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Entries in Jessica Chastain (70)


TIFF: "Eleanor Rigby" Was Written For Jessica Chastain

Jessica outside the Elgin in TorontoOne of my fondest memories of TIFF 13 will be the simple fact that I sat in the same theater with Jessica Chastain for what appeared to be one of the most personal moments of her career. The theater, the Visa Elgin in Toronto, is a giant spacious ornate beast that holds well over a 1000 people but still... I was there! And so was Jessica! Proximity glory even from the balcony, people. 

The event was the premiere of The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby: Him and Her and the movie, a two part romantic grief drama that runs 3 hours when combined (and which probably shouldn't be separated), will undoubtedly have a difficult path to audiences. So its first screening was in the biggest theater it will ever see to the most appreciative crowd it might ever get. That audience included a few members of the film's principal cast most of whom hadn't yet seen it.

Jessica Chastain was in tears afterwards detailing her friendship with the writer/director Ned Benson. They first met ten years ago when she approached him at a film festival where his short was playing asking to show him her reel because she loved his movie! (Take that Nicki & Naomi). This film, his feature debut, appears to be a giant loving personal gift to her or maybe its her gift to him since she stars and also produced it. Consider that Jessica's self proclaimed "favorite actress in the world" Isabelle Huppert plays her mom, that her beloved co-star from The Help Viola Davis plays her confidante and professor and that her very best friend "practically my sister" Jess Weixler (The Good WifeTeeth a few years ago) plays her best friend & actual sister in the film and you know how personal this all runs.

Jessica, her friend Ned Benson (the writer/director) and her co-star James McAvoy

The bow on this Jessica gift? The film, or films if you will, is/are wonderful. But more on them later.

Despite a premiere/movie that is all about loving and struggling with losing her (she's Elle Rigby), she deflected the light, getting most tearful when she expressed her feelings about her friend and debuting director's long journey to this premiere. 

I'm just so happy for him."

Jessica's First (of Many to Come) Oscar Ceremony in Feb 2012

When we (i.e. all of us) first met Jessica Chastain as an actress a couple of years ago now, her performances were so varied and and wave-like in their multitudes that who she was as a star offscreen was a tantalizing mystery. By the end of her first year in the limelight her offscreen persona was visible to all at the Oscars. Turns out she's just a big softie, a gushy sentimental girlie girl, a walking warm fuzzy. She probably loved unicorns as a child and probably still dots her "i"s with hearts! Which is all completely endearing... especially since her screen performances have told such a different story and cinema's iciest and least sentimental actress, Isabelle Huppert, happens to be her personal favorite.

Don't you love the rich disparity? 



Podcast a group discussion of TIFF 13: Oscar buzz, our favorite films, and more
Ambition & Self Sabotage on Gravity and Eleanor Rigby: Him & Her
Mano-a-Mano Hallucinations Norway's Pioneer & Jake Gyllenhaal² in Enemy
Quickies Honeymoon, Young & Beautiful, Belle
Labor Day in a freeze-frame nutshell
August Osage County reactions Plus Best Picture Nonsense
Rush Ron Howard's crowd pleaser
The Past from Oscar winner Asghar Farhadi & Cannes Best Actress Berenice Bejo
Queer Double FeatureTom at the Farm and Stranger by the Lake
Boogie Nights Live Read with Jason Reitman and Friends
First 3 Screenings: Child's Pose, Unbeatable and Isabelle Huppert in Abuse of Weakness 
TIFF Arrival: Touchdown in Toronto. Two unsightly Oscars


Jessica + Cate, Mary Music, and Other Linkables

Awards Circuit I guest starred on their podcast Power Hour this week. We talk Oscar's actress categories and Ben Affleck
Film School Rejects Diana gets a November release date
HuffPo interviews Eric Bana (Closed Circuit) who does not like Hulk
Final Girl lists the 5 best vampires of all time. This list LOL'ed me up good
Gothamist Patton Oswalt and Joss Whedon defend Ben Affleck's casting as Batman
Bad Ass Digest chooses the 11 best movies of the summer. Amidst all the fanboy titles are Short Term 12 and Blue Jasmine so well done. 

Jessica Chastain ♥ Cate Blanchett 
This was posted on the Actress's facebook page yesterday.

Sweet. And generous. And culturally aware just as we've come to expect from Chastain who by all accounts is a lovely person and real film enthusiast as well as one of the most important actors to emerge this decade.

Exit Music
Since we've been on a Mary Poppins kick this year what with that Best Shot steppin' time party and Saving Mr Banks coming out here's a music videdo that uses only sounds from Mary Poppins for its beats and melodies... 


Cannes, Chastain, Critics

More Cannes prizes to discuss. We'll illustrate with Jessica Chastain at Cannes because.... she pretty! Always prizeworthy




FIPRESCI -International Federation of Film Critics
COMPETITION  Blue is the Warmest Colour by Abdellatif Kechiche (France, 2013)
This three hour lesbian coming of age drama stars newcomer Adele Exarchopoulos and the ever more impressive Léa Seydoux (Farewell My Queen, Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol, Midnight in Paris ...and many more recently). It's considered a threat for tomorrow's awards from the competition jury, too. Wouldn't you just love to listen to Steven Spielberg, Ang Lee, Christoph Waltz and Nicole Kidman arguing about its graphic 20 minute lesbian sex scene and whether that's just exploitative titillation or artistically justified storytelling?
UN CERTAIN REGARD  Manuscripts Don't Burn by Mohammad Rasoulof (Iran, 2013)
PARALLEL SECTIONS Blue Ruin by Jeremy Saulnier (USA, 2013), a noirish revenge thriller, which played in Directors Fortnight. Radius/The Weinstein Co. picked it up for distribution

CANNES Ecumenical Jury
WINNER The Past by Asghar Farhadi (Iran, 2013)
COMMENDATIONS Miele by actress Valeria Golino (her directorial debut!) and Like Father Like Son by the acclaimed Hirokazu Kore-eda


Burning Questions: Can You Really Separate A Performance From The Film?  

