Chastain at the Toronto International Film Festival in September 2013
|Born||Jessica Michelle Chastain
March 24, 1977 
Sacramento, California, U.S.
|Residence||New York City, New York, U.S.|
|Education||El Camino High School|
Jessica Michelle Chastain (born March 24, 1977) is an American actress. Chastain played guest roles in several television shows before making her feature film debut in the 2008 independent film Jolene. In 2011, she gained wide public recognition for her starring roles in seven film releases; her performance as Celia Foote in The Help was particularly well received and earned her a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress, as well as Golden Globe, Screen Actors Guild Award and BAFTA nominations in the same category. For her lead performance in the controversial 2012 military thriller film Zero Dark Thirty, Chastain received wide critical acclaim and won the Broadcast Film Critics Association Award for Best Actress and the Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Motion Picture Drama, and received an Academy Award nomination for Best Actress.
In 2012, Time magazine featured her as one of the "100 Most Influential People in the World". Chastain's performances in Zero Dark Thirty and in the 2013 horror film Mama led film critic Richard Roeper to describe her as "one of the finest actors of her generation".
Early life and education
Chastain was born in Sacramento, California. She was raised by her mother, Jerri, a vegan chef, and her stepfather, Michael Hastey, a fireman. She is close to her grandmother Marilyn, who attended the Oscars with her in 2012 and 2013.
She graduated from El Camino High School in Sacramento in 1995 and attended Sacramento City College, where she was a member of the debate team (1996–1997). In 1998, she appeared as Juliet in a production of Romeo and Juliet staged by TheatreWorks, a professional theater company in the San Francisco Bay Area. Chastain then attended the Juilliard School in New York City as a member of the Drama Division's Group 32 (1999–2003), which also included Michael Urie and Jess Weixler. The funding which made it possible for her to attend was provided through a scholarship by Robin Williams. She was an active participant in the drama department and starred in several theatrical productions and student film projects. She graduated from Juilliard with a B.F.A. degree in 2003.
Shortly before her drama school graduation, Chastain attended a showcase for final-year students in Los Angeles, and was promptly signed to a holding deal by television producer John Wells. She relocated to California, took up residence in Venice Beach, and started auditioning for jobs, and was discovered by talent agent Hylda Queally. Facing early difficulty in even getting auditions for roles, she recalled that "being a redhead and not having very conventionally modern looks, it was confusing for people and they didn't know exactly where to put me." In her television debut, The WB network's pilot remake of the 1960s gothic soap opera Dark Shadows, she portrayed Carolyn Stoddard, who was originated by Nancy Barrett. Directed by P. J. Hogan, the pilot did not live up to the network's expectations and the series was eventually not picked up for broadcast. Chastain later appeared in a guest stint on the medical drama series ER, which marked a professional watershed as she subsequently found a niche playing eccentric characters in television. "I did a job on ER as a psychotic woman, and after that got a lot of jobs in TV where I wasn't the normal one," she later said. "I played a lot of girls who had something off. Maybe they'd been the victim of some horrible accident. Or they were crazy."
From 2004 to 2006, she also appeared in television series such as Veronica Mars, Close to Home, and Law & Order: Trial By Jury. While working at Playwrights Horizons, she was recommended by her director to Al Pacino, who was looking for an unknown actress to star in his new production of Salome and hired her on the spot. The success of the play at Wadsworth Theatre, which sold out after getting positive reviews, helped bring her to the attention of several casting directors.
In 2008, she made her film debut as the title role in Dan Ireland's drama film Jolene which was based on the short story Jolene: A Life by E. L. Doctorow, itself inspired by Dolly Parton's song "Jolene", and follows her life over the course of ten years, as an abused 15-year-old foster child up until her life as a 25-year-old woman. While the drama received mixed reviews, Chastain was generally praised for her performance, with New York Observer noting that she "not only holds her own corner of every scene, she's the only thing you want to watch." It was later released in the United States on October 29, 2010 and Chastain won the Seattle International Film Festival Award for Best Actress.
