Jessica Chastain on Not Acting Vulnerable in ‘Zero Dark Thirty’

Google+ Pinterest LinkedIn Tumblr +

jessica-chastain-zero-dark-thirtyI don’t think any actress has had the rapid career trajectory of Jessica Chastain — in 2010 she was a virtual unknown, and in a few weeks she will likely be nominated for an Oscar for the second consecutive year.  She’s already been nominated for many other awards for Zero Dark Thirty, in which she stars as a CIA operative named Maya who was instrumental in locating Osama bin Laden’s hiding place. vulnerable

In a conversation with The Hollywood Reporter, Chastain spoke about the difficulties of playing an individual with such a stoic nature and whose real-life identity remains unknown.

The film opens with a scene in which a member of al-Qaida is waterboarded and abused in order to reveal information.  Chastain’s character is in the scene observing the interrogation. 

She reveals, “It was really difficult to film even though, of course, we’re acting.  But we filmed it in an active Jordanian prison. The energy wasn’t the best in that place. I’m playing a woman who’s trained to be unemotional and analytically precise. I’ve been trained my whole life to be emotional and to let all my walls down and be very vulnerable. So to put myself in a situation like that, it’s like I have to not follow my instincts — and my instincts, it seemed like that would be to cry. So I had to then show her discomfort, but to go back to her training of being unemotional.”

Though Chastain plays a real-life operative, because she works for the CIA and her identity must remain secret Chastain never got to meet the person her character is based on.  She was therefore able to create a lot of her character’s personality.  She explains, “Anything I couldn’t find in the research about Maya, I then used my imagination to create.  Like silly things, like what her favorite candy in America would be. You know the scene where I’m wearing the robe and I’m eating candy? Stuff like that, so I could answer questions. I also had to create a backstory. You see in the movie, you see there’s a drawing by a child. You see postcards. All these things that I had created from this history of this woman that would make sense and go along with the research I had made of her.”

Share.

About Author

In college, overachiever Christopher McKittrick double-majored in Film and English because he loves to read, write, and watch movies. Since then Chris – who was born and raised on Long Island, New York and currently lives in Queens – has become a published author of fiction and non-fiction, a contributor to entertainment websites, and has spoken about literature, film, and comic books at various conferences across the country when he’s not getting into trouble in New York City (apparently it’s illegal to sleep on street corners...)For more information about Chris, visit his website here!

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.