Hey everybody. Michael C. here. Growing up in the dark days before Twitter, back before I could get my Oscar gripe on 24/7, I had to focus all that emotion on Siskel and Ebert’s annual "Memo to the Academy" special. Watching year after year, one of the refrains the duo drilled into my head was that the Academy should expand their idea of what constitutes an Oscar-worthy performance. Don’t lazily jot down the names of those appearing in best picture contenders. Evaluate each performance on its own merits, apart from the film that contains it. They were adamant on the subject. 

Or at least they were, until the 1998/99 episode when Gene found the limits of Roger’s open-mindedness by suggesting James Woods receive a Best Actor nod for John Carpenter’s Vampires. After Gene went on for a bit about Woods’ talent for commanding the screen, Roger demurred, “Yeah, but if you’re gonna nominate someone for Best Actor you kinda want them to be in a little better movie, don’t you think?”

Gene wasn’t having it: “No. I want the performance. I don’t care about the movie.” 

This altercation zeroed in on a question that has always nagged at me. If even a harsh critic of stodgy thinking like Ebert has to draw the line somewhere, is the issue that cut and dry? Is it really possible to separate the performance from the film? [more]

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Say What? Watts & Chastain

You amused us by adding dialogue or a caption to this snapshot of Naomi Watts & Jessica Chastain taken Wednesday in Paris.


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Can you picture Jessica Chastain swinging on vines? Who else?

Though I think it's curious that the internet leaps so feverishly on to each casting wish as if it were reality, I feel we should discuss the latest speculative thing going around.

I made this. My apologies to Vogue Italia for repurposing their gorgeous image of Jessica

Yes, Jessica Chastain is "said to be the first choice for Jane" in that new Tarzan movie that might star Alexandar Skarsgård that I've talked about before to little interest from you. I think maybe you had to grow up with Tarzan movies playing in syndication on the TV to care? I did and come what may, I like Tarzan anything in an instant nostalgia kind of way.

But back to Jessica. Being first choice and being interested are two extremely different things and I'd be willing to bet she's "first choice" for about 70% (am I lowballing it?) of the screenplays out there with a female lead OR supporting role for a woman in her early to mid 30s. I mean think about it. Hollywood producers get VERY fixated on certain people despite there being an abundance of talent from which to choose. She's about to turn 36 but reads more like 30, don't you think? She is a) gorgeous b) a fine actor c) incredibly versatile d) obsessed over as the next big thing that isn't Jennifer Lawrence who she's not really competing for roles with anyway and e) she's probably cheaper to cast still (for maybe 5 more minutes) than the more established stars in her age bracket. The only reason I think this might happen despite it sounding ridiculous is that there is apparently three of her she finds time to do so much.

Chastain probably loves all of these actresses she's so generous of spirit

Can you picture Jessica Chastain swinging on vines in a loincloth? Would you like to? I think she'd be a dynamic visual match with Skarsgård but the Jane part can be such a wash if the screenplay isn't good. And as for her competition, this begs the question

Exactly who is her competition these days (not for "Jane" but in general)?

Headliners in her age bracket (ages 30-36) in alpha order
Blunt, Dunst, Hathaway, Gyllenhaal, McAdams, Portman, Williams... there are a ton of major stars now in their late 30s -- Theron, Adams, and many more -- but I just wanted to limit this or I'd be researching all day
Less famous and/or less prestigious (at the moment) but probably on long lists for the 30-36 age bracket
Atwell, Collins, Cornish, Garai, Green, Hall, Harris, Kruger, Marling, Miller, Munn, Pike, Rapace, Reilly, Sagnier, Saldana, and Riseborough

Chastain can't do every movie... even if there's three of her! Who would you love to see snatching up the opportunities she passes on? Which of her headline competitors would you like to take roles from and give to Jessica?



Red Carpet Oscar Pt. 1: "Princess. Puppy. Purse."

For this Oscar Nominee edition of the red carpet convos I am pleased to welcome Courtney from Pajiba!

It's Courtney!

NATHANIEL: Welcome to the Film Experience, Courtney. Since you're a brand new to many readers (unless they're smart enough to read Pajiba!) it's confession time. I wore a Les Miz tee to the Oscars last night but before we dive into what the Best Supporting Actresses were wearing, tell us: what were you wearing last night?!

COURTNEY: Hello, sir! I was looking superb - a vision in flannel, baby vomit elegantly adorning my jeans.

NATHANIEL: Beautiful. Do you hate it when they ask the nominees if their child picked their dress for them? I heard it first with Reese Witherspoon last night but you hear it all the time. 

COURTNEY: I hate the question, and I hate the answers. If children ever actually picked out Oscar gowns, however, that is a ceremony I'd watch. Picture it. It would be some sparkly nonsense and I'd love it. 

Maybe Hugh Jackman would have shown up dressed as Batman. SEE? Automatically a better ceremony.

NATHANIEL: Definitely less matchy-matchy and "on trend" I'll give you that. Rainbow would be the new black. Okay....

SUPPORTING ACTRESS. Anne Hathaway's 'darts' were the talk of twitter last night but there's more than just pointy boobs to discuss.


Anne's halter, Helen's wrinkles, and so-phis-ti-cat-ed Best Actresses after the jump... 

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