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Jessica Chastain Geeks Out Around Celebs, Loves Madonna

I had a really fun chat with the suddenly ubiquitous Jessica Chastain recently. We had to reschedule twice as she galivanted 'round the Globe.

Jessica in Morocco earlier this month!

I'll post tomorrow but given that she's been racking up the precursor award nominations for The Help and winning critics prizes for the rest of her films, I had to ask her about her virginal prize this year, which she received in Venice... from MADONNA.

What a heady way to start your breakthrough year. Here's what she had to say about Madonna.

The first song I always think of is "Like a Virgin" [Laughs] I remember being a little girl and watching that music video. My aunt was obsessed with Madonna. I remember learning to dance and it being so inappropriate. I didn't even know what it meant "like a virgin" but I remember the dance moves and "touched for the very first time", all of that stuff!

There's something about Madonna. I look at her now and her whole career and all of the incarnations she's had and forms of self expression and it's so empowering, especially for a woman. I look at her and think if I could have a smidgeon, a small percentage of the power she has within herself, the strength and desire to tell a story through song, through film? That's what i aspire to.  

Meeting Madonna.

Meeting everyone.

Working with Brad Pitt...

How is she handling being thrown into this world of superstar celebrity?

I geek out on people all the time. I've embarrassed myself in front of Meryl Streep! I've embarrassed myself in front of Zach Galifanakis! I stutter a lot when I first meet people. When i first met Helen Mirren I think I only said 'Hi. Nice to meet you' and three hours later 'Goodbye.' I am not the most comfortable in the beginning!"

She tells me she has to push herself through the uncomfortable shyness. Push away, Jessica, push away. Given the year you've had and the career that's likely to follow, this will clearly need to change.

more Jessica | more Madonna | more interviews

P.S. If you've never seen clips of that award she received in Venice and Madonna's presentation you can do so after the jump.

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Reader Comments (12)

Nathaniel! It wasn't in Cannes but at the Venice Film Festival ...

December 21, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterferdi

Jessica is simply astonishing. Such an incredibile year! If Mulligan doesn't get a nod for Shame I will rooting for miss Chastain. The Help, The tree of life or Take Shelter ... it doesn't matter. She should win.

December 21, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterferdi

Well said about Madonna... my generation is so lucky to have grown up with her music/videos/star quality. :) I feel bad for the kids today who have no one exciting really to latch on to

December 21, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterDavid

Kids today have their Lady Gagas and Rihannas. Every generation has its idol. But, yes, Madonna is/was for us children of the 80s something quite special and unrepeatable. No one else has musically and culturally survived from the 80s landscape. She is still here. Maybe she really comes from another planet.

December 21, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterferdi

Ferdi -- GAH. of course. corrected. ugh. i must proofread more. or night write posts in the wee AM hours.

i think she'll get a nod. We talked about The Help and Take Shelter a lot so you'll see those in the interview.

December 21, 2011 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

I rewatched The Help today and god love Jessica Chastain. Chastain has joined Hathaway and Williams as the actress' that excite me so much as a moviegoer.

Also, so much love for Madonna, but as 21 year old, I speak for my generation and Lady Gaga? Rihanna? NOPE. Beyonce is our Madonna. Beyonce is our Michael Jackson. Beyonce is our idol. I hope B's movie careers get's going soon. LOVE B.

December 21, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKeegan

Really? I thought Lady Gaga and Rihanna were more hot than Beyonce lately... But maybe I am too old to speak about such things :-)

December 21, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterferdi

I agree with David. GaGa can be great at times, but Madonna blazed so many trails that GaGa inherited a landscape without much ground left to break for a women in pop music, except for the ignorant youths who think GaGa's the first to provoke in the way she provokes.

December 21, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterHayden W

I think Beyonce is very talented, a great voice, a great dancer and she's such a beautiful woman, but she's been singing about girl power since the very beginning (Destiny's Child) and until today, nothing has changed. She's definitely not a Madonna.

December 21, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterYavor

Remember in The Empire Strikes Back -- Yoda says there is another -- being that Luke is the new hope but someone else out there has the gift -- Carrie Fisher! Well for me Chastain represents what it must have been like for audiences to see Streep and Lange in their 80s theatrical prime -- I'm so excited for the future of American film because of Jessica Chastain -- her performance in The Help made me an instant fan -- she's a little Nicole, a little Blanchett, a whole lot of Streep and just enough Lange to never be boring.

December 22, 2011 | Unregistered Commenter//3rtful

Love for Jessica in The Help - and she surely was one of the reasons why I enjoyed ! Looking forward to Debt on DVD.

What's with those spam attacks? :-(

December 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterEva

Ehhm... that's a little messed up. Yes, I enjoyed The Tree of Life. And I'm looking forward to seeing her as young Helen Mirren. (Though 'Looking forward to Debt' might be an interesting movie title as well)

December 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterEva
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