Jessica Michelle Chastain, born March 24, 1977, is an American actress and film producer. She’s known for her portrayals of women in movies with feminist themes. Her accolades include a Golden Globe Award and two Academy Award nominations. Take a look below for 30 more interesting and fascinating facts about Jessica Chastain.
1. Time Magazine has named her one of the 100 Most Influential People in the World in 2012.
2. Born and raised in Sacramento, California, Chastain developed an interest in acting from a young age.
3. In 1998, Chastain made her professional stage debut as Shakespeare’s Juliet.
4. After studying acting at the Julliard School, she was signed to a talent holding deal with the television producer John Wells.
5. Chastain was a recurring guest star in several television shows, including Law & Order: Trial by Jury.
6. Chastain took on roles in the stage productions of Anton Chekhov’s play The Cherry Orchard in 2004 and Oscar Wilde’s tragedy Salome in 2006.
7. She made her film debut in the drama Jolene, and gained wide recognition in 2011 for starring roles in half a dozen movies, including the dramas Take Shelter and The Tree of Life.
8. Her performance as an aspiring socialite in The Help earned her a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress.
9. In 2012, she won a Golden Globe Award and received a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Actress for playing a CIA agent in the thriller Zero Dark Thirty.
10. In 2012, Chastain made her Broadway debut in a revival of The Heiress.
11. Her highest grossing releases came with the science fiction movies Interstellar and The Martian, though she continued to draw praise for her performances in the dramas A Most Violent Year, Miss Sloane and Molly’s Game.
12. She’s the founder of the production company Freckle Films, which was created to promote diversity in movies.
13. Chastain is vocal about mental health issues, as well as gender and racial equality.
14. She attended the drama division of The Juilliard School in New York City and was in the graduating class of her best friend, Jess Weixler.
15. She is one of five children of a fireman stepfather and a vegan-chef mother with a food truck. Chastain was the first member of her family to attend college.
16. Before her film career, she toured in a stage production of Othello with Philip Seymour Hoffman.
17. In order to gain weight for the role of Celia Foote in The Help, she ate soy ice cream melted in the microwave.
18. She was personally handpicked by Al Pacino to play opposite him as the title character of the play Salome. Pacino later recommended her to Terrence Malick, who gave her an audition for The Tree of Life.
19. She attended El Camino Fundamental High School in Sacramento, California, but later dropped out. One of her classmates was Mandisa.
20. She owns a three legged dog named Chaplin.
21. She was named the Sexiest Smile by Victoria Secret’s “What Is Sexy” list in 2012.
22. Chastain was once roommates with Michelle Williams. They were both nominated for Oscars in 2012 and have remained good friends.
23. Chastain is good friends with Michael Urie. They were both members of the Juilliard School’s Drama Division Group 32.
24. She learned German and Krav Maga for her role in The Debt.
25. Her grandmother took her to see Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat when she was just 7 years old, sparking an early acting bug in her. Her grandmother, Marilyn, was introduced to the world when she accompanied Jessica to the 2012 Academy Awards.
26. She was originally cast in Iron Man 3 as Maya Hansen but dropped out due to scheduling conflicts.
27. Chastain was originally cast in Diana as Princess Diana but dropped out due to scheduling conflicts.
28. She was originally cast in Oblivion as Julia but dropped out due to scheduling conflicts.
29. For her role in The Help, she modeled her character and her high-pitched voice after the mother of author Kathryn Stockett and visited Sugar Ditch, Tennessee, in preparation for the role of Celia Foote.
30. Chastain purchased a Greenwich Village co-op apartment for $1.2 million to live in while on Broadway during the run of The Heiress.