Jessica Chastain gets her character in ‘Zero Dark Thirty’

As the overstressed beating heart of “Zero Dark Thirty,” a CIA analyst named Maya who relentlessly chases after the hated phantom that was Osama bin Laden, Jessica Chastain is at times steely, at times shattered, potty-mouthed but somehow girlish, touchingly lonely but scrutinized by the entire spy agency’s hierarchy.

To get to her character’s essence, Chastain used her preferred technique, which is more methodical than Method. “Every project I start I make lists, and the first one is what everyone [in the film] says about the character, and what they say about Maya is she’s a killer.”

In an extended sense, that’s certainly the literal truth about the woman the screenplay calls Maya, the book by SEAL team member Mark Owen (realsurname Bissonette) calls Jen and the CIA brass apparently call overemphasized. (The Washington Post recently described how thereal-life operative was denied a rise in rank and pay, speculatively for drawing too much attention to herself. And yet the agency has not denied the script’s contention that the female analyst, bucking a certain degree of internal doubting and inertia, was the push rod of the effort to find and, yes, kill Bin Laden.) For screenwriter Mark Boal’s part, he told The Times, “I’m thrilled with how Jessica captured the dedication and sacrifice of CIA officers. In reality, as in the film, some of them do have big personalities.”

It says much about her character’s central role in the story that despite all the film’s awards buzz — and media wrangling about its gripping torture sequences— the most talked-about moment in the movie comes from a comic beat of sorts. It happens when Maya, who’s been placed in the corner during a tense meeting to pitch a raid on Bin Laden’s compound to the CIA director (James Gandolfini as, unmistakably, Leon E. Panetta) pipes up unexpectedly with an obscure if useful fact about the terrorist’s hideaway. When the boss queries, “Who are you?” she replies with an expletive, “I’m the … who found this place — sir.”

Though Chastain has never met the woman she portrayed, she knows where the language came from. “Maya was a girl that people said looked like a girl. She didn’t look like a woman, you know? And then I thought, ‘Ooh, that’s something really interesting to latch on to,’ that when at first you don’t understand what she’s capable of, you dismiss her immediately. Her voice even, there’s something girlish. Then, also, I’m told that there’s a truck driver mouth. Perhaps because people dismiss her when they first see her, she needed people to listen. So you shock them.”

Read the rest of the article at The Envelop

“Zero Dark Thirty” Opening Breaks Records

“Zero Dark Thirty” had it’s limited release yesterday in Los Angeles and New York and did really well according to various media outlets.

But Wednesday’s most interesting opening was Sony Pictures’ Zero Dark Thirty platforming in NYC and LA before going wide on January 11th, the day after Oscar nominations are announced. Not many movies receive a publicity bonanza via condemnation by U.S. Senate heavy-hitters on the day of their debut. And film critics are giving it awards buzz. But this reteaming of The Hurt Locker‘s Kathryn Bigelow and Mark Boal starring Jessica Chastain in a 2 hour, 37 minute semi-fictional hunt for Bin Laden looks to have scored the biggest Wednesday limited opening ever without a stage show. (You know… Disney’s El Capitan film+stage shows for stuff like The Lion King…) Early numbers indicated a giant $124,848 its first day from just 5 runs for a per screen average of $24,969. Sony tells me that’s bigger than American Beauty (6 runs for $73K) and Little Miss Sunshine (7 runs for $66K). “Pretty spectacular,” a Sony exec gushed.

Source

A Minute With: Jessica Chastain on “Zero Dark Thirty”

Q. What did you think when you saw this film finished?

A. “It is a tough one for me to watch, because there is so much responsibility with playing this woman. I find her to be incredible. And I didn’t want to change her story or make her a Hollywood version, with a lot of makeup. I didn’t want to trivialize what she did … I want her to like it, but I don’t know if she will ever see it.”

Q. How did you play someone you had never met?

A. “There was three months of working with (screenplay writer) Mark Boal, doing research, reading lists and talking to people. And then anything I could not solve through research, like what is her favorite candy – ’cause when we are all overseas we have something we do when we are homesick – I had to answer that question myself.”

Q. Boal hasn’t gone into too much detail about her?

A. “We have to protect her because she is an undercover CIA operative, still working.”

Q. What else did you know about her?

A. “When we finished the movie, when the Navy Seal book ‘No Easy Day’ came out. I raced to go read it, because I was like, ‘I need to know if my character is in the book!’ And they talk about Jen, the young CIA girl. Well, everything matched up. She was the only one that said 100 percent ‘he is there.’… They talked about how she had been on it close to a decade and they were only on it for 40 minutes. They said she was crying on the airplane afterwards.”

