The photo gallery has been updated with HD screen captures from Jessica’s movie “AVA”. Enjoy!
Jessica Chastain is warming up her vocals for a rare TV gig: The film actress will star in Spectrum Originals’ limited series George & Tammy as the first lady of country music, Tammy Wynette.
The drama chronicles “the country music power couple, Wynette and George Jones, whose complicated relationship inspired some of the most iconic music of all time,” per the official synopsis.
Chastain — who will also serve as an exec producer on the series — is known for her work in movies like Zero Dark Thirty and Interstellar. She has also had small TV roles on Veronica Mars, Law & Order: Trial by Jury and The WB’s unaired Dark Shadows pilot.
After an almost five-month hiatus, many Hollywood productions are now starting to resume again after the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. But life on set doesn’t look how it used to: With social distancing measures and strict testing procedures in place, Hollywood’s new normal is about ensuring the cast and crew’s safety while maintaining the collaborative spirit of a film production.
Jessica Chastain has recently returned to set to shoot additional scenes for her upcoming spy thriller 355, in which she plays a CIA agent. The film, which is slated to be released in January 2021, is directed by Simon Kinberg and also stars Diane Kruger, Penélope Cruz, and Lupita Nyong’ o.
Production for the film in London restarted a couple of weeks ago. Though the additional scenes only required a few days of shooting, Chastain says going back to set proved to be a whole new experience. “We had a lot of protocol and protection to make sure that everyone going back to work would go home just as safe as they were when they arrived,” she says. (She has since returned to the East Coast, where she is currently quarantining with her grandmother: “My grandma and I work out together. We do this thing called Torch’d every morning.”)
Safety protocols began well before they even picked up shooting. “A month before traveling [to London], I started taking COVID tests—Universal started sending them to all of us,” she says. “We had a month of tests that were negative before we ever flew to the U.K. through LetsGetChecked, which was super easy.” (LetsGetChecked is currently the only FDA-approved at-home COVID-19 test that incorporates a nasal swab and has an out-of-pocket cost of $119; the supply of free universal testing in the U.S., meanwhile, continues to experience shortages.)
Once Chastain arrived in the U.K., further testing was done every morning before heading to set—and extra precautions were taken once on location as well, such as getting temperatures checked and everyone wearing masks. “Once we got on set, we were in quarantine bubbles,” she says. “Everyone was in different zones.” At night, everyone involved in the project would also answer an email form asking them about symptoms, and they would be assessed as safe to show up for work the following day or not.
Despite all the steps taken to ensure Hollywood sets are safe environments, certain aspects of being on location make staying six feet apart from each other unavoidable. For one, the hair, makeup, and wardrobe teams must get up close to the actors to do their jobs. “The hair and makeup trailer was a whole new experience,” Chastain says. “They did a great job keeping everyone safe and minimizing the time that a bunch of people are together in a small space.” There’s also the question of acting once the cameras start rolling; actors must interact with each other, touch each other—all without masks. But there were plans for that too, says Chastain. “With all the other actors that I was getting within six feet from, we were all quarantined together,” she says. “I felt very comfortable that we weren’t going to pass anything to each other.” During filming, many of the crew were also put in a separate room to watch scenes from a monitor.
Chastain says dealing with Hollywood’s new normal has been a learning curve, but that it wasn’t as scary or intimidating as she thought it would be. “I feel hopeful and excited about it,” she says. “Film productions become so huge—a lot of film is so much about spectacle. I’m excited to see it become, in some aspects, more intimate. I’m hearing from studios that they’re looking more at plays and developing films where it’s just two people in a room talking. A lot of the great films from the ’70s were about that—great dialogue between actors.”
EW reunited the Juilliard Drama School alumni with founding faculty member Moni Yakim, who is the subject of the new documentary, Creating a Character: The Moni Yakim Legacy.
What do Oscar Isaac, Kevin Kline, Anthony Mackie, Jessica Chastain, and Michael Urie all have in common?
Besides being great actors, they all studied at Juilliard Drama School under founding faculty member Moni Yakim, who is the subject of the new documentary, Creating a Character: The Moni Yakim Legacy, which is now available streaming in virtual cinemas. In honor of the documentary, which was produced by Kali Wilder, Alma Har’el, and Boaz Yakin, EW staged a virtual school reunion.
We gathered Isaac, Kline, Mackie, Chastain, Urie, Wilder, and Moni Yakim himself to reminisce about their time together at Juilliard, how the lessons they learned from Yakim continue to shape their work daily, and why they still consider him an invaluable resource when trying to hone performances in everything from projects like Inside Llewyn Davis to the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
“I have had a very parasitic relationship with Moni ever since coming out of school where I just any little trouble I have, which are many, I call Moni,” Isaac quipped. “One little thing can ignite Moni’s imagination, the eyes, the observation that you see and that ignites your passion and for me that’s been incredibly important, especially on those bigger movies, because it’s so easy to lose your curiosity in those situations and to take those things for granted and to feel like there’s not room for that.”
