Jessica Chastain at the premiere of Zero Dark Thirty at the Ritz Carlton Hotel in New York City, New York, December 4, 2012. Photo by Cindy Ord
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Jessica Chastain
Forecourt Ceremony held on Wednesday, November 3, 2016
 
Born: March 24, 1977, in Sacramento, California
Age at the time of the ceremony: 39
 
Jessica Chastain has emerged as one of the more committed and serious actors of her generation. Aside from an aversion to comedies, Chastain has appeared in a rather wide range of dramatic films, each of which receives Chastain's full attention and research.

Born to teenaged parents, Jessica Chastain is estranged from her father, musician Michael Monasterio. Jessica was raised in Sacramento by her mother Renee, and stepfather Michael Hastey, who is a firefighter.

After seeing a production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat when she was seven, Jessica wanted to be on the stage, putting on shows around the house with her friends. Not a particularly good student, Chastain was a loner and found acceptance in the performing arts. In 1996, she attended Sacremento Community College and was on the debate team.

She attended the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York, and played Juliet in Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet. She auditioned for the Julliard School in New York and was accepted and got a scholarship funded by Robin Williams. Always fearing that she would get bounced out, a production of The Seagull gave her some much-needed confidence. She graduated with a BFA in 2003.

Playing Anya in a production of The Cherry Orchard brought her to the attention of Al Pacino, who cast the young player in his production of Oscar Wilde's Solomé, which was staged in Los Angeles. Casting directors came a-calling. Chastain guested on an episode of ER with Noah Wyle, aired over NBC in February 2004, then played Carolyn Stoddard in a TV movie version of Dark Shadows with Marley Shelton, aired over The WB in July 2005. She played Charlotte Ormand in Blackbeard with Angus Macfadyen in the title role, aired over The Hallmark Channel in June 2006.

Chastain made her film debut in the title role in Jolene (released in June 2008) with Francis Fisher. She had a small role as Sally Ann in Stolen (released in October 2009) with Jon Hamm. For director Ralph Fiennes, who played the title role, Chastain took the role of Vitgilia in Coriolanus (released in December 2011) with Gerard Butler as Tullus Aufidius.

Chastain was chosen by director Terrence Malik to play Mrs. O'Brien in The Tree of Life (released in May 2011) with Brad Pitt. The picture won the Palm d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival. Not bad at all. Next she played Celia Foote in The Help (released in August 2011) with Viola Davis. Chastain appeared as Pam Stall in Texas Killing Fields (released in September 2011) with Sam Worthington, but the film got panned and made zero bucks.

Al Pacino took documentary footage of his and Chastain's work on their production of Salomé and released it as Wilde Salomé (released in September 2011). Pacino would take film of the actual stage performance and turn it into a feature (see below).

For DreamWorks Animation, she did the voice of Gia in Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted (released in June 2012) with Ben Stiller, and played Maggie Beaufort in the bootlegger drama Lawless (released in August 2012) with Tom Hardy.

Finally, for director Kathryn Bigelow, Chastain got a part she could really sink her teeth in: CIA analyst Maya in Zero Dark Thirty (released in December 2012) with Joel Edgerton. The film was a moderate hit, and brought Chastain a lot of critical plaudits.

Chastain took the title role of Mama (released in Janaury 2013) with Nikolaj Coster-Waldau,
then, she appeared in title role in Al Pacino's staging of Oscar Wilde's Salomé (released in August 2013) with Kevin Anderson as John the Baptist.

For director Liv Ullman, Chastain took the title role in a film of August Strinberg's Miss Julie (released in September 2014) with Colin Farrell. While filming, Chastain received a script from director Christopher Nolan, who wanted her to play the older version of "Murph" a key character in his Interstellar (which played the Chinese in November 2014) with Matthew McConaughey.

She played a nouveau riche wife with a Brooklyn honk in A Most Violent Year (released in December 2014) with Oscar Isaac, then returned to science fiction as NASA commander Melissa Lewis for director Ridley Scott in The Martian (which played the Chinese in October 2015) with Matt Damon.

For director Guillermo del Toro, Chastain played an evil sister-in-law in Crimson Peak (which played the Chinese in October 2015) with Mia Wasikowska, then played a polictical lobbyist in Miss Slone (released in December 2016) with Mark Strong. She starred in and was one of the executive producers on The Zookeeper's Wife (released in April 2017) with Johan Heldenbergh.

Chastain played professional gambler Molly Bloom for director Aaron Sorkin in Molly's Game (released in December 2017) with Idris Elba, then played an advisor to Native Americans in A Woman Walks Ahead (released in September 2017) with Louisa Krause. Chastain played the Big, Bad, Nasty leader of the D'Bari named Vuk in Dark Phoenix (which played the Chinese in June 2019) with Jennifer Lawrence.
 
 
Caption TK
TCL Chinese Theatre IMAX®, Hollywood, California. Jessica Chastain Forecourt ceremony, Thursday, November 3, 2016. Jessica Chastain gives a surprisingly good movie-star pose after signing her name in the wet cement.
 
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