Senators Feinstein, Levin, and McCain sent a letter to Sony accusing Zero Dark Thirty of falsely portraying torture as effective in the hunt of bin Laden, which Sony and the Zero Dark Thirty team denied. Among observers, debate ran hot on both sides of the issue. Judicial Watch filed a reply brief with the United States District Court for the District of Columbia seeking access to the names of the five CIA bin Laden raid operatives disclosed by the Obama Department of Defense and the CIA to Kathryn Bigelow and Mark Boal.

There were also questions on whether the torture was depicted accurately. Acting CIA Director Morell stated that Zero Dark Thirty was a dramatization taking significant artistic license. Lawmakers accused the CIA of misleading Zero Dark Thirty regarding harsh methods. Again there was heated debate on both sides of the issue. Anti-torture protestors demonstrated at the Washington, DC movie premiere.

In the aftermath of Islamic violence following the release of Innocence of the Muslims, the insensitive film about Muhammad, people began to question whether Zero Dark Thirty might spark a similar backlash.

Scene from Zero Dark Thirty
Scene from Zero Dark Thirty
Additional drama came into play on two fronts in the first days of March 2012, when the crew began filming the Indian portion of the film. First, there were strong protests among some Hindus against remaking an Indian town to resemble a Pakistani one. The second was the somewhat humorous false rumor that Brad Pitt was the star of the movie and was secretly in India for the filming.

The Medal of Honor: Warfighter game has a tie-in with a Zero Dark Thirty map pack, inspired by the Darra Gun Market and Chitral Compound to accompany its Medal of Honor: Warfighter launch on October 23rd, 2012, for PC, Xbox 360, and PS3. See the promotional video. It too drew controversy. Seven members of Navy SEAL Team 6, including one involved in the mission to get Osama bin Laden, were punished for disclosing classified information to the maker of the video game. The seven received punitive letters of reprimand and partial forfeiture of pay for two months, which actions generally hinder careers. Four other SEALs are under investigation for similar alleged violations.

Oscar Season Performance

Zero Dark Thirty began to receive Oscar buzz early on. As the awards season heated up, so did the attention to Zero Dark Thirty. Once the promotional packages were received by critics, the movie raced toward the top of the year's best works, especially for Best Film, Best Director, and Best Actress. By January 8, Zero Dark Thirty had garnered sixty awards including 18 for Best Actress (Jessica), 13 for Best Film, and 13 for Best Director (Kathryn Bigelow). See more at Jessica Chastain Awards.

When Academy Award nominations were announced on January 10, Zero Dark Thirty picked up five nominations for: Best Picture, Original Screenplay, Best Actress, Sound Editing, and Film Editing. However, Kathryn Bigelow was not nominated in the Best Director Category. Oscar winners will be revealed on February 24.

See the official Zero Dark Thirty website, facebook page, a 5:38 special on Nightline, and Zero Dark Thirty Reviews. Listen to the movie score by Alexandre Desplat. See Jessica's 4:22 interview about Zero Dark Thirty.

Points of interest:

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Lawless Poster - click to enlarge Lawless (August 29, 2012) UK September 7
Previous title: The Wettest County in the World
Jessica plays Maggie
Directed by John Hillcoat
With Tom Hardy, Shia LaBeouf, Gary Oldman, Mia Wasikowska, and Guy Pearce
115 minutes
Announced 12-13-10; 43 days of filming in Peachtree, Georgia began on February 28, 2011

Jessica Chastain Lawless Poster
Jessica Chastain Lawless Poster
Jessica in car from Lawless
Jessica in car from Lawless
Lawless is a gangster drama based on the novel by Matt Bondurant and adapted by Nick Cave. The movie concerns brothers who are part of a bootlegger family that runs a small Virginia town.

Jessica says, “I play a gun moll from Chicago in the 1930s who ends up in the south with these three brothers who are selling moonshine. It’s a fight between them and the police. My character has a romance with Tom Hardy’s character." Apparently, things get a bit 'steamy' between them. Jessica said regarding Tom Hardy, "He’s fantastic in the film! It’s an absolute transformation. You learn something from every actor that you work with. Tom is good at making the unexpected choice."

Maggie's character: Maggie had a hard luck upbringing. As a teenager, she was sent from her home in rural Virginia to Carolina to work in a textile mill. A few years later, to pay off family debt following the death of her father, she took work as a cook at the County Line Restaurant in Franklin County, Virginia, which was eventually bought by Forrest Bondurant. She later went with Forrest when he bought the Blackwater Station, working the grill and helping the infamous Bondurant brothers with their local bootlegging operation. Maggie was tough and loyal, but reserved, and the exact nature of her relationship with the stoic Forrest remains the subject of speculation.

At the Cannes Film Festival in May 2011, Wettest County started a bidding war for U.S. distribution rights which was won by The Weinstein Company for almost $5 million. See Jessica's Good Morning America interview Video for Lawless. Jessica talks about Lawless in a 3:00 Video. Jessica 2:31 minute interview Video for Lawless. Jessica and Tom in :58 Video clip plus two other clips. Five more short Video clips. Two Video featurettes. Trailer; Newer Trailer (some nudity); Reviews; website. See a 2:12 featurette.

Jessica with Tom Hardy in Lawless
Jessica with Tom Hardy in Lawless
Synopsis: Gangster meets Western in LAWLESS, the true story of the freewheelin’ Bondurant brothers, bootlegging siblings taking the law into their own hands. This is the story of the rural hard-men that created the big city gangsters. Brazen and fearless, these young rebel brothers helped build the American Dream in this exuberant tale of what was to become crime’s first major gold rush. The youngest brother, JACK (Shia LaBeouf), fancies himself the next Al Capone; he dreams of sharp suits, guns, girls and fast cars, no matter the cost. Ambitious and impulsive, he takes the family’s small-scale moonshining operation to the big leagues, to impress the gorgeous but off-limits Amish girl, BERTHA (Mia Wasikowska). The middle brother, HOWARD (Jason Clarke), is the brawling muscle – loyal but reckless – never one to turn down a taste of white lightning. And eldest brother, FORREST (Tom Hardy), reluctantly accepts the changing times with grace and grit, leading the family with strength of character and silent determination against the beginnings of corporate greed. An enigmatic and stunning MAGGIE (Jessica Chastain) comes to town with a hidden past, igniting his passion and almost saving him in the process. As the Bondurants’ legend grows, so too does the danger, and it’s not long before the brothers must face the consequences of their transgressions, or rewrite the myth and the law themselves.

