Jessica Chastain surprised audiences at the Cannes Film Festival on Thursday, when she appeared in an unannounced cameo in the 1980s coming-of-age drama “Armageddon Time” as Maryanne Trump, Donald Trump’s sister.
Chastain’s role is small but effective. As Maryanne Trump, she appears as a guest lecturer at an austere private school where the film’s young protagonist, Paul (Banks Repeta), matriculates mid-film. She lectures the privileged boys and girls about the value of ambition in a Phyllis Schlafly-esque beehive. Trump worked as a United States Attorney in the 1970s in New Jersey, and was named by President Ronald Reagan to a seat on the U.S. District Court for New Jersey in 1983. She was named to the Third Circuit Court of Appeals in 1999.
“Armageddon Time” is based on writer-director James Grey’s own childhood in the early 1980s at the Kew-Forest School in New York City — where Donald Trump also attended in his youth. Co-starring Anne Hathaway and Jeremy Strong as Paul’s parents, and Anthony Hopkins as his grandfather, the film is crawling with “greed is good” conservatism and features glimpses of Reagan’s presidential campaign.
Originally, Grey told Screen Daily in 2021 that Cate Blanchett was set to play Maryanne Trump. “She’s only in it for three days, she’s doing me a favor,” Grey said. “She has a really long speech to deliver, it’s a real scene-stealer. I’ve tried to recreate the real speech as best I could from memory.”
It’s unclear why Blanchett was unable to play the role, but Chastain is good friends with Hathaway. Neon just picked up “Mothers’ Instinct,” a psychological thriller starring the two women that is set to start shooting on May 25.