In 2009, Chastain appeared in Stolen, a mystery–thriller film directed by Anders Anderson. It was universally panned by critics and not released as video on demand and in a limited theatrical release until March 2010. The same year, she finished work on the British period drama series Agatha Christie's Poirot, playing Mary Debenham in a full-length adaption of Christie's 1934 novel Murder on the Orient Express.
Chastain's biggest commercial success of 2011 was The Help, which was based on Kathryn Stockett's novel of the same name. Her performance received praise from critics and gave her an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress nomination, which she lost to her co-star Octavia Spencer. Chastain continued to receive positive reviews for her performance in the 2011 film Take Shelter playing the wife of a small town man plagued by apocalyptic visions.
In John Madden's drama-thriller film The Debt, she portrayed a young Mossad agent sent to East Berlin in the mid-1960s to capture a former Nazi doctor who carried out medical experiments in concentration camps. Chastain shared her role with Helen Mirren, both actresses portraying the character at different phases of her life. The actresses worked together before shooting started, creating a consistent voice and mannerisms for their character, while Chastain also took classes in krav maga and German, and studied books about Josef Mengele and Mossad history to prepare herself for the film. Premiering at the 2010 Toronto International Film Festival in September 2010, the film was released on August 31, 2011 and Chastain received positive reviews from critics and viewers.
On November 29, 2011, Chastain was awarded the New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Supporting Actress for her performances in The Help, Take Shelter and The Tree of Life, as well as gaining an Independent Spirit Award nomination the same day for her performance in Take Shelter. On December 1, 2011, she received a Satellite Award nomination as Best Supporting Actress for her performance as Mrs. O'Brien in The Tree of Life. Chastain went on to win the award and many other honors from critics, including the National Society of Film Critics Award for Best Supporting Actress and the Los Angeles Film Critics Association Award for Best Supporting Actress.
Chastain played Virgilia in the adaptation and Ralph Fiennes's directorial debut, Coriolanus, which was released in January 2012 and was met with generally positive reviews from the critics. In the animated comedy film, Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted, she voiced Gia the jaguar with an Italian accent, the film was released on June 8, 2012 and received generally positive reviews from critics.
In April 2012, Chastain entered the list of Time 100 most influential people of the world. She was invited to join the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in June 2012. The same month, Chastain was named the ambassador of the new Yves Saint Laurent fragrance, called Manifesto.
In 2012, she appeared in Tar as C.K. Williams' mother. She reunited with Terrence Malick in the romantic drama film To the Wonder, but her performance was later cut from the film. In early 2012, Chastain was reported to star in the action films Oblivion and Iron Man 3, but dropped out. Chastain was also offered for the role of Princess Diana in the biopic film Diana but dropped out and was replaced by Naomi Watts. In Kathryn Bigelow's action thriller film Zero Dark Thirty, she played Maya and was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actress. In 2013, she played the lead role, alongside Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, in Andrés Muschietti's horror film Mama (2013), based on Muschietti's 2008 Spanish-language short film, Mamá. With the release of Zero Dark Thirty and Mama, Chastain became the first woman in 50 years to have the leading role in the top two films at the box office. Also in 2012, Chastain played Catherine Sloper in her Broadway debut and a limited-run revival of The Heiress which ran on Broadway at the Walter Kerr Theatre from November 1, 2012 to February 9, 2013, the original final performance having been canceled so she could attend the BAFTAs.
Chastain then took on the part of the titular character in The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby with James McAvoy, about a three-part drama subtitled Him, Her, and Them.  She will also play the lead and title role in Miss Julie, a film adaptation of August Strindberg's play, being directed by Liv Ullmann. She will star in the feature film adaptation of The Zookeeper's Wife, directed by Niki Caro. Chastain will appear with Matthew McConaughey and Anne Hathaway in Interstellar, the next film to be directed by Christopher Nolan.
On July 16, 2013, Chastain was cast in J. C. Chandor's film, A Most Violent Year. In the fall of 2013 it was announced that Chastain would star in Guillermo Del Toro's horror film titled Crimson Peak alongside Mia Wasikowska, Tom Hiddleston and Charlie Hunnam. The film is set to be released on 16 October 2015.