Jessica in Lawless
Jessica in Lawless
A synopsis of the novel is found at Amazon.com: Based on the true story of Matt Bondurant's grandfather and two granduncles, The Wettest County in the World is a gripping tale of brotherhood, greed, and murder. The Bondurant Boys were a notorious gang of roughnecks and moonshiners who ran liquor through Franklin County, Virginia, during Prohibition and in the years after. Forrest, the eldest brother, is fierce, mythically indestructible, and the consummate businessman; Howard, the middle brother, is an ox of a man besieged by the horrors he witnessed in the Great War; and Jack, the youngest, has a taste for luxury and a dream to get out of Franklin. Driven and haunted, these men forge a business, fall in love, and struggle to stay afloat as they watch their family die, their father's business fail, and the world they know crumble beneath the Depression and drought.

Lawless Poster - United Kingdom
Lawless Poster - United Kingdom
This is the first role for which Jessica did not have to audition. Director John Hillcoat discovered the relatively unknown Jessica Chastain after seeing her in The Debt and discussing her with Terry Malick who had incredible things to say about her. In preparation for her part, Jessica worked with a voice coach to acquire a Chicago accent and she watched a lot of 1930's classics. Jessica said of her character, 'Maggie is a woman who grew up in a world of violence. She's used to being surrounded by men that desire her. But when Forrester proves to be resistant to her charms, she finds herself in an unexpected situation...A lot of people have commented on the violence in the film but at the end of the day, I think it's more about the romance than anything else. However brutal their love may be.'

Lawless premiered at the 2012 Cannes International Film Festival as one of twenty-two films competing for the coveted Palme d’Or award at the festival’s finale on May 27. The winner was director Michael Haneke's Amour.

Points of interest:

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Madagascar 3 Poster - click to enlargeMadagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted (June 8, 2012)
Jessica is the voice of Gia, the circus jaguar
Directed by Eric Darnell
With Ben Stiller, Chris Rock, Jada Pinkett Smith, and David Schwimmer
Announced 01-12-12

Jessica as  Gia the Jaguar in Madagascar 3 - click to enlarge
Jessica as Gia the Jaguar
Alex the lion (Ben Stiller), Marty the zebra (Chris Rock), Gloria the hippo (Jada Pinkett Smith), and Melman the giraffe (David Schwimmer) join a traveling circus in Monte Carlo to hide from a relentless animal-control officer and get back to their New York Zoo. King Julien, Maurice, and the Penguins are in the mix.

Voice cast of Madagascar 3
Voice Cast of Madagascar 3
The impressive cast of voices includes Ben Stiller, Chris Rock, David Schwimmer, Jada Pinkett Smith, Martin Short, Jessica Chastain, Sacha Baron Cohen, Cedric the Entertainer, Andy Richter, Frances McDormand, Bryan Cranston, and Paz Vega.

Entertainment Weekly announced that Jessica is the voice of Gia the circus jaguar. Gia is thoughtful and beautiful. "Alex can’t help but be swayed by her," says director Darnell. Conrad Vernon states that, "Gia acts as a moral compass for the circus. She protects [her friends] but also opens them up to new experiences." Darnell and Vernon listened to audio recordings of the actors’ prior work to determine whether they matched the character's personality and quirks. Jessica worked with an Italian coach to develop an authentic accent for Gia. Trailer another Trailer extended preview Reviews video clips website. Children's books were developed in conjunction with the movie as well as video games.

Jessica (Gia) in Madagascar 3
Jessica (Gia) in Madagascar 3
Jessica had to audition for Madagascar 3 because it was before her career-changing films released in 2011. She reported, 'I love the first two movies so much, and I was so happy when I got the call, got the part.' The official Madagascar 3 website states that Jessica's character that 'The beautiful Jaguar Gia is always on the lookout to discover something new, and she gets her chance when she convinces a reluctant Alex to teach her the trapeze - "Circus Americano" style.' See and hear Jessica as Gia in this 37 second clip. Jessica talks about Gia in this 1:24 Video.

Madagascar 3 premiered at the Cannes International Film Festival in May 2012. It opened in the USA on June 8 in the number one spot at over sixty million dollars; Prometheus opened at number two with fifty million dollars. In Russia, Madagascar 3 broke all opening records for an animated film.

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Coriolanus Poster - click to enlargeCoriolanus (January 20, 2012) Limited USA release plus UK and India; there was a one-week early release in NY and LA on December 2, 2011 to qualify for 2011 awards
Jessica plays Coriolanus' wife Virgilia
Directed by Ralph Fiennes based on Shakespeare's play
With Ralph Fiennes, Gerard Butler, Brian Cox, and Vanessa Redgrave
Two hours and two minutes
Announced 10-22-09; filming began mid-March 2010 in Belgrade, Serbia
Awards: Best Supporting Actress Awards (Vanessa Redgrave) from the British Independent Awards and the San Francisco Film Critics Circle

Jessica and Ralph Fiennes in Coriolanus
Jessica and Ralph Fiennes in Coriolanus
Synopsis: Caius Martius 'Coriolanus' (Ralph Fiennes), a revered and feared Roman General is at odds with the city of Rome and his fellow citizens. Pushed by his controlling and ambitious mother Volumnia (Vanessa Redgrave) to seek the exalted and powerful position of Consul, he is loath to ingratiate himself with the masses whose votes he needs in order to secure the office. When the public refuse to support him, Coriolanus' anger prompts a riot which culminates in his expulsion from Rome. The banished hero then allies himself with his sworn enemy Tullus Aufidius (Gerard Butler) to take his revenge on the city.

Jessica and Vanessa Redgrave in Coriolanus
Jessica and Vanessa Redgrave
Coriolanus is about a Roman general who betrays his homeland and his allies out of revenge. The film is set in modern times, but uses original Shakespearean dialogue. John Logan wrote the script. Coriolanus premiered February 2011 at the Berlin Film Festival and played at the Toronto Film Festival in September 2011. Income from Fiennes' prominent role as Voldemort in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows helped him to finance this film. Jessica has several nice but brief appearances in the Trailer. The DVD is available May 29, 2012. Reviews website

Jessica talks about Coriolanus, Ralph Fiennes, and Vanessa Redgrave in this 17:35 Video interview in Toronto. She credits Fiennes for keeping her in the cast at a time when a better-known star could help raise financing for the film. She clarifies that at the time they were shooting Coriolanus, having Jessica Chastain in a film wouldn't buy you lunch.

