After Zero Dark Thirty and The Help, we don’t need any more reasons to love Jessica Chastain, but she’s giving us another one anyway.
On a press tour for The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby, Chastain decided to speak out on the dearth of female protagonists in the movies.
In an interview with TheWrap, she asked rhetorically, “Where is the Scarlett Johansson superhero movie? I don’t understand it, why is it taking so long for this? … This woman clearly shows that people want to go see her in the movies. Lucy, didn’t it beat Hercules by a lot opening weekend, when it was made for a lot less? She shows that she kicks ass, she’s a great actress. Under the Skin is an incredible film, and why are we still waiting for a go-ahead on a superhero movie starring Scarlett Johansson?”
“To me, it’s a no-brainer,” Chastain said. “You want to make money, put Scarlett Johansson in a superhero movie!”
The Oscar nominee wielded her power and asked for a more complex female character when approached for Eleanor Rigby, a drama about a married couple in an increasingly troubled marriage. Writer-director Ned Benson’s film was originally conceived from a male POV (eventually subtitled “Him”), and Chastain’s request resulted in a different version of the film from a female POV (“Her”), as well as a third cut that incorporates both their points of view (“Them”).
Chastain’s alluded to the instiutional sexism in studio filmmaking and the Bechdel test when speaking of Eleanor Rigby, saying, “It’s a fact, the majority of films in Hollywood are from the male perspective…. And the female characters, very rarely do they get to speak to another female character in a movie, and when they do it’s usually about a guy, not anything else. So they’re very male-centric, Hollywood films, in general. So I think it’s incredible that Ned Benson, when I said I’d love to know where she goes, says okay, I’m going to write another film from the female perspective.”
Eleanor Rigby: Them will be released September 12, with the Him and Her cuts to follow on October 10. Chastain will also appear later this year in Miss Julie (TIFF 2014), Interstellar, and A Most Violent Year.