Chastain is estranged from her biological father and has refused to confirm various news reports on his identity. In an interview with Vogue in 2013 she stated that no father is listed on her birth certificate and she considers Michael Hastey, her stepfather, to be her father.
Chastain is the eldest of five siblings; she has two younger sisters and two younger brothers. In 2014 she revealed that her involvement with the non-profit To Write Love on Her Arms was prompted by the suicide of one of her sisters.
She was in a long-term relationship with film director Ned Benson before breaking up in 2010. As of 2012, she is in a relationship with Gian Luca Passi de Preposulo, an Italian-born executive for French fashion brand Moncler.
|2006||Blackbeard||Charlotte Ormand||Television film|
|2011||Take Shelter||Samantha LaForche|
|2011||Tree of Life, TheThe Tree of Life||Mrs. O'Brien|
|2011||Help, TheThe Help||Celia Foote|
|2011||Debt, TheThe Debt||Young Rachel Singer|
|2011||Texas Killing Fields||Detective Pam Stall|
|2012||Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted||Gia The Jaguar||Voice|
|2012||Zero Dark Thirty||Maya|
|2013||The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby||Eleanor Rigby||Also producer|
|2014||Miss Julie||Miss Julie|
|2014||A Most Violent Year||Anna Morales||Post-production|
|2015||Crimson Peak||Lady Lucille Sharpe||Post-production|
|2004||ER||Dahlia Taslitz||Episode: "Forgive and Forget"|
|2004||Veronica Mars||Sarah Williams||Episode: "The Girl Next Door"|
|2004||Dark Shadows||Carolyn Stoddard||Unaired Pilot|
|2005||Law & Order: Trial by Jury||Assistant District Attorney Sigrun Borg||3 episodes|
|2006||Close to Home||Casey Wirth||Episode: "The Rapist Next Door"|
|2006||The Evidence||Laura Green||Episode: "Pilot"|
|2007||Journeyman||Tanna Bloom||Episode: "Friendly Skies"|
|2010||Agatha Christie's Poirot||Mary Debenham||Episode: "Murder on the Orient Express"|
|2004||Rodney's Wife||Lee||Playwrights Horizons|
|2009||Othello||Desdemona||The Public Theatre|
|2012||The Heiress||Catherine Sloper||Walter Kerr Theatre|
Awards and nominations
- "Monitor". Entertainment Weekly (1252): 30. March 29, 2013.
- Derakhshani, Tirdad (November 17, 2012). "Sideshow: Jessica Chastain, uneasy star". Philadelphia Daily News. Retrieved January 17, 2013.
- Peretz, Evgenia (September 2012). "Jessica Chastain on Her Rise in Hollywood". Vanity Fair. Retrieved January 17, 2013.
- Oldman, Gary (April 18, 2012). "Jessica Chastain – 2012 TIME 100: The Most Influential People in the World". Time. Retrieved January 17, 2013.
- Roeper, Richard."Reviews: Mama". Chicago Sun-Times. January 16, 2013. Retrieved January 27, 2013.
- Masters, Tim (July 10, 2011). "Is Jessica Chastain Hollywood's best kept secret?". BBC News. Retrieved January 25, 2012.
- Rochlin, Margy (August 24, 2011). "A Star Not Quite Overnight". The New York Times.
- Interview on Late Show with David Letterman, "Episode #19.76", January 17, 2012, 00:30 seconds into the interview Letterman: Where you from? Chastain: Northern California, the wine country...Sonoma area
- Palmer, Martyn (November 21, 2011). "Jessica Chastain: Meet the actress who's firing up the A-list". Daily Mail (London). Retrieved December 2, 2011.
- Wheat, Alynda (June 13, 2011). "Picks and Pans Main: Movies". People. Retrieved January 25, 2012.
- "5 Things You Don't Know About Jessica Chastain, Brad Pitt's Costar". Us Weekly. May 25, 2011. Retrieved December 2, 2011.
- Bradshaw, Jennifer (January 26, 2012). "The Help Cast Before They Were Stars: Jessica Chastain as Essie in You Can’t Take It With You, Senior Yearbook Photo, 1995". Pontiac Digital Media.
