A tentative “sometimes” is the word Jessica Chastain drops when asked if she considers herself a movie star.
She admits she recently got tongue-tied and shy being in a room filled with high-wattage celebrities. And she was just shopping recently with her grandmother and a friend at a store, where strangers excitedly pointed at her; one whispered, “I loved The Help!”
“It makes me think, Oh, I love it when people recognize me!” she says. “But then I think, Do I? Is this my life?”
So let’s settle this starry matter now: The answer is absolutely, yes, she’s a star. After all, it was Chastain who broke out in 2011 with a whopping six movies, including The Help. She’s since dazzled in Interstellar, The Martian, It Chapter Two, Molly’s Game, Zero Dark Thirty, A Most Violent Year and last year’s award-winning limited series Scenes From a Marriage with Oscar Isaac.
As for that A-list event filled with celebrities? She’s referring to the 2022 Oscars. Chastain won Best Actress for her stunning transformation as evangelist Tammy Faye Bakker in The Eyes of Tammy Faye.
Her success is even more remarkable given where she started. A native of California, Chastain and her four siblings were raised by her mom and firefighter stepdad in a loving but financially strapped household. She’d take in few local plays, only dreaming that one day she’d get paid to act. “I grew up in a way that I never thought I’d be invited to the party,” she says. “It affects every decision I make in terms of where I put my resources and what I act in.”