Items of interest:

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Films Released in 2011

Films released in 2011 were: The Tree of Life (May 27), The Help (August 10), The Debt (August 31), Take Shelter (September 30), and Texas Killing Fields (October 14). Coriolanus had a one-week early release in NY and LA on December 2 in order to qualify for 2011 awards, but its normal release was January 20, 2012.

Awards Watch: Jessica was a supporting actress is all her 2011 movies. Both Tree of Life and The Help garnered considerable attention from critics and film festivals; Take Shelter and The Debt did so to a lesser degree. Jessica personally received numerous awards for Best Supporting Actress and Breakthrough Artist, and she was nominated for an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress. See details at Jessica Chastain Awards and Festivals.


The Texas Killing Fields Poster - click to enlargeThe Texas Killing Fields (October 14, 2011) Limited release beginning in three theaters in New York and Los Angeles
Jessica is Detective Pam Stall, estranged wife of Sam Worthington's character
Directed by Ami Canaan Mann
With Sam Worthington and Chloe Moretz
Two hours and thirteen minutes
Announced 03-23-10; began filming May 3, 2010 in Louisiana
Awards: Some awards shared with other movies

Jessica in The Texas Killing Fields
Jessica in The Texas Killing Fields
Synopsis: Inspired by true events, this tense and haunting thriller follows a local homicide detective (Sam Worthington) in a small Texas town and his partner, a transplanted cop from New York City (Jeffrey Dean Morgan), as they track a sadistic serial killer dumping his victims’ mutilated bodies in a nearby marsh locals call “The Killing Fields”. The killer changes the game and begins hunting the detectives, teasing them with possible clues at the crime scenes while always remaining one step ahead. When a familiar local girl, Anne (Chloe Grace Moretz), goes missing, the detectives find themselves in a race against time to find the killer and save her life.

Jessica in The Texas Killing Fields
Jessica in The Killing Fields
A thriller originally titled The Fields, it was in competition in the September 2011 Venice Film Festival as The Texas Killing Fields and opened the retrospective, American Way of Death: American Film Noir 1990-2010, at the 59th San Sebastian Film Festival held September 16-24, 2011. A homicide detective fights two sets of fierce killers to save the life of a street kid named Little Anne, but must go into his ex-wife's jurisdiction to accomplish his mission. Jessica plays Worthington's ex-wife, a former rodeo queen who is also a homicide detective and is determined to find the killers with or without his help. DVD available January 31, 2012. Trailer Italian Trailer Reviews website

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Take Shelter Poster - click to enlargeTake Shelter (September 30, 2011) Limited release beginning in three theaters in New York and Los Angeles (see other cities); UK on November 25
Jessica plays Samantha LaForche
Written and directed by Jeff Nichols
With Michael Shannon and Shea Whigham.
Two hours and two minutes
Filmed in 24 days in June and July of 2010, primarily in Lorain County, Ohio
Awards: Grand Prize in Critics Week Competition at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival and others too numerous to list here

Jessica and Michael Shannon in Take Shelter
Jessica and Michael Shannon in Take Shelter
Synopsis: Plagued by a series of apocalyptic visions, a young husband and father questions whether to shelter his family from a coming storm, or from himself. Curtis LaForche (Michael Shannon) lives in a small Ohio town with his wife Samantha (Jessica Chastain) and six–year-old daughter Hannah, who is deaf. Curtis makes a modest living as a crew chief for a sand mining company. Samantha is a stay-at-home mother and part-time seamstress who supplements their income by selling handmade wares at the flea market each weekend. Money is tight, and navigating Hannah’s healthcare and special needs education is a constant struggle. Despite that, Curtis and Samantha are very much in love and their family is a happy one. Then Curtis begins having terrifying dreams about an encroaching, apocalyptic storm. He chooses to keep the disturbance to himself, channeling his anxiety into the obsessive building of a storm shelter in their backyard. His seemingly inexplicable behavior concerns and confounds Samantha, and provokes intolerance among co-workers, friends and neighbors. But the resulting strain on his marriage and tension within the community doesn’t compare to Curtis’s privately held fear of what his dreams may truly signify. Faced with the doomed proposition that his disturbing visions signal disaster of one kind or another, Curtis confides in Samantha, testing the power of their bond against the highest possible stakes.

Jessica in Take Shelter
Jessica in Take Shelter
A psychological thriller co-starring Oscar nominee Michael Shannon. Shannon plays Curtis, a man who has terrifying dreams. Jessica plays Shannon's wife, Samantha. Director Jeff Nichols stated that Michael Shannon is the main character, but Jessica Chastain is the pivotal character. Jessica was introduced to Nichols by Sarah Green after working with her on The Tree of Life; Sarah is a producer for both Take Shelter and The Tree of Life. Take Shelter was featured on January 24, 2011 at the Sundance Festival to rave reviews. Just prior to the festival, Sony Pictures Classics acquired the North America, Latin America, Australia, and New Zealand rights to the movie sight unseen. A few months later, Take Shelter won Grand Prize in the Critics Week Competition at the Cannes Film Festival. See Jessica in a 17-minute Video interview from the Sundance Festival (Language caution at the very beginning). Another Video interview. Trailer plus 1:52 scene with Jessica and two other clips. Reviews website

The Blu-ray was released on February 14, 2012.

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The Debt International Poster - click to enlarge The Debt (August 31, 2011) Canada on August 31; UK on September 21
Jessica portrays the young Rachel Singer, a Mossad agent
Directed by John Madden
With Helen Mirren, Sam Worthington, and Tom Wilkinson
Announced 10-02-08; filmed in Tel Aviv, the U.K., and Budapest
One hour and fifty-one minutes
Awards: Best Equality of the Sexes Award from the Women's Film Critics Circle and some awards shared with other movies

Jessica and Sam Worthington in The Debt
Jessica and Sam Worthington in The Debt
Synopsis: The espionage thriller begins in 1997, as shocking news reaches retired Mossad secret agents Rachel (Academy Award winner Helen Mirren) and Stefan (two-time Academy Award nominee Tom Wilkinson) about their former colleague David (Ciaran Hinds of Focus’ Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day). All three have been venerated for decades by their country because of the mission that they undertook back in 1966, when the trio (portrayed, respectively, by Jessica Chastain [soon to be seen in The Tree of Life], Marton Csokas [Universal's upcoming Dream House], and Sam Worthington [Avatar, Clash of the Titans]) tracked down Nazi war criminal Vogel (Jesper Christensen of Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace) in East Berlin. At great risk, and at considerable personal cost, the team’s mission was accomplished – or was it? The suspense builds in and across two different time periods, with startling action and surprising revelations.

