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The Rise and Rise of Jessica Chastain

May 08, 2012

Written by James Rawson, Production, DFI

As facebook statuses go, I think this is what they call a ‘humble brag’: “Sorry to say that Iron Man 3 isn’t going to work out. My schedule is jammed packed and I can’t fit anything else in.” Unlucky Downey Jr, I guess you’ll have to find someone a bit less high profile.

Which begs the question: how did Jessica Chastain, a relative unknown just 18 months ago, find herself in a position to turn down Marvel’s most successful single hero franchise? Well, in 2011 she appeared in 6 major releases (7 for some theatrical territories), received her first Oscar nomination and quickly became one of the industry’s most sought after talents. See some of her highlights below as we chart the meteoric rise of Jessica Chastain.

Take Shelter

Playing in Doha this week, ‘Take Shelter’ sees Jessica star alongside Michael Shannon as the tortured wife who worries that her husband may be losing his mind. The role firmly planted her on the industry radar, garnering 17 industry award nominations.

Check out the clip below, where Chastain’s Samantha confronts her husband about a recent DIY project.



In the most critically lauded Shakespeare adaptation since Luhrmann’s ‘Romeo + Juliet’, Coriolanus sees Chastain sharing scenes with acting heavyweights Ralph Fiennes (who also directed) and Vanessa Redgrave.

As Coriolanus’ wife, Chastain’s Virgilia tries in vain to control her husband’s insatiable appetite for power.


The Tree of Life

As the embodiment of grace, nature and maternal love, Chastain gives a performance like no other in a film like no other. Winner of the Cannes Palme d’Or and the recipient of three Academy Award Nominations, Terrence Malick’s the Tree Of Life will probably go down as the most important film of 2011.


The Help

Proving she’s a deft hand at comedy as well as drama, Chastain’s Celia gets the biggest laughs in Tate Taylor’s ‘The Help’ as the white trash girl with a heart of gold. Even though the Academy Award ultimately went to Octavia Spencer’s Minnie, it’s Celia who you’ll be quoting when you leave the cinema.



Looking forward to Cannes 2012, Lawless sees Chastain star alongside Tom Hardy, Gary Oldman and Guy Pearce in John Hillcoat’s prohibition era drama. Not too much information on the plot just yet, but pre-Cannes buzz is hotter than a freshly toasted Croque Monsieur for this ensemble piece.


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