LA Times published this week a new interview with Jessica, following the upcoming release of The Martian and Crimson Peak. I also added in our gallery the portrait that accompanied the article.
In “The Martian,” in theaters Oct. 2 and based on the bestselling novel by Andy Weir, Chastain plays the leader of a NASA expedition to Mars who accidentally leaves a crew member (Matt Damon) behind and then spearheads a mission to go back and save him. Think a 21st century “Robinson Crusoe” on a planet millions of miles away, with Damon as the stranded castaway and Chastain heading up the rescue party.
A firm believer in deep research, Chastain — who grew up in Sacramento and studied acting at Juilliard — threw herself into learning everything she could about space exploration before embarking on the film, meeting with scientists and astronauts at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena and the Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center in Houston. “The inner geek in me went wild,” she said.
“Crimson Peak,” which hits theaters Oct. 16, shows off a far darker aspect of Chastain’s range. The actress plays Lady Lucille Sharpe, a mysterious woman with a twisted family secret who, along with her brother (Tom Hiddleston), lures a young author (Mia Wasikowska) to their crumbling, haunted estate in England for less than wholesome purposes.
Though Lucille is ostensibly the film’s villain, Chastain approached the character from a place of profound empathy, reading graveyard poetry and watching films like “Rebecca,” “Misery” and “What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?” to get in the proper mind-set. “I’d never played anyone who was so intensely lonely,” she said. “I don’t see Lucille as a monster. I have compassion for how she became what she is.”