- "Oscar-Nominated Actress Started On Path To Stardom At El Camino High". CBS. January 11, 2013. Retrieved July 20, 2013.
- a "From Sacramento to Hollywood star..." — ¶ 1.
- b "Jessica went to Sacramento City College after El Camino high." — ¶ 10.
- Hall, Joseph (October 26, 2011). "Debating greatness: City College Speech and Debate team scores a winning streak". Sac City Express. Sacramento City College.
- Zimmerman, Heather (April 30, 1998). "Bard's Pair as Dublin Duo: TheatreWorks updates 'Romeo and Juliet' to strife-torn Ireland". Metro Newspapers. Retrieved April 7, 2012. "Travis Engle and Jessica Chastain as Romeo and Juliet ... Engle and Chastain, themselves 17 and 21"
- Iredale, Jessica (November 11, 2013). "Possible Conversations: Karl Lagerfeld and Jessica Chastain". WWD. Retrieved November 12, 2013.
- "Alumni News". The Juilliard School. February 2012. Archived from the original on 2012-03-14. Retrieved April 15, 2012.
- "Robin Williams changed my life. He was a great actor and a generous person. Through a scholarship, he made it possib…". Twitter. August 11, 2014.
- "Juilliard School Newsletter". September 6, 2011. Retrieved April 6, 2012.
- Adams, Guy (October 22, 2011). "Red hot: How Jessica Chastain became Hollywood's most wanted". The Independent. Retrieved March 1, 2013.
- "Hylda Queally". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved January 7, 2014.
- "Jessica Chastain: I Don't Look 'Modern'". The Huffington Post. 1 March 2011. Retrieved March 1, 2013.
- Taylor, Drew (January 19, 2013). "Jessica Chastain Reveals How Crystal Castles Inspired Her 'Mama' Role, Says She Wants To Be A Bond Villain". IndieWire. Retrieved March 1, 2013.
- Emma Jones (September 23, 2014). "Jessica Chastain mulls breakthrough role as Salome". BBC News. Retrieved September 24, 2014.
- White, Armond (October 27, 2010). "Dolly Did It First". The New York Press. Retrieved January 17, 2013.
- Reed, Rex (27 October 2010). "Jolene Was Worth the Wait: A Two-Year-Old Film Finally Gets the Spotlight". New York Observer.
- Stolen at Rotten Tomatoes
- Crow, Jonathan (October 12, 2011). "'Tree of Life’ Star Jessica Chastain Talks About Her Very Busy Career". Yahoo! Movies. Retrieved March 1, 2013.
- "Jessica Chastain joins Sam Worthington film". The Hollywood Reporter. March 21, 2010. Retrieved March 24, 2012.
- Barton, Steve (March 22, 2010). "Jessica Chastain Takes Up Residence in The Fields". Dreadcentral.com. Retrieved March 24, 2012.
- "Take Shelter". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved February 20, 2014.
- Garratt, Sheryl (September 24, 2011). "Hollywood's hidden treasure: Jessica Chastain interview". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved March 1, 2013.
- "Stars shine at the New York Film Critics' Circle Awards (Photos)". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved February 20, 2014.
- Mann, Camille (January 10, 2012). "New York Film Critics name "The Artist" Best Picture". CBS News. Retrieved February 20, 2014.
- Kilday, Gregg (November 29, 2011). "'The Artist,' 'Take Shelter' Dominate Indie Spirit Award Nominations". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved February 20, 2014.
- Cook, Cameron (December 5, 2011). "The Tree of Life: Awards and Nominations so far". Fox Searchlight. Retrieved February 20, 2014.
- "2011 Awards: "Melancholia," Pitt, Dunst, Brooks, Chastain, Malick". National Society of Film Critics Award for Best Supporting Actress. January 7, 2012. Retrieved February 20, 2014.
- "37th Annual Los Angeles Film Critics Associations Awards". Los Angeles Film Critics Association Award for Best Supporting Actress. Retrieved February 20, 2014.
