You may not know Jessica Chastain yet, but you’re about to. She has two films in Cannes – thriller Take Shelter and Terrence Malick’s loooong anticipated The Tree Of Life .
Total Film caught up with her to talk Malick, Brad Pitt and being almost famous…
On her character, Mrs O’ Brien…
“She’s the perfect mother. She sort of represents the unattainable; she’s the kind of mother I would love to be. She’s the embodiment of grace and compassion, of putting others before yourself.
I’m a similar character in Take Shelter. So I’m playing two good mothers in Cannes!”
On working with Brad Pitt…
“I was intimidated before I met him! Because the idea that you’re going to play Brad Pitt’s wife carries so much weight.
But once you meet him, he really goes out of his way to make you feel equal and at ease and brave enough to be inventive in each scene.
He was wonderful. He plays a very different person from who he is in real life. His character is very closed down, very difficult to be with.
Early on, he did a scene where he has a confrontation with our kids and I was so shocked by it. He said he hated doing it but his performance was so generous to [the other actors] because it enabled us to give our best in the scene with him.
It was great to see him totally throw himself into the character and then at ‘cut’ be normal Brad again, because I’ve heard stories where people don’t throw themselves out of the character!”
On starring in Terrence Malick’s next film…
All my scenes are with Ben Affleck, but I only did two days on that project so I don’t know if I’ll end up in it!
It was a great experience. I got to go to the set and see how it had changed and developed from our set a few years before – how Terrence is constantly evolving as a filmmaker. He’s not stuck in his ways. But I wouldn’t be shocked if I’m cut out of the finished film."
On getting ready for stardom…
“I’m not going to lie. I’m getting a little anxious about how my life is going to change by the end of the year. But I know I’m never going to have to deal with the kind of fame Brad Pitt has to deal with.
I’ve been offered and have shied away from big franchise films. I’m not saying I’ll never do them, but it would have to be something that would be a challenge.”
On upcoming movie The Wettest Country In The World…
“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.
“People are going to be very excited about this film; [director] John Hillcoat is a master.It was the kind of set where the actors who weren’t working that day would show up just to watch scenes being made. Which doesn’t happen often!”