14 Things You Probably Never Knew About Jessica Chastain (But Should)
by Jennifer Lafferty
It took Jessica Chastain a little longer than some actresses to really break through in motion pictures, but she is now one of the busiest stars in Hollywood. She may be a familiar face to moviegoers, but Chastain has remained something of a mystery, partly because of her rather private personal life. Here are 14 enlightening facts about the elusive Jessica Chastain.
Scholarship Sponsored by Robin Williams
The late Robin Williams played a key role in Jessica Chastain’s career. Williams sponsored her scholarship, among others, to his alma mater, Juilliard, where she earned a BFA in drama and became the first college graduate in her family.
Interest in Acting was Peaked by Her Grandmother
Chastain was bitten by the acting bug at age seven when her grandmother took her to a production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. Grandma was later rewarded when Chastain took her to the Oscars in 2012 and 2013.
Before she was an actress, Chastain appeared to be a promising dancer and belonged to a dance troupe by age 13. Her future acting career took root in high school while performing in a professional theater company.
Dated Filmmaker Ned Benson
Jessica Chastain was in a long-term romantic relationship with filmmaker Ned Benson, who directed her in The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby, which he also wrote and produced. The romantic drama was Benson’s feature film debut.
Roomed With Michelle Williams
Michelle Williams is a good friend of Chastain’s and the actresses were actually roommates at one point. Interestingly, Williams and Chastain were both nominated for Oscars in 2012 but in different categories.
Unconventional Looks Have Impacted Her Career
According to Chastain, her red hair and non-contemporary looks held her back, because she was difficult to cast. The actress even considered bleaching her hair blonde, but her talent eventually led to success.
Her looks may be unique but Chastain is very attractive and her smile is one of her best features. In 2012, the Victoria’s Secret “What Is Sexy” list dubbed her Sexiest Smile, and in 2013, they named her Sexiest Actress.
Currently Dating a Fashion Executive
She’s been dating Italian fashion executive Gian Luca Passi de Preposulo, who works at Moncler, for four years. The very private Chastain avoids dating other celebrities, because she doesn’t want to be under a magnifying glass.
Could She Be the Next Bond Villain?
Many young female celebs dream of being cast as a Bond girl but not Jessica Chastain. Viewing herself as an actress as opposed to a movie star, she aspires to play a Bond villain.
Chastain is known to go the extra mile, like learning to speak German for the 2010 drama thriller The Debt. She also speaks a little French but supposedly not well enough to do a French film.
Has Always Impressed the Big Shots
A number of Hollywood heavyweights recognized her potential early on, with ER producer John Wells signing her to a deal while she was at Juilliard, and Al Pacino handpicking her to co-star with him in Wilde Salome.
Idolizes Serious Actresses
Chastain idolizes several serious and highly acclaimed actresses including Cate Blanchett, Tilda Swinton, Emily Watson, Julianne Moore and Marion Cotillard. She had the opportunity to interview Cotillard for Elle’s 2013 Women in Hollywood issue.
In 2014, the actress revealed that she was involved with the mental health non-profit To Write Love on Her Arms. Her association with the outreach organization was prompted by the suicide of Chastain’s younger sister.
Fifteen Movies in Three Years
During a period of three short years, 2011 through 2014, Jessica Chastain appeared in a total of 15 movies. Not bad for an actress who didn’t make her feature film debut until she was over 30.