Entertainment Celebrity ‘I’m in control of my body’: Jessica Chastain lays down the law

‘I’m in control of my body’: Jessica Chastain lays down the law

Click play to watch our video review of Jessica Chastain's new movie, Molly's Game.
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Movie star Jessica Chastain is cheery as she chats to The New Daily over the phone from Sydney, where she’s briefly paused on a global tour promoting her latest film, Molly’s Game.  

The two-time Oscar nominee is speaking about a recent headline she unwittingly generated.

A few days earlier, her friend and co-star Octavia Spencer revealed during a panel discussion at the Sundance Film Festival that Chastain selflessly fought for her and Jada Pinkett Smith to receive the same pay for a comedy film they’d all signed up for.

“Octavia texted me after, going, ‘I hope you don’t mind’,” Chastain says, laughing.

“I’m very pleased that we were able to work together to ensure that she is paid fairly, but I do think it’s important that when these stories come out, it doesn’t go, ‘Ok, Jessica did this and now Octavia is paid fairly’.

“Instead the focus needs to be, why was she not paid fairly to begin with?”

jessica chastain husband
Chastain married her Italian husband (pictured) in June 2017. Photo: Instagram

The 40-year-old is famously headstrong. When paparazzi invaded the no-fly zone over her wedding to Italian fashion executive Gian Luca Passi de Preposulo in Treviso last year, she tweeted her 690,000 followers asking them not to share the images.

“Every time I see them I’m reminded of the insensitivity of that moment,” she tweeted. “I promise that I will share pics with you in the future, but I would prefer to share photos that celebrate love, not intrusion.”

Amid a flurry of disturbing allegations against disgraced movie mogul Harvey Weinstein, Chastain shared her own unfortunate dealings with the former power player – which happily had a far more positive outcome than many of her peers.

While distributing The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby, Weinstein apparently tried to bully its star Chastain into wearing his soon-to-be-ex-wife Georgina Chapman’s fashion label, Marchesa, to the premiere.

Chastain would not stand for it. Opting instead for an electric blue Atelier Versace gown, she told the Wall Street Journal Weinstein mocked her resistance to his demands.

jessica chastain
Jessica Chastain in the Atelier Versace dress she wore to the Cannes premiere of The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby, against Harvey Weinstein’s best wishes. Photo: Getty

“He actually told the audience, ‘If I had to get in a boxing ring with Muhammad Ali or Jessica Chastain, I would choose Muhammad Ali’,” she revealed.

Regularly styled by Elizabeth Stewart, this desire to be in control extends to every red carpet appearance she makes. “To be quite honest with you, I actually really love fashion,” Chastain admits.

“A major perk of this industry is that I get the opportunity to wear beautiful designs from so many talented artists.”

In Molly’s Game, Chastain’s on-screen wardrobe is all skin, sparkles and more skin. Cleavage is almost compulsory. Off-screen, “I will say I don’t feel any pressure to show my body in a certain way”, she says.

“I feel absolutely 100 per cent in control of my body and I’m not following rules from anyone dictating to me what I need to look like.”

In that sense, she’s not unlike Molly Bloom, the real-life US Olympic skier-turned-card game host she plays in Molly’s Game, who balanced sex appeal with business smarts to avoid being taken advantage of in a male-dominated world.

“Very early on in the film Molly’s boss says to her, ‘ugly shoes, ugly dress’, and then she goes out and changes everything about the way she looks,” Chastain says.

“The film acknowledges that women are valued not for what they say, but for the way they look and whether or not they are sexually desirable for men.”

As Molly Bloom, Chastain sports mini skirts and plunging necklines, while in real-life she favours floor-sweeping couture gowns for the red carpet, and snappy tailored pants and silk shirts for off-duty dressing. Photo: Entertainment One

Chastain admires the real Bloom’s resilience. “Every time she made a mistake, every time she fell down, she got right back up. And I think that’s a quality that’s really important in people, to understand that we learn the most from failure.”

She’s also thankful for the opportunity to work with The West Wing screenwriter Aaron Sorkin in his directorial debut, handling his famously wordy dialogue with ease.

“He has a lot of power in Hollywood, and the fact that he wanted to tell this story with a female protagonist that explores the patriarchy, it meant so much to me.”

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