Jessica Chastain

Jessica Chastain

Actor
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Life Story

Jessica Michelle Chastain was born in Sacramento, California, and was raised in a middle-class household in a northern California suburb. Her mother, Jerri Chastain, is a vegan chef whose family is originally from Kansas, and her stepfather is a fireman. She discovered dance at the age of nine and was in a dance troupe by age thirteen. She began performing in Shakespearean productions all over the Bay area.

An actor in a production of "Romeo & Juliet" encouraged her to audition for Juilliard as a drama major. She became a member of "Crew 32" with the help of a scholarship from one of the school's famous alumni, Robin Williams.

In her last year at Juilliard, she was offered a holding deal with TV writer/producer John Wells and she eventually worked in three of his TV shows. Jessica continues to do theatre, having played in "The Cherry Orchard", "Rodney's Wife", "Salome" and "Othello". She spends her time between New York and Los Angeles, working in theater, film and TV.

In 2011, she had a prolific year in film. She was nominated for and won a number of awards, including a 2012 Oscar nomination for Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role for The Help (2011).

Family

Gian Luca Pasi De Preposulo (10 June 2017 - present) ( 1 child)

Trivia

Attended the drama division of The Juilliard School in New York City and was in the graduating class of her best friend, Jess Weixler.
One of five children of a fireman stepfather and a vegan-chef mother with a food truck. Jessica was the first member of her family to attend college.
Before her film career, she toured in a stage production of "Othello" with Philip Seymour Hoffman.
In order to gain weight for the role of Celia Foote in The Help (2011), she ate soy ice cream melted in the microwave.
Was personally handpicked by Al Pacino to play opposite him as the title character of the play 'Salome'. Pacino later recommended her to Terrence Malick, who gave her an audition for The Tree of Life (2011).
Her idols are Isabelle Huppert, Tilda Swinton, Cate Blanchett, Emily Watson, Julianne Moore and Marion Cotillard.
Attended El Camino Fundamental High School in Sacramento, California, but later dropped out. One of her classmates was Mandisa.
Was named on the list of Time Magazine's 100 most influential people in the world for 2012.
Owns a three-legged dog named Chaplin.
Was named the Sexiest Smile by Victoria Secret's "What Is Sexy" list in 2012.
Won the Next Future Icon award at The Elle Style Awards in 2012.
Was awarded at the Elle Women in Hollywood Awards with the Calvin Klein Collection's Emerging Star Spotlight Award.
Was awarded the inaugural Gucci Award for Women in Cinema for The Tree of Life (2011).
Was ranked #86 on Ask Men's list of Top 99 Women of 2012.
Was once roommates with Michelle Williams They were both nominated for Oscars in 2012 and have remained good friends.
Good friends with Michael Urie. They were both members of the Juilliard School's Drama Division's Group 32.

Personal Quotes 

I was a difficult child because I wanted to be the mom.
I don't look modern. I'm not the girl that would walk into the room and everyone goes, "Oh!"
[on being directed by Terrence Malick in The Tree of Life (2011)] I would have pages of what we were going to convey, but I could say the words in any order I wanted, and sometimes we would say the same thing in many different ways... I think he will always be the greatest teacher I know. I'm trying, in the Terrence Malick kind of way of not planning and just allowing life to happen, trying to find these moments that mirror life and [are] not preconceived in any way. So that has changed me. I try to keep that freshness in things we've done.
[on rehearsals] They'll say, "Save it, save it". I tell them: "Don't worry. I have a bottomless well of tears."
Sometimes I'll have a meeting with someone and they'll say, "Oh, Sean Penn was just here and was saying the nicest things about you". You know, when you're applying for a job? These are like my recommendations. It's nice.
I get embarrassed really easily. I get embarrassed even when people sing me "Happy Birthday."
[on preparing for her role in The Tree of Life (2011)] Emotionally and spiritually, I had to figure out what it meant to play the embodiment of grace. And how do I capture that? Okay, so I start studying paintings of the Madonna at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, I start listening to music that inspires feelings of love inside me, I start reading books about cultivating joy and cultivating gratitude. I start meditating.
I don't normally get into this, but I'm a vegan. And I try not to, well, I don't want to torture anything. I guess it's about trying to live a life where I'm not contributing to the cruelty in the world... While I am on this planet, I want everyone I meet to know that I am grateful they are here.
When I first moved to LA, it was very difficult. All the casting directors didn't know what to do with me, with the way I looked. I'm not blonde with tanned skin and tall and skinny. I looked very different - and they said I looked like I was from another time.
Right after The Tree of Life (2011) came out, I started hearing about strategies for my career. And I made a decision that I wasn't going to do anything based on a strategy. If I don't continue to challenge myself and risk failure, I have no business being an actor. I'm not an actor to be a personality. I want to see every part I take like a master class. And you know what? I'm going to fail sometimes. And that's OK. Because when you fail, you learn more.
I don't talk about my dating life. But I will say this: in this business it's very tough to maintain a relationship because we're like gypsies - always on the move. And the more you share your relationship with the world the less special it becomes. So I always try to keep my dating life quiet.

Filmography

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