- Coriolanus at Rotten Tomatoes
- Young, John (January 12, 2012). "'Madagascar 3': Meet the new celebrity-voiced circus animals". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved June 8, 2012.
- Kit, Borys (December 13, 2010). "Jessica Chastain joins Prohibition era drama". Reuters Canada. Retrieved May 31, 2012.
- "Academy Invites 176 to Membership". The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Retrieved June 29, 2012.
- "Jessica Chastain Named YSL Fragrance Face". Women's Wear Daily. June 7, 2012. Retrieved June 8, 2012.
- "Barry Pepper, Michael Sheen & Amanda Peet Also Cut From Terrence Malick's 'To The Wonder'". The Playlist. August 29, 2012. Retrieved August 30, 2012.
- "Jessica Chastain Out, Andrea Riseborough And Olga Kurylenko in For Joseph Kosinski's Next Science Fiction Film". Cinemablend. January 19, 2012. Retrieved October 23, 2012.
- "Jessica Chastain Won't Be in Iron Man 3". Cinemablend. May 7, 2012. Retrieved October 23, 2012.
- "Kathryn Bigelow Shooting Bin Laden Drama in India". Cinemablend. March 1, 2012. Retrieved October 23, 2012.
- "Jessica Chastain Faces Off with a Jealous Ghost in Mama Trailer". Cinemablend. October 18, 2012. Retrieved October 23, 2012.
- "Box Office Results: Mama Dominates MLK Jr. Weekend". ComingSoon. January 20, 2013. Retrieved January 29, 2013.
- "The Heiress cancels final performance". Broadway.com. January 29, 2013. Retrieved February 4, 2013.
- "James McAvoy Joining Jessica Chastain in the Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby". Cinemablend. May 22, 2012. Retrieved October 23, 2012.
- "Chastain cast in Miss Julie". LA Times. February 1, 2013. Retrieved February 4, 2013.
- Kit, Borys. "Jessica Chastain Attached to Star in 'The Zookeeper's Wife'". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved May 5, 2013.
- Evans, Esben. "Another Cast Member Joins Nolan’s ‘Interstellar’ Journey". The Hollywood News. Retrieved June 8, 2013.
- Jagernauth, Kevin. "Jessica Chastain Will Have 'A Most Violent Year' With Javier Bardem, Plot Details Revealed?". IndieWire. Retrieved January 20, 2014.
- Shaw-Williams, H. "Guillermo Del Toro Says ‘Crimson Peak’ is Shocking, Kinky, Gothic & Scary". July 2013. Screen Rant. Retrieved November 12, 2013.
- Delhauer, Matt. "Guillermo del Toro’s "Peak" finds release date". Diabolique Magazine. Retrieved November 12, 2013.
- Schaefer, Sandy. "Charlie Hunnam and Guillermo del Toro Reuniting for 'Crimson Peak'". Screen Rant. Retrieved August 21, 2013.
- Wigler, Josh (July 2, 2013). "Guillermo Del Toro Teases He'll Get 'Kinky' With Crimson Peak". Comic Book Resources. Retrieved August 21, 2013.
- "Jessica Chastain lands first Vogue cover, breaks silence about biological father’s death". November 12, 2013. Retrieved September 30, 2014.
- Adams, Thelma (September 17, 2014). "Jessica Chastain Talks About Getting Through a Painful Year — and How 'Interstellar' Made Matthew McConaughey Cry". Retrieved September 30, 2014.
- "Jessica Chastain: Gaining 15 Pounds for The Help Was "Torture"". Us Weekly. August 11, 2011. Retrieved October 15, 2011.
- Chai, Barbara (January 8, 2013). "‘Zero Dark Thirty’ Star Jessica Chastain on Those ‘Homeland’ Comparisons". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved January 17, 2013.
- Yuan, Jada (May 22, 2014). "Jessica Chastain on Cannes, Her Wonderful Facebook Page, and Having to Keep Interstellar Secrets". Vulture. Retrieved September 14, 2014.
- Ravitz, Justin (February 22, 2013). "RJessica Chastain, Boyfriend Gian Luca Passi de Preposulo Getting Serious". US Weekly. Retrieved March 11, 2013.
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