Jessica and Sam Worthington in The Debt
Jessica and Sam in The Debt
Jessica is the 25-year-old rookie Mossad agent Rachel Singer. The story is told in flashbacks and flash-forwards, and Jessica is featured in the flashback scenes while Helen Mirren plays the older Rachel Singer. This thriller centers on Israeli intelligence agents, and tells the story of how three young Mossad agents on a secret mission capture and kill a notorious Nazi war criminal in 1965. Thirty years later, a man claiming to be the Nazi surfaces in the Ukraine and one of the former agents must go undercover to discover the truth. Jessica is very prominent in the Trailer. In October 2010, The Debt made its USA premier as the centerpiece film at the Hamptons International Film Festival, was the closing film of the Chicago International Film Festival, and also showed at the Mill Valley Film Festival. It played in the Toronto International Film Festival in September 2010 and will be at the Haifa Film Festival in October 2011. It is a remake of the 2007 Israeli thriller of the same name (Ha-Hov). See six clips Video and a Video interview of Jessica. website

When finishing the shoot for Tree of Life, Jessica says, "I was absolutely devastated, just emotionally so sad. I got on a plane and flew to Paris to take a French course because I needed a change of scenery." During the trip she met with Shakespeare In Love director John Madden on a stop in London to discuss a role in The Debt.

The Debt opened on Labor Day weekend 2011 and came in at the #2 position on the charts with $11,810,913. The #1 movie was another Jessica Chastain film, The Help, which was in its fourth week. Some thought that Jessica's popularity in The Help provided a boost to The Debt in its first week. Early announcements were that the film would open on February 18, 2010 in Greece; September 2, 2010 in Argentina; and September 4, 2010 in France, but Disney's sale of Miramax delayed those dates. The Blu-ray and DVD are available on December 6, 2011.

Early reviews from film festivals and foreign releases were positive, with Jessica getting praise. After the American release, reviews continued to be generally positive with a lot of focus on Jessica's performance. Some even said that anyone expecting to see a Helen Mirren film would discover it to be Jessica Chastain film. There was some criticism regarding the believability of the actors sharing younger and older roles of the same character. Most said the Chastain/Mirren combination as Rachel worked very well, though some disagreed. Most of the dissatisfaction was with the male roles, particularly Worthington and Hinds as David. Chastain Central liked the film very much. Jessica did an outstanding job and once more demonstrated that she can play a wide range of characters. More Reviews.

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The Help Poster - click to enlarge The Help (August 10, 2011) UK on October 28
Jessica is Celia Foote
Written and directed by Tate Taylor based on the novel by Kathryn Stockett
With Viola Davis, Octavia Spencer, Emma Stone, and Bryce Dallas Howard
Announced 06-24-10
Two hours and seventeen minutes
Awards: Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress (Octavia Spencer) and others too numerous to list here

Jessica and Octavia Spencer in The Help - click to enlarge
Jessica and Octavia Spencer in The Help
Synopsis: Based on one of the most talked about books in years and a #1 New York Times best-selling phenomenon, The Help stars Emma Stone (Easy A) as Skeeter, Academy Award®–nominated Viola Davis (Doubt) as Aibileen and Octavia Spencer as Minny—three very different, extraordinary women in Mississippi during the 1960s, who build an unlikely friendship around a secret writing project that breaks societal rules and puts them all at risk. From their improbable alliance a remarkable sisterhood emerges, instilling all of them with the courage to transcend the lines that define them, and the realization that sometimes those lines are made to be crossed —even if it means bringing everyone in town face-to-face with the changing times. Deeply moving, filled with poignancy, humor and hope, The Help is a timeless and universal story about the ability to create change.

Jessica in The Help - click to enlargeWith a blonde wig and a padded bosom, Jessica portrays Celia Foote from Sugar Ditch, Mississippi in this DreamWorks' adaptation of the best-selling Kathryn Stockett novel. In this all-female ensemble cast, she is a redneck and town pariah--an insecure Southern lady trying to fit in with the high society women who reject her. She also secretly takes on a black maid to impress her husband. Jessica says that Celia is "This girl from Tennessee, who looks like Marilyn Monroe, has this really squeaky accent and no one wants to be her friends because…she’s like liquid sex." After winning the part, Jessica saw a curvy woman at a party and decided at once to model her Celia after her. Only later did she discover the woman was author Kathryn Stockett's mother.

Jessica's part provides most of the humor of the movie. She says it was her first venture into comedy. The story centers on a young, white, female journalist who turns her early 1960s Mississippi community upside down by interviewing black maids working in white households. This was Jessica's first studio film, and it was quite a different experience to be told the film was coming out on a specific date. With the other films, there was no idea. Trailer another Trailer website

Jessica delivers a pie in The Help - click to enlarge
Jessica delivers a pie
At the box office, The Help opened its first week at #2, with $35,918,416, against Rise of the Planet of the Apes, which was in its second week at #1. However, the next week The Help claimed the #1 spot for a total of $71,340,829, pushing Apes to #2. The Help maintained its #1 position in its third week for a total of $96,833,423 (during Hurricane Irene). Labor Day weekend found The Help holding the #1 position for the third week in a row for a total of $118,985,176! The closest contender was another Jessica Chastain movie, The Debt, which was in its opening week. Finally, in its fifth week, it dropped back to #2 with a total of $137,327,800 against the newcomer Contagion.

The Help was very well received by critics, though some expressed disappointment in an inadequate portrayal of the depth of the historical situation. Most book fans felt it was true to the book, even if it did have to leave out a lot. Quite a number praised Jessica specifically for her acting and her faithful interpretation of Celia Foote. Chastain Central thought this was her best part yet. See Reviews

Jessica revealed to Marie Claire in December 2012 that she almost decided against going to a screen test. 'While shooting Texas Killing Fields in Louisiana, she was asked to fly to L.A. on her only day off to screen test for The Help. She'd already had several auditions and had grown weary of the process. "It had been stretched out for so long, and I thought it was because I wasn't the right look, you know? I didn't look like Celia Foote, so there was a moment when I was like, 'I'm not going to go. They clearly don't want me for this part. It's my day off. I shoot all night, so I can't fly to L.A. and then fly back. I just can't do it.' But I was talked into going."'

