Published on CitizenK International – Interview by Perrin Ludovic with Sibyle Dehesdin
An autumn day in Los Angeles, the talented Jessica Chastain has reinterpreted to the lens of Citizen K the famous role of Sophia Loren in one of the masterpieces of Ettore Scola “A special day”. Action.
Stop! She decided to ease off. “I will take a very long break. It is not likely that I will turn to new films by the end of next summer to devote myself to my family.” Let her just enough time to finish the filming of Woman Walks Ahead,the story of a painter Brooklyn who, in the nine teenth century, decided to visit the Dakota to portray Sitting Bull, who finds herself embedded in the struggles of the Lakota territory. They can rest assured, fans of that which is now the most famous redhead Hollywood will still stalling in the red chair and discovered in 2018 another of his five films already announced. There will be action blockbusters with The Division alongside Jake Gyllenhaal and the upcoming X-Men: Dark Phoenix with Jennifer Lawrence, but also tenderness with The Death and Life of John F. Donovan‘s Xavier Dolan. No question as to make the weapons in Painkiller Jane,the protean actress will play a cop who inherit superhuman powers after being irradiated in a nuclear attack. Finally, Jessica Chastain will play successively actress Ingrid Bergman in Seducing Ingrid Bergman and country singer Tammy Wynette in George and Tammy. Ouch! It is an art to catch up. For until his revelation in The Tree of Life, Palme d’Or at Cannes in 2011, the sublime plant was more like the character in La La Land, an actress after castings without much success. The outcome daughter of the American middle class (a stepfather fireman) had already exceeded the age limit: 34 years. Others would have retired. But the Sacramento girl seemed determined to wring the neck to fate. We are not a fan of Brigitte Macron for nothing! For sixty-three meter determined not to let go, life is long and full of surprises. It is therefore understandable that she wanted to produce the series Mercury 13 about the first women to have been sent into space. Where no one can hear you scream? No, shut up is certainly not what defines this feminist with a strong character. Recall that it was one of the first actresses to have denounced the silence in Hollywood about the actions of the producer Harvey Weinstein. The silence, in her rather respect his privacy, it preserves scrupulously. This year, when she married Italian businessman Gian Luca Passi Preposulo, the lack of personalities from show business was glaring. So, what to ask her? Naturally, we will not talk to her about his father, a rock musician whose very name is not on his birth certificate. Nor do we evoke the memory of his younger sister, Juliet, who committed suicide in 2003 after years of drug abuse. We prefer to dwell on the Juliet of Shakespeare who opened his vocation. That was a long time ago in a lost city in California. A grandmother named Marilyn took her granddaughter to theater.
Your grandmother was at the origin of your vocation. Since then, she has continued to accompany you in your filming?
Yes, then I was a very shy child lack an outlet. Yet, I felt great creativity in me. She showed me it was possible. I enrolled in a theater course. My grandmother knew me well. I was so sullen, always question everything. She advised me to smile and wear colors. I’ve never forgotten that. That smile still with me even when I have to choose a garment. This is always my grandmother I think.
Who did you dream then?
As a teenager, I was dazzled by the provision of Ralph Fiennes, who played successively in Schindler’s List and The English Patient, two diametrically opposed roles. For me it was all the more remarkable that it was part off of Hollywood clichés. A character should not, therefore, be nice or kind to be interesting, on the contrary. Villain roles and devious characters are much richer. In Schindler’s List, Ralph Fiennes plays a monster who breathes it part of humanity. Chapeau! I have since had the opportunity to congratulate him. I played his wife in the film Enemies (2011) of which he is the director.
Is it with the idea that you choose your roles?
Sort of. More character is far from me, the more interesting. My job is to explore feelings that are foreign to me. The film industry has so betrayed women by reducing them to a stereotype. They are much more multiple or plural as what Hollywood wants to show us. For example, a woman who uses her sexuality to gain power, I’m interested. I want to hear the truth, even if it is not mine.
As to carry a weapon, as you did in another of your success, Zero Dark Thirty, directed by one of the few female filmmakers in Hollywood, Kathryn Bigelow?
Oh, I had already held in a Texas Killing Fields (2011). But it’s true, every time I have to force myself. While I was playing with plastic guns when I was a kid, I hate guns.
Are there a character that does reflect your true nature?
