If meteoric rises in the movie industry were measured by proximity to Brad Pitt, then Jessica Chastain may have the most impressive breaking-into-Hollywood story of them all. While speaking to V.F. Senior West Coast Editor Krista Smith at the Toronto Film Festival on Friday, the actress recalled how four months before being cast as Pitt’s wife in Terrence Malick’s The Tree of Life, in her breakout role, she couldn’t even get an audition for a film featuring the movie star.
Four years and two Oscar nominations later, the actress holds her own opposite another Hollywood heavyweight, Matt Damon, in Ridley Scott’s “sublime” sci-fi adventure The Martian, which debuted in Toronto. During her conversation with Smith, Chastain also talked about how the iconic filmmaker redefined gender roles on-screen, the importance of believing in yourself as a young actor, and the verb she inspired by her swift and furious ascent in Hollywood.