Jessica Chastain leaves no stone unturned. She’s got quite a few things coming up: she’s a warrior opposite Charlize Theron and Emily Blunt in “The Huntsman: Winter’s War,” she recently shot “The Zookeeper’s Wife” in Prague and now she’s in talks to do Susanna White’s “Woman Walks Ahead” and Aaron Sorkin’s feature debut “Molly’s Game.”
While shooting John Madden’s Washington lobbyist drama “Miss Sloane,” Chastain dropped the news that she is launching her own production company, Freckle Films. (@jes_chastain recently tweeted: “Nothing but my freckles. At least I’ll be on time,” about her Piaget photo, above.) Chastain joins the likes of Entertainment Weekly cover subjects Reese Witherspoon (“Gone Girl,” “Wild”) and Elizabeth Banks (“Pitch Perfect 2”) as an actress unwilling to rely just on the projects studios offer. Famously, she starred in Kathryn Bigelow’s “Zero Dark Thirty” as a CIA agent smarter than the men in the room who was not defined by her relationships, but by her work. In ‘Interstellar” she played a brainy scientist who was written for a man (Topher Grace admitted to feeling like he was playing the girl part), and in “The Martian” she’s the captain who leaves her astronaut stranded on Mars and then risks her life to save him.
Chastain will be president of the new company, working with development executive Elise Siegel. Chastain is not just doing this just for herself, she wrote me:
“I really enjoyed producing ‘Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby’ and I wanted to do more. A week after my speech at the Critics’ Choice last year about diversity, I was doing press in London for ‘A Most Violent Year’ and they were asking me what I was doing to create more opportunities for others. It really got me thinking. I put it out to my agents [at CAA] that I wanted to create a production company. I was very happy when I heard Maven wanted to get involved. I’m developing projects that celebrate many different voices and points of view. I didn’t start the company to only create more opportunities for me. I’ve been very lucky in the work I get to do. I want to celebrate artists that we don’t get to hear from. I want to learn about the world around me and hopefully Freckle Films will help nurture that.”
Freckle Films is starting off with financing via a first look overhead deal with Trudie Styler (“Still Alice”) and “The Kids Are All Right” producer Celine Rattray’s Maven Pictures. They have already optioned two books with Freckle: Greer Macallister’s “The Magician’s Lie” and Camille Pagan’s “Life and Other Near-Death Experiences.”