Jessica Chastain Bio: In Her Own Words – Video Exclusive, News, Photos
Jessica Chastain Biography
Jessica Chastain was reportedly born Jessica Michelle Howard on March 24, 1977 to Jerri Chastain and purportedly Michael Monasterio, though Chastain has said there is no father listed on her birth certificate. Monasterio left while Chastain and her sister, Juliet, were young. He and Jerri were 17 and 16, respectively, when Chastain was born.
Chastain grew up with her mother and stepfather, Michael Hastey, as her parental figures – she rarely acknowledged Monasterio, who died in 2013 while she was promoting Zero Dark Thirty. Chastain has two half-sisters, Laci Smoot and Nicole Monasterio. Juliet committed suicide in 2003.
Chastain developed a love of acting at a young age, when her grandmother took her to a performance of Joseph And The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. She began dancing at the age of 9 and made her acting debut at 13 in Shakespeare productions, taking on her mother’s maiden name (Chastain) as her own. Chastain spent many of her adolescent years performing, a regular in local productions and school plays. Chastain attended El Camino High School and Sacramento City College growing up. After she graduated, she wanted to continue her pursuit of acting and so applied to the prestigious art school Juilliard.
Chastain attended Juilliard from 1999-2003 as a member of the Drama Division’s Group 32 with friends Michael Urie and Jess Weixler. She received a scholarship through former student Robin Williams. While there, she performed in such plays as The Grapes Of Wrath and As You Like It. Just before her graduation in 2003, she attended a Los Angeles showcase for final year students and was signed by TV producer John Wells. After graduation, she moved to Venice Beach and struggled to get auditions. She blamed her lack of roles on having red hair and unconventional looks.
Jessica Chastain Bio: TV And Movies Roles
Among Chastain’s first roles were guest spots on ER and Veronica Mars. Her first starring role was in an unaired pilot of the soap opera remake Dark Shadows. The WB passed on the show, however, and so Chastain lost her role. She continued on to guest on other popular shows such as Law & Order: Trial By Jury, Close To Home, The Evidence and Journeyman. She also appeared in the television movie Blackbeard.
Chastain made her film debut in the 2008 film Jolene. She took on the titular character, a foster child who faces a difficult life. The movie received mixed reviews by critics, but Chastain’s performance was highly praised. Chastain went on to act in a number of other films, including Stolen, Coriolanus, Wilde Salome – for which Al Pacino specifically chose her – and The Tree Of Life.
Jessica Chastain Bio: ‘The Debt’
In The Debt, Chastain’s character was a young Mossad agent. She talked to Uinterview exclusively about how she prepared for the role. “Four months before we started shooting, I kind of put myself though course in a way,” Chastain said. “I took beginner’s German at Berlitz. I had a German coach. I took Krav Maga three times a week for four months to learn the hand-to-hand combat. I read a lot about the Holocaust and the medical experiments, the specifics of that. I read about Mengele, Nazi doctor. And I also read about the Mossad, how it came to be in different missions that they had gone on. It was a very intense training.”
Chastain told Uinterview about what it was like working with Dame Helen Mirren as her younger counterpart. “I wish we had scenes together,” Chastain told Uinterview exclusively. “The great thing about playing the same role as someone is that we got to rehearse together. So we met twice and talked about the character of Rachel.”
While Chastain enjoyed working with Mirren, whom she admires, what she loved more was getting to know her. “I just think she’s rad,” Chastain told Uinterview. “She’s the perfect combination of being a dame and a broad. She’s like the coolest. And when meeting her I realized she comes from the theater she started at the Royal Shakespeare Company, and she’s able to go back and forth, and we had a very similar vocabulary, which was great.”
Jessica Chastain ‘The Help’ And Awards
Chastain became well known following her costarring role in the acclaimed film The Help, which also starred Emma Stone, Viola Davis, Bryce Dallas Howard, Octavia Spencer and Allison Janney. She was nominated for many awards for her role as the sweet and naïve Celia Foote, and won a number of them. She received the Detroit Film Critics Society, New York Film Critics Online and Hollywood Film Festival Awards for Breakthrough Performance. She also won the New York Film Critics Circle, Vancouver Film Critics Circle and Los Angeles Film Critics Association Awards for Best Supporting Actress. Chastain was also included in the many awards the cast won for Best Ensemble. She was nominated for an Academy Award as well, but lost to costar Spencer.
Chastain continued working as film actress for the next few years, earning prominent roles in films like Texas Killing Fields, Lawless, Tar, Mama and Zero Dark Thirty, the latter of which earned her an Academy Award nomination in 2013 for Best Actress. She was originally cast in the films Iron Man 3, Diana and Oblivion, but dropped out of the films due to scheduling conflicts.
Though Chastain lost the Oscar to Jennifer Lawrence in 2013, she won other awards for her take on Maya in Zero Dark Thirty. She won the Critics Choice Award, Golden Globe and the National Board Of Review awards for Best Actress. Chastain won numerous Best Supporting Actress awards for her roles in Coriolanus, Take Shelter, The Tree of Life, Texas Killing Fields and The Debt.
Chastain joined the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in 2012. She was the face of the Yves Saint Laurent fragrance Manifesto.
Jessica Chastain Bio: Dating And Personal Life
Chastain tends to keep her personal life private. She is currently dating Italian Moncler executive Gian Luca Passi de Preposulo. Chastain is rumored to have dated Tom Hiddleston in the past.
Chastain plays the ukulele, is a yoga devotee and is vegan for moral reasons. In 2012 she was named one of Time’s 100 Most Influential People and PETA’s sexiest vegetarian. She has cited The Sopranos as her favorite television show and The English Patient as her favorite movie. She lives in Manhattan with Chaplin, her three-legged dog.
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