Read the rest on the interview at Reuters website

Upcoming TV Appearances!

Set your DVD-R for Jessica’s upcoming appearances!

Next January 07th she will be at Late Show with David Letterman (CBS – 11:35/10:35c)
And on January 08th she will be at Live with Kelly and Michael (Check your local listings)

“Zero Dark Thirty” NY Screening

Last night Al Pacino hosted a special “Zero Dark Thirty” screning in celebration to Jessica’s performance. The lovely Joan Collins and Jessica’s “Take Shelter” co-star Michael Shannon stopped by and took some pictures with her as well. Thanks to the always lovely Dea we have now HQ pictures added in our gallery:

Jessica gets London Critics’ Circle Awards Nomination

The nominees for 2013 London Critics’ Circle Awards was announced and Jessica once again was nominated as Best Actress for her work in Zero Dark Thirty. The surprise was the lack of nomination as Film of the Year, but Kathryn Bigelow and Mark Boal got nods as Director of the Year and Screenwriter of the Year. Congratulations!

The 33rd annual edition London Critics’ Circle Film Awards will be dished out Sunday Jan. 20th at the May Fair Hotel in central London.

Source

Honor Roll 2012: Jessica on the Obsessive Secrets of Her Role in ‘ZD30′

Honor Roll is a daily series running throughout December that features new or previously published interviews, profiles and first-person stories of some of the year’s most notable cinematic voices. Today, we’re running a new interview with Jessica Chastain, who was recently nominated for both a SAG award and a Golden Globe for her blistering performance in “Zero Dark Thirty.”

After netting an Academy Award nomination for her supporting turn in “The Help” and garnering a slew of praise for performances in films as varied as “Take Shelter,” “The Tree of Life” and “Lawless,” you’d be forgiven for forgetting that 35-year-old Jessica Chastain only rose to prominence early last year. After her astonishing 2011, during which she appeared in a whopping seven features, Chastain is back in select theaters Wednesday, Dec. 19, in her most high-profile role and project to date: as Maya, a CIA agent at the forefront of the manhunt to track down Osama bin Laden in Kathryn Bigelow and Mark Boal’s riveting follow-up to “The Hurt Locker,” “Zero Dark Thirty.”

On a rare day off from performing on Broadway in the current acclaimed revival of “The Heiress,” Chastain sat down with Indiewire in a posh suite at the Ritz Carlton overlooking Central Park to discuss playing a character based on a real-life person, working with Bigelow, keeping her role a secret up until now and what scared her most about the controversial project.

What were your first impressions when you came across Mark Boal’s dense script?

When I read the script a year ago, I thought, “This is one of the best scripts I have ever read. This is ‘All The President’s Men!’” All the movies that I loved, the kind of filmmaking I loved from the 1970s — that is what this is. And this is a real woman, and it’s not fiction, and it’s incredible. It’s so current, and it holds a mirror up to our society. But then I had to keep it a secret for a year. People just saw it a week ago.

So many were trying to guess whether the film would take a political stand on the war and who exactly you play. No one knew you were the lead of the film until a couple weeks ago – what’s it been like, keeping that secret?

It’s hard. I’ve been working for a long time. I’ve wanted to be an actor since I was seven years old. I didn’t go the fast route — I went and I trained, I did theater, I did a lot of guest spots on TV; I’ve really worked my way up. When I got this part, it was a rite of passage. It’s amazing to play a lead character in a Kathryn Bigelow film. And to not really be able to celebrate that moment was really difficult for me – my agents couldn’t even read the script.

I knew, however, because of the importance of what the film was, I absolutely had to keep it a secret. But I’ll tell you right now, nothing made me madder than when I’d hear things like… It’d be announced that I’d joined the film, and everyone was trying to make me joining the film as unimportant as possible; they would mix me with other people, “Oh, also, Jessica Chastain is joining the cast.” People were speculating that I was playing Joel Edgerton’s wife! When I was reading stuff like that, I was like, “You have got to be kidding me.” When all I want to say is, “I’m not the wife! I’m not barefoot and pregnant while the husband goes off and does the important work! I’m actually the woman who is a true hero in this story.”

– Read the full interview at Indiewire

Mama – First TV Spot

Universal released a TV Spot for Mama, which will open on theaters next January 18. Check it:

DP/30 Full Interview With Jessica Chastain

I’ve posted a sneak peek a few days ago, and here’s the full interview with Jessica. I just LOVE ‘The Hot Guy’ and their long interviews!

W Magazine Behind the Scenes Video

W Magazine released a video with the Art Issue photoshoot behind the scenes, and they have some gorgeous outtakes that I’d love to put my hands on! Check it:


Thanks @Taliaceres for the heads up!