The DVD/Blu-ray released on December 6, 2011. Bonus features include The Making of The Help, In Their Own Words (a tribute to the maids of Mississippi), Deleted Scenes, and The Living Proof music Video by Mary J. Blige. The Help began playing on TV's Showtime on June 24, 2012.

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Tree of Life Poster Number Two - click to enlargeThe Tree of Life (May 27, 2011) in Los Angeles and New York; the limited release included more cities each week
Jessica plays Mrs. O'Brien, the wife of Brad Pitt's character
Written and directed by Terrence Malick
With Brad Pitt, Sean Penn, and Hunter McCracken
Announced 04-15-08; finished filming June 2008 after three and half months of shooting in Smithville, Texas
Two hours and eighteen minutes
Awards: The Palme d'Or at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival; a Best Actress Award and Best Supporting Actress Awards for Jessica; and others too numerous to list here

Jessica in The Tree of Life
Jessica in The Tree of Life
Synopsis: From Terrence Malick, the acclaimed director of such classic films as Badlands, Days of Heaven and The Thin Red Line, The Tree of Life is the impressionistic story of a Midwestern family in the 1950’s. The film follows the life journey of the eldest son, Jack, through the innocence of childhood to his disillusioned adult years as he tries to reconcile a complicated relationship with his father (Brad Pitt). Jack (played as an adult by Sean Penn) finds himself a lost soul in the modern world, seeking answers to the origins and meaning of life while questioning the existence of faith. Through Malick’s signature imagery, we see how both brute nature and spiritual grace shape not only our lives as individuals and families, but all life.

Jessica in The Tree of Life
Jessica in The Tree of Life
The film finished shooting in June 2008, so the release was long in coming and generated great anticipation. It concerns the relationships of a Texas family in the 1950s and the way of nature vs. the way of grace. The Tree of Life premiered at the Cannes Film Festival in May 2011 and won the Palme d'Or, the highest award of the festival. It released in France on May 18 and in the UK on July 8. The movie opened in the USA with only four theaters and added theaters each week until it reached 237 theaters in its seventh week before gradually declining in number of venues. The film remained in the top twenty for 10 weeks, and receipts per theater were impressive. As of the eighteenth week (October 5) The Tree of Life had taken in $13,246,069 domestically and $41,000,000 in foreign markets for a total of $54,246,069. The Blu-ray was available October 11, 2011. Trailer French Trailer Four-minute interview Video with Jessica Chastain on Tree of Life. website. For a much more extensive article, go to Jessica in The Tree of Life on Chastain Central.

Critics and audiences were extremely polarized in their responses to Tree of Life. Many reviewers were very positive; some were effusive. They praised the scope, the cinematography, the soundtrack, the acting, the technique, the editing, the philosophical reflection, and other points. On the other hand, others complained that the film was confusing, boring, unfocused, indulgent, lengthy, pretentious, and meaningless. They also disapproved of the religious-spiritual aspects of the film. However, quite a number of people remarked that even though the film was unsatisfying at the first viewing, one tended to reflect on it afterward and arrive at a more positive conclusion. Many were just confused, and there were a number of reports of walk-outs during the film. The brothers of Chastain Central were mixed as well. One opinion was that it was a waste of time; another was that it was a thoughtful and enjoyable film worth seeing twice. The performance of Hunter McCracken was outstanding. More Reviews

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Films Released in 2010

Films released in 2010 were: Stolen (March), Murder on the Orient Express (July), and Jolene (October). Also in this section is the TV miniseries Blackbeard broadcasted in 2006.


Jolene Poster - click to enlarge Jolene (October 2010) Limited release in three states
Jessica is Jolene, the main character
Directed by Dan Ireland
With Dermot Mulroney, Chazz Palminteri, Denise Richards, Donald Sutherland, and Michael Vartan
Announced 10-09-06; filmed in 2008
One hour and fifty-five minutes
Award: Golden Space Needle Award to Jessica for best actress at the 2008 Seattle Film Festival

Jessica in Jolene
Jessica in Jolene
Synopsis: Jolene is the story about ten years in a young girl's life, who, having grown up in a succession of uncaring and abusive foster homes, marries a young man at 15 in the hope of escaping and finding a home where she might find some love and happiness. Unfortunately, a bad decision on her part results in catastrophe and ultimately lands her in an institution for young women. After a year of hell, climaxing with an affair with a prison guard, she manages to escape and is finally on the road to freedom and finding herself. In her quest, she passes through a series of relationships, adventures and misfortunes which take her across America, in search of the life she dreams of. Based on the controversial short story by E.L. Doctorow.

Jessica in Jolene
Jessica in Jolene
Jessica's work in Salome led to her being cast in the title role in Jolene. Jolene was shot in 2008, but did not open in the United States until its limited release on October 29, 2010 in New York, Seattle, and Santa Fe. The DVD released November 23, 2010. The film is based on E.L. Doctorow's story Jolene: A Life, which was inspired by the song from Dolly Parton.

Jessica said in her Times Talk interview that she flew to South Carolina, rented a pickup truck, and hung out at SuperWalmart so she could hear voices and get to know people who live there. She said, 'I love to go to a place and find a voice that I like.' Trailer A different Trailer

Though some critics praised this film, the general feeling seemed to be that it was not a great work. However, most agreed that Jessica did a good job portraying her character, and some said she saved the film. Some critics seemed to appreciate its independent and art characteristics. Chastain Central felt that most of the characters are flat or worse, but such may have been the intent of the director. The movie itself is B-level, bordering on exploitation. The ending is not satisfying. Though Jessica did a good job, it is good that it had a very limited release so that the general public learned of Jessica through The Tree of Life, The Help, and The Debt rather than Jolene. More Reviews.

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Murder on the Orient Express Murder on the Orient Express (July 11, 2010) TV; UK December 31, 2010
Jessica is Mary Debenham
Directed by Philip Martin
With David Suchet, Tristan Shepherd, and Sam Crane
Announced 06-25-10; filmed in Malta and London
One hour and twenty minutes

Jessica in Orient Express
Jessica in Murder on the Orient Express
Murder on the Orient Express is the most popular of Agatha Christie's novels on Hercule Poirot, the famous Belgian detective. Jessica plays English governess Mary Debenham in Murder on the Orient Express; this part was played by Vanessa Redgrave in the 1974 movie. Just before the train departs, both Debenham and Poirot witness a man leading a crowd to chase down the man's wife and stone her to death for having been unfaithful, and they discuss what they have seen. On the train, a man is murdered, and Poirot is asked to solve the crime. There follows a conspiracy on board in which Mary Debenham seems to be the ring-leader.

