Jessica Chastain is one of the most awarded actresses of her generation. In just over a year, she won an Oscar for In the eyes of Tammy Fayea Drama Desk Award for her performance in At Doll’s House, and was nominated for Tony Awards and Emmy Awards for her role in the miniseries George and Tammy.
For this Juilliard graduate, everything is linked: her determination from the first days to string together auditions, the cruising speed she found in Hollywood by becoming a producer on large-scale projects, and her way of managing sometimes very takers. For the series George and Tammyfor example, in which she plays the country singer of the duo Tammy Wynette & George Jones alongside Michael Shannonshe was terrified of having to sing, but chose to turn her vulnerability into a strength.
When we caught up with her last month to reflect on her journey, she was about to go on strike with her actors’ union, SAG-AFTRA. A strike in which she firmly believes and on which she does not hesitate to speak out on several occasions.
Vanity Fair: Everything is going well for you at the moment, it seems. You won an Oscar, you just got nominated for a Tony, and you got your first Emmy nomination. How does that feel to you?
Jessica Chastain : These last two years have been exceptional. I had great roles as an actress, but I also worked as a producer. You know, it’s important that women, especially those who are getting older like me, are active in order to make a place for themselves in Hollywood. No one will do it for us. In all the projects you mentioned, In the eyes of Tammy Faye, George and Tammy Or A Doll’s HouseI was involved both as an actress and a producer.
You now have a double hat. How did you manage to establish yourself as a producer?
It is complicated. One of my friends, for example, is trying to retrain by becoming a screenwriter. I think it’s great to reinvent yourself and, at the same time, it makes me a little sad that a woman has to do it. Personally, I’m happy to be a producer, but I also wish people were more interested in what the actresses have to say.
How do you see the evolution of the sector since your beginnings? What did you learn ?
It has changed enormously, especially under the impetus of the #MeToo movement. Today, if you find yourself in an unhealthy situation, if you are the victim of abuse or harassment, you are no longer alone. You have resources at your disposal. Before, you were constantly witnessing problematic behavior. Now, this kind of attitude does not pass any more. People are treated better. The sexist jokes and all the rest are gone. So there you have it, the sector is changing. During this time, I too have changed: I learned a lot about production and development, including founding my own company Freckle Films in 2016. It all started in my living room. We worked there for a long time before finally having our offices; which is very recent.