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Shooting “Scenes From a Marriage”: ‘I Cried Every Day’

There were days on the shoot for “Scenes From a Marriage,” a five-episode limited series that premieres Sept. 12 on HBO, when Oscar Isaac resented the crew.

The problem wasn’t the crew members themselves, he told me on a video call in March. But the work required of him and his co-star, Jessica Chastain, was so unsparingly intimate — “And difficult!” Chastain added from a neighboring Zoom window — that every time a camera operator or a makeup artist appeared, it felt like an intrusion.

On his other projects, Isaac had felt comfortably distant from the characters and their circumstances — interplanetary intrigue, rogue A.I. But “Scenes” surveys monogamy and parenthood, familiar territory. Sometimes Isaac would film a bedtime scene with his onscreen child (Lily Jane) and then go home and tuck his own child into the same model of bed as the one used on set, accessorized with the same bunny lamp, and not know exactly where art ended and life began.

“It was just a lot,” he said.

Chastain agreed, though she put it more strongly. “I mean, I cried every day for four months,” she said.

Isaac, 42, and Chastain, 44, have known each other since their days at the Juilliard School. And they have channeled two decades of friendship, admiration and a shared and obsessional devotion to craft into what Michael Ellenberg, one of the series’s executive producers, called “five hours of naked, raw performance.” (That nudity is metaphorical, mostly.)

“For me it definitely felt incredibly personal,” Chastain said on the call in the spring, about a month after filming had ended. “That’s why I don’t know if I have another one like this in me. Yeah, I can’t decide that. I can’t even talk about it without. …” She turned away from the screen. (It was one of several times during the call that I felt as if I were intruding, too.)

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Jessica Chastain Believes In Fashion Rebellion

The actress and L’OFFICIEL Fall 2021 global coverstar tells us about her favorite decade in fashion and defying style expectations.

As the coverstar of L’OFFICIEL’s Centennial Issue, Jessica Chastain knows a thing or two about fashion history. In one of her most recent roles, she morphs into the infamous televangelist Tammy Faye Bakker, complete with the glitzy, shoulder-padded garb of the 1980s. But her personal favorite era in fashion comes 40 years earlier when the precursor to the ’80s power suit was just beginning to infiltrate women’s fashion. In this exclusive video, the actress shares why she’s attracted to style rebellion and what other changes society has seen because of it.

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Jessica Chastain Visits “Today Show”

Actors Jessica Chastain and Oscar Isaac star in HBO’s, “Scenes from a Marriage,” and their recent red carpet moment of Isaac kissing the inside of her elbow went viral. She explains what actually happened and what to expect from the series.

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New York Fashion Week

Every year, New York Fashion Week brings together major Hollywood celebrities and the top names in the fashion industry for a celebration of art, culture, and style. During this year’s Spring/Summer 2022 shows, the return of in-person runways also means the return of glamourous events with all-star guest lists.

One such event is L’OFFICIEL’s NYFW gathering at the posh Times Square Edition to celebrate the magazine’s 100th anniversary as well as the launch of its Fall 2021 issue with Jessica Chastain as the honored guest.

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Jessica Chastain Covers L’OFFICIEL’s Centennial Issue

Despite the close attention it’s paid on the red carpet, fashion, for a celebrity, is typically fairly disconnected from a star’s real interior world. For the chameleonic actor Jessica Chastain, though, fashion is elemental: a true pleasure that is both a vehicle for self-expression and an opportunity for inward expansion. Fashion is like music, she says one morning this summer. It’s an art that doubles as a tool she can use. “It constantly makes me feel different things,” she says. “It opens up other parts of myself.” It’s this perspective—along with the kind of exquisite bone structure that belongs as much in Old Hollywood as it does new—that made Chastain the natural choice to pose in decades-spanning designs for the Centennial Issue of L’OFFICIEL.

Anniversaries were on her mind, too, when Chastain spoke to the magazine. It was a few days after she’d returned from Cannes, a full 10 years after her debut there with Terrence Malick’s The Tree of Life. “My career in cinema is a decade old now, which is shocking,” she says, though that’s really only true in the sense that she’s managed to build one so rich and interesting in such a relatively short period of time. If you need an idea of the actor’s range, consider the two projects she has premiering this month: Michael Showalter’s biopic The Eyes of Tammy Faye, in which Chastain transformed into the emotive, scandal-plagued evangelist, and Hagai Levi’s present-day reprise of Ingmar Bergman’s 1973 two-hander Scenes from a Marriage for HBO, in which the roles of the husband and wife have been flipped.