Yes, that of Celia Foote in Help (2011). I was madly amused me to interpret. And of course, the role of Mrs. O’Brien in The Tree of Life (2011). This may be my best memory location. Each actor was staying there, in a house. He reigned there a family atmosphere. To get on the board, you walk through the countryside. It suited me well, I grew up in California. Nature is what I’m looking at New York, when I walk among the trees in Central Park.
That year, in 2011 at Cannes, we discovered a new redhead actress on screen. This seems obvious now, but at the time this physical feature she has served you?
The company complies with our models. From childhood, we all want to be like. The color of my hair, my skin, it was actually a deep wound. But today, it is my strength. Only different people interest me now.
Do you feel part of a “club”?
Many actresses that I admire are like redheads, Julianne Moore and Cate Blanchett.
Not to mention Isabelle Huppert. When I was in college in New York, there was a movie theater on the opposite sidewalk. I entered and it was this film, The Pianist, which was played. Isabelle Huppert upset me, not only his game but his ability to express her feelings: it does not show, she saw. And I had never seen such movies in my backwater! We did not have this kind of programming in Sacramento. Since then I have enriched my culture. I saw A Man and a Woman (Claude Lelouch, 1966). Foreign films, that’s what I prefer, even if my bedside film The Wizard of Oz. Judy Garland singing “Somewhere over the Rainbow” is magic. Suddenly, the color appears after the tornado in which she is transported. This wicked witch, the lion and the scarecrow, I’m me never recovered. This is a film that deeply affected me when I was a child.
Does fame changed your life?
I had the opportunity to go to Cannes and meet amazing artists. Me, the Sacramento girl! The negative point is not to have the ability to disappear. In New York, when I’m not working, I put on simple clothes and I put very little makeup. I have noticed that people do not recognize me when I simply dressed, I must be primed! I can then linger without feeling observed before returning to my home. My dog waiting. My husband, my family. This is where I feel myself. I love to cook for my friends, organize dinners, theater. You know, it has become exceptional for me an ordinary day.
If you had to choose between your two lives?
Unquestionably and without hesitation, my family life. I might even sacrificing my acting career.
Is your next role to have a baby?
I do not know, we’ll see.
Or to become president of the United States?
No! This is the opposite of what an artist, someone who does not fear failure. A politician seems rather to have to be held for caution. Fortunately: many lives are under its responsibility.
Are there a woman you admire most today?
Without hesitation, Gloria Steinem, a journalist, feminist and amazing speaker. There are also Oprah Winfrey. His spirit of compassion impresses me. And Hillary Clinton. Despite all the attacks she still suffers every day, insults through the press, it continues to move forward. She is not afraid of her ideas.
Brigitte Macron, our First Lady in France?
Her, I love her. She changed all the codes. Look, here we have a president married to a woman much younger than him. It does not shock anyone: this is the norm of a patriarchal society. Your president instills a different dynamic. Also see what is happening in Canada. The Prime Minister has hired many women in his cabinet: 50/50. Yes, a woman can be fulfilled by her intelligence! We must have in mind that the biggest event in the history of the United States, it was the Women’s March. It was as important as the protests against the Vietnam War. But there’s Trump. I will seem very crude, but it’s in the shit that grow the most beautiful flowers. This is the best fertilizer. I do not despair that change can happen in Trump.
You were one of the first to speak in the Weinstein case. Why ?
The women who spoke impressed me by their courage. It’s very difficult to do, you know. They have not done to be more famous, but to save lives. Ignore this bravery seems unacceptable. What I also shocked is the reaction of the industry, which claimed fell off his chair! Of course. I did not want the public to believe such a thing. This is how it works in Hollywood since its inception, with guys like Jack Warner.
Do you ever feel in danger?
Yes, sometimes when I walk to my car in a deserted parking lot. One day, coming out of a movie theater in San Francisco, I had this very strong feeling in me. The danger seemed omnipresent.
It’s almost Christmas. What gift can we offer you?
The greatest gift we have done to me, it was Christmas morning, I was with my family and we decided to go to Disneyland in Florida. It was so nice to see my father and my brother play together, all these adults laughing. I think it’s something we often forget to do, look at life with a child’s eyes. I would always be able to keep that innocence. So, for the gift, it would be a journey to an unknown destination to adventure, not necessarily far from elsewhere. No need to take the plane or the car, just a place I do not know. I love surprises.
(Translated by Jessica Chastain Network. Please credit if reposting)