This year, Jessica Chastain had a birthday party. The photographs are all over her Facebook page: Chastain playing a high-stakes game of ping-pong, bellowing into a microphone mid-karaoke, blowing out candles on her birthday cake. And finally, that classic end-of-night shot, the one when you’re drunk on love for your friends and the music’s turned up loud: Chastain has an arm in the air, eyes closed, red hair flying across her face, and she looks ready to dance until sun-up.
These moments don’t happen often. It was Chastain’s first birthday party for as long as she can remember, she says now. She hates being the centre of attention, and her life, when she’s not working, is peaceful, low-key. Chastain likes routine: a walk on the beach with her dog Chaplin; green tea; yoga. Her time is not usually frittered away in bars. It’s certainly not spent in the thick of a crowd, especially a crowd who are all there for her, singing her name. ‘I hate it when people sing “Happy Birthday” to me,’ she says, still cringing. She is, she insists, shy. To be interviewed is almost liberating because it forces her to talk in a way she wouldn’t usually, especially to a stranger. ‘Probably there are some people who feel great about themselves and don’t second-guess anything they say or do or wear, but that’s just not me.’ [Read more]