Jessica Michelle Chastain is one of the most influential actress/producers of our time. It’s thanks in no small part to her classically trained acting talent, but it’s also because of her choice in roles. Chastain plays strong female roles that empower her people. Check out these highlights from the impressive TV and movie filmography of Jessica Chastain.
so…This 2013 biblical movie is pulled from a 2011 movie, Wilde Salomé, that itself is a documentary about an Oscar Wilde play, Salomé. The movie-within-the-movie dramatization was extracted from the doc and presented as its own narrative, and we deal with this confusion because it’s Chastain dancing the dance of seven veils for Al Pacino.
9. The Martian
Character: Melissa Lewis
Chastain plays the Ares III mission commander who puts her entire crew in danger to turn around and pick up the botanist they assumed dead on Mars. It’s a gripping movie and shows she can easily share a screen with A-listers like Matt Damon in a box-office blockbuster and even steal scenes doing it.
8. The Help
Character: Celia Rae Foote
This 2011 period piece was widely acclaimed for showing how small-town Southern belles in 1960s Mississippi really acted. Chastain plays Celia, Minny’s (Octavia Spencer) employer after being fired by Hilly (Bryce Dallas Howard). The movie is praised for its plot about outing the terrible lives of working black women in the South but costar Viola Davis points out it’s not really about the maids, is it?
This 2008 drama was based on both a short story and a Dolly Parton song of the same name. It’s also the film debut of Chastain, a teenaged orphan who gets goes through a series of crazy relationships while discovering (or, rather, while everyone else does) her burgeoning sexuality.
6. The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby: Him/Her/Them
Character: Eleanor Rigby
Chastain teams with James McAvoy in a collection of three films that tell the same basic story from different perspectives. She plays a suicidal mother who lost her son, and it gets dark fast, if you can believe it.
Interstellar is as much of a sci-fi trip now as it was in 2014. NASA pilot Joseph Cooper (Matthew McConaughey) enters a wormhole with his crew and has to be rescued by his daughter (Chastain). The only thing is, time works like it does in Ant-Man’s quantum realm, so she ages a LOT faster.
Character: Charlotte Ormand
This 2006 Hallmark Channel mini-series cast Chastain as the daughter of a port-town Governor (Richard Chamberlain). She’s being simultaneously pursued by a local naval Lt. (Mark Umbers) and must also fned off the treasure-hunting pirate Blackbeard (Angus Macfadyen).
3. The Tree of Life
Character: Mrs. O’Brien
This epic experimental drama from writer/director Terrence Malick wowed Cannes audiences in 2011, winning the Palme d’Or and topping critic lists for the year. Chastain opens the film with a strong performance as the wife of 1960s Brad Pitt, struggling in flashbacks to raise the Sean Penn of modern day.
2. Zero Dark Thirty
Do you remember 9/11? Do you remember when Chastain played a fictional CIA intelligence analyst to frame the story of how we got back at Osama bin Laden and al Queda for it? That’s because this awesome movie got a ton of Academy Award and Golden Globes buzz and nominations for everyone involved.
1. Molly’s Game
Character: Molly Bloom
Molly Bloom is a real-life Olympic-level skier who also happened to get taken down by the FBI for running a massive underground poker tournament. Chastain plays her in this 2017 biopic, which also stars Idris Elba, Kevin Costner, and Michael Cera.