Chastain speaks with L’OFFICIEL about conquering her fears, her deep feeling for fashion, and what keeps her striving forward—both as a champion of equal rights for women in and out of Hollywood and as an artist.

L’OFFICIEL: I watched the first two episodes of Scenes from a Marriage available to reviewers, and The Eyes of Tammy Faye, and congratulations on both really tremendous—and incredibly different—projects and performances. What attracts you to a role?

JESSICA CHASTAIN: Well, it depends. Sometimes what attracts me to a role is who I’m working with. Oftentimes it’s if the role is something I’ve never done before and feels challenging. But always what attracts me to a role is feeling like I’m putting something positive out into the world. It may not be a nice person I’m playing, but positive in terms of breaking gender stereotypes or pushing a conversation forward. I always ask myself, “What am I putting out in the world? Am I contributing to society?”

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Jessica Chastain & Oscar Isaac On Portraying The Intensity & Intimacy Of ‘Scenes From A Marriage’: “Bourbon Helped”

Deadline — Oscar Isaac and Jessica Chastain spoke this morning about some of the challenges behind new TV drama Scenes From A Marriage which is debuting at the Venice Film Festival.

Adapted from Ingmar Bergman’s lauded 1973 Swedish miniseries, the HBO mini-series re-examines Bergman’s iconic depiction of love, hatred, desire, monogamy, marriage and divorce through the lens of a contemporary American couple. Chastain plays Mira, a confident, ambitious tech executive left unfulfilled by her marriage. Isaac is Jonathan, a cerebral and accommodating philosophy professor desperate to keep their relationship intact.

The new drama heralds from acclaimed Israeli TV writer-director Hagai Levi, known for series including In TreatmentThe Affair and Our Boys.

Chastain admitted that the project was an intense one to make: “It felt incredibly exposing”, she said. “It was hard to go home and leave it at work. Part of myself was in it.” Continue reading Jessica Chastain & Oscar Isaac On Portraying The Intensity & Intimacy Of ‘Scenes From A Marriage’: “Bourbon Helped”

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Jessica Chastain and real-life pal Oscar Isaac redo Bergman

CTV News — Jessica Chastain has been friends with Oscar Isaac since their Julliard days but says it was “a blessing and a curse” to play his wife in a remake of Ingmar Bergman’s classic “Scenes From a Marriage,” which premiered Saturday at the Venice Film Festival.

It was a blessing because they didn’t need to get to know one another and could be brutally honest with one another. But it was also a curse because they couldn’t take a break from their togetherness and got to the point “where we were reading each others minds!”

“So I was like ‘Get out of my head!”‘ Chastain told reporters ahead of the premiere. “I felt on this job that there was no quiet time.”

The project was an intense one, reimagining in a contemporary American context the unravelling of a marriage depicted in Bergman’s 1973 Swedish television miniseries that starred Bergman’s longtime partner, Liv Ullmann. In this five-episode HBO series directed by Hagai Levi, the gender roles are essentially flipped and the circumstances brought up-to-date.

Isaac, who has two other movies showing at Venice, agreed that their close friendship posed “its own challenges” when filming such an inherently fraught projectm since “you care about the person so much.”

The two, who starred together in the 2014 “A Most Violent Year,”‘ used an intimacy coordinator and lots of talking to map out the bedroom scenes to make sure both were comfortable.

Isaac, who noted that their children are together in the same play group, said he and Chastain also watched films together to try to figure out how to represent the sexual side of their relationship to make it seem truthful without going overboard.

“There are so many times you don’t buy it, and then it can get too gratuitous and you don’t really buy that either,” Isaac said.

Chastain said she appreciated talking through the characters and mapping out their relationship ahead of time.

“I would still get embarrassed, so bourbon helped a lot,” Chastain said, giggling. “But the level of trust was high.”

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Venice International Film Festival: Scenes From A Marriage

Yesterday, September 5, Jessica was again at the 78th Venice Film Festival to attend the screening of episodes 3, 4, & 5 of “Scenes From A Marriage”. Check and enjoy all the images in the gallery.

Filed Appearances & Events

Venice International Film Festival: Scenes From A Marriage

Yesterday, September 4, Jessica attended the photocall and press conference for her new television series “Scenes From A Marriage” during the 78th Venice International Film Festival. Then with a new look, she attended the screening of episodes 1 & 2 of “Scenes From A Marriage”. You can see all the photos in the gallery. I hope to add more soon.