This 80-minute episode (season 12; episode 4) ran July 11, 2010 on PBS. UK on December 31, 2010. See 9:37 Video clip with Jessica in it. Buy the entire episode from Amazon for $4.99. Trailer Reviews

Synopsis (edited):

Hercule Poirot is visiting Istanbul when he witnesses an act of brutal justice on the streets. Poirot’s old acquaintance Xavier Bouc (Serge Hazanavicius), director of the Orient Express, secures him a last minute ticket. Among the eclectic range of passengers are Princess Dragomiroff (Dame Eileen Atkins) and her nervous maid Hildegard Schmidt (Susanne Lothar), English Governess Mary Debenham (Jessica Chastain) and Swedish missionary Greta Ohlsson (Marie-Josée Croze).
Jessica in Murder on the Orient Express
Jessica in Murder on the Orient Express

During his journey on the Orient Express Poirot is approached by ruthless American businessman Samuel Ratchett (Toby Jones) who offers him ten thousand dollars to watch his back, but Poirot refuses. Poirot awakes the following morning to find the train stuck in a snowdrift and Ratchett dead in his compartment.

Aided by amateur sleuth Dr Constantine (Samuel West), Poirot examines the murder scene and finds a proliferation of clues pointing in opposite directions. He interviews those who last saw Ratchett alive before realising the true identity of Samuel Ratchett. The evidence seems to point to a mysterious assassin who got on and off the train but Poirot is not convinced. Isolated by the snow and with civilisation falling apart Poirot makes a decision that will change his life forever.

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Stolen Poster - click to enlargeStolen (March 2010) Limited release
Jessica plays Sally Ann
Directed by Anders Anderson
With Jon Hamm, Josh Lucas, and Rhona Mitra
One hour and thirty minutes

Jessica in Stolen
Jessica in Stolen
Synopsis: Golden Globe Award winner Jon Hamm of Mad Men stars as Detective Tom Adkins, a devoted cop haunted by the unsolved disappearance of his young son eight years earlier. But when Adkins discovers the buried remains of a boy who was brutally murdered more than half a century ago, he becomes obsessed with investigating the long-forgotten crime. Is the 1958 mystery surrounding down-on-his-luck family man Matthew Wakefield (Josh Lucas of Glory Road) and his own abducted son linked in any way to Adkins' tragedy? And even if Adkins can prove a connection, can he face the shocking truth about the killer? Rhona Mitra (Boston Legal, Doomsday), Morena Baccarin (Serenity) and James Van Der Beek co-star in this harrowing thriller about the parallel lives of two men for whom secrets will not stay hidden when hope has been Stolen.

Jessica plays a waitress who appears early in the film and gives a boy a whistle. She re-appears much later and we learn her true significance to the detective and to the story, but some of that scene is played by a different actress representing an older Sally Ann. The film released in the USA on March 12, 2010 at one theater in New York, with an additional theater joining in West Hollywood the next week. It garnered a total of $7,306 for the four weeks it ran. The DVD is now available. See Trailer, but Jessica is not recognizable in it. Stolen Lives is an alternative title outside the United States.

Critics were not excited by this low-budget effort of a first time writer and a first time director. Chastain Central found it to be a watchable story, but nothing to write home about. Jessica's part was important, but quite small. More Reviews

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Blackbeard - click to enlarge Blackbeard (June 2006) Hallmark Channel TV miniseries
Jessica plays Charlotte Ormand
Directed by Kevin Conner
With Angus Macfayden, Mark Umbers, and Richard Chamberlain
Two hours and forty-nine minutes
Filming began July 25, 2005 in Thailand

Jessica in Blackbeard
Jessica in Blackbeard
Synopsis: In the Golden Age of Piracy, at the dawn of the 18th century, Blackbeard stood out among the lawless rogues as the most fearsome and notorious seafarer of them all. He killed for the reputation, and his reputation has become legend. Now, for the first time, comes the true story of pirate Edward Teach, the man who terrorized the seas. (from DVD cover)

Royal Navy Lieutenant Robert Maynard (Mark Umbers) vowing to capture Blackbeard (Angus Macfayden), captain of the Queen Anne, in order to make the South Seas safer, falls in love with Charlotte (Jessica Chastain), a young doctor and adopted daughter of the corrupt governor of West Indies' New Providence, Charles Eden (Richard Chamberlain), who plans to kill her for her inheritance. The DVD is now available. This performance by Jessica has not received nearly the attention it deserves. See lots of Jessica in this 10 minute Video clip. Trailer

Reviewers' response to Blackbeard was generally positive, and some specifically mentioned how Jessica added to the film. Chastain Central was very pleased with Blackbeard. Jessica was delightful; she played the character of a strong female in a major role very well. More Reviews.

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Films Not Anticipated for Theatrical Release

For various reasons, some movies associated with Jessica are not anticipated for theatrical release, or at least not with Jessica in them. Unity may yet release, but the date is unknown.

Caught in Flight, Oblivion, Tar, To the Wonder, Unity, The Westerner, and Wilde Salome


The Westerner (no date)
Jessica stars in this short film and is also a producer
Written and directed by Ned Benson
With Daniel Hastey and Kaili Hollister
Announced 06-08-11
Thirteen minutes

The Westerner played at the 2011 Seattle International Film Festival which ran from May 19-June 12 and at the 2011 Palm Springs International ShortFest which ran from June 21-27 at the Camelot Theatres. The 13-minute short is about a young boy (Daniel Hastey) who runs away from home and tries to find his way to a place he once visited with his mother (Jessica). On his way there, he meets interesting people. So far, the short has played only at film festivals, and there is currently no general release date.

One reviewer (rawsome) on IMDb reported, "Beautiful and moving! This is a short film with very little dialogue allowing you to focus on the flow and beautiful imagery. The child who plays the young boy brings a sweet vulnerability to his role and is able to communicate very well without using words. For instance, there is one scene where you just know he's pulling out the last $20 bill in his wallet. Although this story focuses on the young boy, Jessica Chastain's presence is well felt in the few scenes she is in. Of course, if you've seen her already in Jolene or Tree of Life you already know that she's an amazing actor! Hard to write a review on this without spoilers, but let's just say that I was brought to tears in the end."