Kline summed up why all of the talent involved participated in the documentary and gathered for this roundtable. “I think teachers are, in general, under-celebrated and under-documented and should get a bit of focus now and then, especially when they’ve inspired a generation or two of performers,” he said. “What makes a gifted teacher gifted is curiosity — it’s that they have this gift of inspiring and I don’t know if it’s any more of a conscious effort than acting is for us.”
The reunion also serves as a fundraiser for the Black Arts Institute, which viewers can donate to here. Donations to the Billie Holiday Theatre for the Black Arts Institute supports students from across the country with partial or full scholarships to the program, which in partnership with The Stella Adler Studio of Acting, engages young theater artists annually. The Billie and Stella Adler Studio have joined arms to address voids that are still missing in many mainstream college and university theater programs and training programs: a curriculum and theater canon, a peer group, performance experiences, and administration and faculty that fully reflect the exquisite diversity of students of African descent.
During the roundtable, Yakim spoke specifically to his connections to famous acting teacher Stella Adler, while the others reflected on how to improve equity and diversity in theatrical training, an issue specifically addressed by the Black Arts Institute.
The action movie Ava which will premiere on September 25 of this year, finally released the official trailer, in addition to the poster (you can see it in the photo gallery).
The film stars Jessica Chastain as a deadly assassin who works for a black ops organization, traveling the globe specializing in high profile hits. When a job goes dangerously wrong she is forced to fight for her own survival.
Ava is directed by Tate Taylor and costars John Malkovich and Colin Farrell.
A Q&A with Moni Yakim and Jessica Chastain on Moni’s work as a movement instructor at Juilliard where he is a founding faculty member.
Moni Yakim has taught movement at Juilliard since 1968. A new film, or rather a documentary, titled “Creating a Character: The Moni Yakim Legacy” captures his impact on scores of actors. (Available via First Run Features)
“He’s not a coddler. He demands 100 percent of you,” says Jessica Chastain.
More details can be found here: Nytimes.com
The novel tells the story of DCI Jack Harper and BBC newsreader Anna Andrews, whose paths cross for the first time following their divorce when a woman is found murdered in their hometown. Anna is reluctant to cover the case and Jack becomes suspicious of her involvement, until he becomes a suspect in his own murder investigation.
Chastain and Kelly Carmichael will executive produce for Freckle Films, with Campo also serving as executive producer. No network or streaming service is currently attached.
This marks the second time one of Feeney’s novels has been optioned for television. Her debut work, “Sometimes I Lie,” is currently in development at Fox with producers Ellen DeGeneres and Warner Bros. Television and with Sarah Michelle Gellar attached to star.
“The last three years have been such a wonderful whirlwind and I’m still pinching myself,” Feeney said. “I’m so thrilled to be working with Jessica Chastain, Kristen Campo, and the team at Endeavor Content. I love what they have planned for ‘His & Hers,’ and I can’t wait to see Anna Andrews and Jack Harper brought to life on screen.”
Freckle Films is currently in post-production on the film “355,” a spy thriller based on an original idea by Chastain with the Oscar nominee also starring. The company is also producing Chastain’s “The Eyes of Tammy Faye,” based on the documentary of the same name. Other projects include “The Division” at Netflix and a series in development at ITV and Sony Television.
Campo’s recent producing credits include “The L Word: Generation Q” at Showtime and the Apple dramas “See” and “Truth Be Told.”
The book rights were repped by ICM Partners, as well as Luke Speed of Curtis Brown on behalf of Jonny Geller of Curtis Brown. Freckle Films is repped by CAA. Campo is repped by WME.
An Emilia Clarke-fronted production of “The Seagull” and the Jessica Chastain-starring “A Doll’s House” have been postponed, though both actors are to return for rescheduled dates.
Producer The Jamie Lloyd Company — a partnership between Ambassador Theatre Group (ATG) and artistic director Jamie Lloyd — revealed Thursday that due to the ongoing lockdown for all U.K. theater venues, Anya Reiss’ adaptation of Anton Chekhov’s “The Seagull“ and Frank McGuinness’s version of Henrik Ibsen’s “A Doll’s House” are now postponed indefinitely.
“The Seagull” was slated to run at the Playhouse Theatre from March 11 to May 30, while “A Doll’s House” was also scheduled at the Playhouse from June 10 to Sep. 5.
The Jamie Lloyd Company has said, however, that when the season reopens, Clarke will reprise her role as Nina, while Chastain has also committed to lead “A Doll’s House.”
The U.K.’s theater sector has been decimated by the coronavirus lockdown, and all venues across the country have now been shuttered for 11 weeks. The government has said the sector will be among the last to restart, with a target of July 4 set to begin reopening venues.
Lloyd said of the postponements of “The Seagull” and “A Doll’s House”: “This is, of course, an incredibly challenging time for everyone, but we are looking forward to presenting our season to audiences in the future. I’m thrilled that Emilia Clarke and Jessica Chastain will lead ‘The Seagull’ and ‘A Doll’s House’ as soon as we can get back into the theater.