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Wilde Salome Poster - click to enlarge Wilde Salome (no date)
Jessica is Salome
Directed by Al Pacino
With Al Pacino and Kevin Anderson
Filmed in 2006
Award: Queer Lion Award at the 2011 Venice International Film Festival

Jessica Chastain and Kevin Anderson in Wilde Salome
Jessica and Kevin Anderson
Synopsis: Referred to by actor/director Al Pacino as his most personal project ever, the unconventional feature documentary Wilde Salome invites audiences into Pacino’s private world, as he explores the complexities of Oscar Wilde’s acclaimed play Salome, Wilde himself and the birth of a rising star, in actress Jessica Chastain. The film offers an unprecedented behind the scenes look at Pacino’s odyssey. Pacino's raw exploration in Wilde Salome is one of obsession, determination, commitment and above all, passion. Wilde Salome is unlike any other documentary, a profound vision that explores religion, literature, politics, violence and sexuality from one of the world's greatest artists—writer, Oscar Wilde.

Jessica Chastain and Al Pacino
Jessica and Al Pacino
Al Pacino directed this documentary that explores the complexities of the Oscar Wilde play Salome, which Al Pacino and Jessica Chastain performed in 2006 as a stage play. Jessica played the lead role of Salome opposite Al Pacino as King Herod Antipas. Salome becomes obsessed with desire for John the Baptist (Kevin Anderson), who rejects her advances. The plan was to have the film ready for the 2007 Cannes Festival.

Jessica told an interviewer, "The first nudity I did was Salome, on stage for 1400 people...That was tough because it was through The Actors Studio and they wanted the dance to be improvisational, so it was different every night." Pacino planned a documentary of this play called Salomaybe (now titled Wilde Salome). Video with Al Pacino discussing the production, accompanied by scenes from Jessica's performance. A one-minute Video introduction to the documentary by Al Pacino. website

Jessica states that it was Al Pacino who taught her the difference between acting on the stage and acting for the camera. Pacino said that Jessica inspired the idea of making the film. After a year of reading the parts, the film was shot in about a week and a half. Wilde Salome has been long awaited. It debuted at Venice Film Festival September 4, 2011 and was scheduled for release in 2011, but as of yet no release date has been announced. In May 2012, someone asked Jessica on her facebook page whether there was any word on its release, and Jessica replied, 'No! and it's driving me bananas!'

Being cast in Pacino's play and film was the first big breakthrough in Jessica's career. She said about her experience, 'All the agents come to see you. That’s when I started to work in film.' Reviews

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Oblivion (April 19, 2013)
Previous title: Horizons
Jessica plays one of two leading female roles; which one is not yet clear
Directed by Joseph Kosinski
With Tom Cruise
Announced 09-26-11; shoots March 12-August 12, 2012 in Baton Rouge and New Orleans


UPDATE

Jessica No Longer in Cast for Horizons
01-19-12

In early January 2012, it was announced that Jessica was joining the film Kill bin Laden, which would begin shooting in February. At that time, Horizons was scheduled to begin shooting in March, suggesting a possible conflict. In mid-January reports indicated that Jessica was no longer part of the Horizons project and that her role was being filled by actress Olga Kurylenko.


From the Graphic Novel Oblivion
From the Graphic Novel Oblivion
It is now confirmed that Jessica has been selected for one of the two leading female roles in this science fiction film from Universal with Tom Cruise as Jack (or Jak). The two leading female characters seem to be Victoria (or Vika), Jack's military assistant and lover who works with him while on his repair mission, and Julia, his fiancee on Earth before the alien invasion. It is known since late August, 2011 that five actresses were screen-tested for these roles: Jessica Chastain, Olivia Wilde, Noomi Rapace, Olga Kurylenko, and Brit Marling. After Jessica's casting was announced, the remaining four were listed on the IMDb, along with two other actresses, as 'rumored' for the movie. Cruise joined the project in May 2011.

There is considerable confusion in the media regarding the scope and detail of the movie's plot. The film was adapted from the graphic novel Oblivion, written by Joseph Kosinski, which has not been released, and some discrepancies may be based on differences between the film and the graphic novel. Other conflicts seem based on attempts to interpret the vagueness of the limited information made available.

There seem to be three significant women involved, who are often confused with one another: 1. Jack's lover and partner, 2. Jack’s fiancee from before the invasion, and 3. a lady who crash lands on the planet (I have read that she is from the past). It appears that Jack goes down to the Earth from the clouds, but others mention that he goes to a distant planet. The aliens on Earth are called Scavengers, and Jack's job is to repair the drones which are a defense against the alien threat that has almost stamped out humanity; but on the other hand, Jack is sometimes called a Scavenger.

From the Graphic Novel Oblivion
From the Graphic Novel Oblivion
Synopsis #1: In a future where the Earth’s surface has been irradiated beyond recognition, the remnants of humanity live above the clouds, safe from the brutal alien Scavengers that stalk the ruins. But when surface drone repairman Jak discovers a mysterious woman in a crash-landed pod, it sets off an unstoppable chain of events that will force him to question everything he knows.

Synopsis #2: A court martial sends a veteran soldier (Cruise) to a distant planet, where he is to destroy the remains of an alien race. The arrival of an unexpected traveler (Chastain) causes him to question what he knows about the planet, his mission, and himself.

Regarding Jessica's role, one source reports that Jessica "will play his love interest who still lives above. When Cruise meets another woman who appears to have crash landed on the barren planet, he’s driven to reexamine everything he knows." In contradiction, another source describes Cruise as "a soldier assigned to patrol a desolate planet who meets a mysterious traveler - a beautiful woman (Chastain) who crashed in a nearby spacecraft, and together they go on an adventure that forces him to question his world view."

We are hoping for clarity soon. See several very good illustrations from the graphic novel.

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Caught in Flight (2013)
Princess Diana and Hasnat Khan
Princess Diana and Khan
Jessica is Princess Diana, the main character
Directed by Oliver Hirschbiegel
Announced 11-06-11; begins pre-production March 2012; films in Pakistan, Angola, the South of France, and Paris

Synopsis: Based on a real-life affair that the princess long kept under wraps, the film revolves around a secret affair between the late princess and a heart surgeon, Dr. Hasnat Khan, who was said to be the love of her life. Described as a 'love story between a princess locked in a tower and an ordinary man.'


UPDATE

Jessica No Longer in Cast for Caught in Flight
02-09-12

It was announced on February 9 that Jessica had pulled out of this project and was replaced by Naomi Watts. Just after the announcement, Jessica confirmed the news on her facebook fan page. She explained that she withdrew when it became clear to her that it would not work in her schedule, but she did not want to share that information publicly until her replacement was on board.


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To The Wonder (2012)
Previous title: The Burial
Jessica's brief role is unknown
Written and directed by Terrence Malick
With Ben Affleck
Announced 02-01-11


UPDATE

Jessica is not in the final cut of The Burial
04-02-12

On April 2, 2012 Jessica commented on her facebook fan page, 'Just as I suspected, my small role has not made it into the final version. But I really didn't imagine it would. The 3 days I shot were with Ben Affleck and he was doing really great stuff. I'm looking forward to see how it all brilliantly comes together.'


Ben Affleck and Rachel McAdams in The Burial
The Burial
Supposed Synopsis: Basically, it concerns a philanderer (Affleck) who, feeling at loose ends, travels to Paris, where he enters a hot-and-heavy affair with a European woman (Kurylenko). Said Lothario returns home to Oklahoma, where he marries the European woman (in part for visa reasons). When the relationship flounders, he rekindles a romance with a hometown girl (McAdams) with whom he’s had a long history.

Earlier Supposed Synopsis: Set over a period of years, the film stars Affleck as Neil, a failed writer stuck in a loveless marriage with Marina (Kurylenko), whose expiring visa put pressure on Neil to propose. Neil and Marina have a daughter (Tatiana Chilin) together, but both of them are looking outside the marriage. Neil is drawn to Jane McAdams) and Marina betrays her husband by having an affair with Charlie (Charles Baker).

Rumors that Jessica was filmed in Malick's romantic drama are confirmed. She was visiting the set and Malick asked her if she wanted to do some shots, so she did. She shot for a couple days. There is not yet any information concerning her role, except that all her brief scenes were with Ben Affleck, and it is very possible that her scenes will not be included in the final edit. This film is sometimes described as 'untitled'. Ben Affleck, Javier Bardem, and Rachel McAdams have the starring roles.

Points of interest:

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Tar (2012)
Jessica plays C. K. William's mother
Directed by James Franco and twelve others
With James Franco, Michelle Williams, and Mila Kunis
Filmed in Detroit; apparently shot in November 2011


UPDATE

There have been no updates on the release of Tar
10-03-12

This film was announced with a 2012 release date, but there has been no further update during the year. It was also planned to show at the Toronto Film Festival in September 2012 but did not appear on the festival's film list. However, it did play at the Rome Film Festival in November. See Reviews.


Jessica in Tar
Jessica in Tar
Suddenly, in mid-December 2011, Tar popped up as a surprise Jessica Chastain film already in post-production. Chastain Central had no previous hint of such a film. It is a look at the life of Pulitzer Prize-winning poet C.K. Williams over the course of 40 years. James Franco teaches a third-year directing class at New York University's Tisch School of the Arts. Franco selected ten winners of a student film contest. Each selected a poem from C.K. Williams' poetry collection, Tar, to adapt to short film scripts, which were then brought together to create the feature film. It was shot mostly within a two week period, with each portion having two full days of shooting.

Tar: Poems by C. K. Williams
Guidelines for the collaborative work are found at indiewire.

The Detroit Free Press reports that Franco's Tar was 'shot in Detroit during his off-hours from “Oz.” It stars Franco, who convinced his “Oz” colleagues Mila Kunis, Michelle Williams and Zach Braff to join the cast, as well as Jessica Chastain and “Oz” director Sam Raimi’s “Evil Dead” colleague Bruce Campbell.' The Rome Film Festival cast description adds Henry Hopper, but does not mention Michelle Williams. Franco also played in the film -- as C. K. Williams at one stage in his life.

The young directors are Edna Biesold, Sarah-Violet Bliss, Bruce Thierry Cheung, Gabrielle Demeestere, Alexis Gambis, Shruti Ganguly, Brooke Goldfinch, Omar Zuniga Hidalgo, Shripriya Mahesh, Pamela Romanowsky, Tine Thomasen, and Virginia Urreiztieta.

Franco said, 'After I graduated from New York University, I proposed to teach a class. I wanted to do a few things I’d never seen before in a school – working professionally, find a funding, great actors, and although a very small budget, get a high level of production.'

The independent movie hoped to make its film festival debut at the September 2012 Toronto International Film Festival in September 2012 but did not appear on the festival's film list. However, it did play at the Rome Film Festival in November. See Reviews. See a 2:20 Video from the set; Jessica does not appear in it.

Points of interest:

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Unity Poster - click to enlarge Unity (November 30, 2012)
Jessica is one of many narrators
Written and directed by Shaun Monson
With 67 other narrators
1 hour and 50 minutes

Unity is a documentary written, produced, and directed by Shaun Monson, who also produced and directed the documentary Earthlings. According to the Unity website (edited),

The documentary is structured in six acts: Body, Mind, Heart and Soul, bookended by a Prologue and Epilogue. The subject of the film is humanity's propensity for apathy and empathy. As with Shaun's previous film, Earthlings, the editing manages to lead viewers into new and intriguing directions by a mix of unprecedented beauty with heart-breaking tragedy. While it is a cautionary tale, Unity also hopes to introduce a little grace, philosophy and awareness into more lives than ever before.

Unity picks up where Earthlings left off except, instead of focusing on our relationship with animals, the film explores man's dualistic relationships with each other. Our principle intention is to indicate to those who see the film that we have all (human, animal, or tree) sprung from the same root: that root being the earth.

Unity is meant to follow Earthlings as the second installment of a trilogy. The 5:20 nature-scene Trailer gives no information regarding the message of the documentary, but a 2:26 YouTube Video seems to provide more insight.

The project began about 2007 and it is unclear when Jessica recorded her narration. The film was announced for a November 30, 2012 release, but according to a June 8, 2012 facebook posting, the date has not yet been determined, though November is the goal. The same facebook posting indicated that the film was finished; a few days later the page reported an additional narrator being recorded. The last facebook posting is from August 2012. The last communication update on the webpage seems to be March 20, 2012.

Apparently, there have been some local screenings of the incomplete film. There is also a five-hour, unabridged audiobook of the Unity script read by Shaun Monson.

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Remember to Check Out These Jessica Pages on Chastain Central:

Jessica Chastain Biography
Jessica Chastain Becomes a Star
Jessica Chastain in Magazines
Jessica Chastain on Stage and TV
Jessica Chastain News
Jessica Chastain Film Reviews
Jessica in The Tree of Life
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