Jessica Chastain at the 2021 Venice Film Festival
Film star Jessica Chastain, an outspoken advocate for gender equality in Hollywood, says women should never be made to feel guilty about being more successful than their partner.
The Zero Dark Thirty actress is even convinced that ‘some men find it sexy’ when a woman has a bigger pay packet.
‘Well — my own husband!’ she told me, citing her partner, fashion and vineyard executive Gian Luca Passi de Preposulo. ‘I wouldn’t be with a man who didn’t celebrate it,’ she added.
‘It’s a modern thing now with women in the workforce and their earning power, and people valuing us for what we can do. It’s very important to be around men who celebrate that.’
We were chatting following screenings of the five-part HBO television series Scenes From A Marriage, in which Chastain and Oscar Isaac play a couple — Mira and Jonathan — who, when we first meet them, are participating in a research session focusing on partnerships where the woman is the primary provider.
Mira is vice president of a multi-national tech company who makes a ton of money. Jonathan earns far less as an academic. ‘She doesn’t want to emasculate her husband, because she can feel that he’s uncomfortable with it, so she allows him to be king of the home,’ the Oscar-nominated actress explained.
‘He’s always blocking her, in terms of relations with her daughter. Mira mutes herself to make him feel OK.’
The drama, based on Ingmar Bergman’s 1974 film of the same name, an acknowledged masterpiece starring Liv Ullmann and Erland Josephson, will be shown in the UK next month on Sky Atlantic and NOW.
Jessica Chastain and Oscar Isaac on the red carpet for Scenes From A Marriage
Jessica Chastain on the red carpet for Competencia Oficial in Venice
Chastain, whose film credits include The Help and Interstellar, said the programme was ‘super raw’ to shoot.
‘It’s so painful.’ If, by the way, you do choose to watch Bergman’s original, you’ll notice that certain aspects have been flipped, in terms of gender.
Even though Scenes From A Marriage examines what Mira describes as the ‘delicate equilibrium’ of marriage, Chastain’s ultimately hopeful for the institution.
‘I found it a love story about pushing against what society says is a relationship; or what love has to look like.
Isaac and Chastain in Scenes From A Marriage
‘I see it as two individuals choosing love for the pure sake of wanting to give it, not because you own someone.’
Showing episodes from prestige TV shows has become popular at film festivals. For instance, the new season of Succession will be shown at the British Film Institute’s London Film Festival in October.
After Venice, Chastain and her husband scooted over to the Toronto International Film Festival, where two of her pictures — The Eyes Of Tammy Faye (with Andrew Garfield) and The Forgiven (with Ralph Fiennes ) — are being shown.
She said that in November, she’ll start filming a TV series called George And Tammy, with Michael Shannon, about country music legends George Jones and Tammy Wynette.
Liverpool will soon be humming to the beat of The Beatles — again — when filming begins on Midas Man, a new picture about Brian Epstein, the Fab Four’s legendary manager.
Joining the already announced — on these very pages — Jacob Fortune-Lloyd (who starred with Anya Taylor-Joy in The Queen’s Gambit) in the title role will be Emily Watson as Epstein’s mother Malka (known to all as Queenie); and Eddie Marsan, as his furniture store-owning father Harry.
Brian Epstein is credited with steering The Beatles’ early career as their manager
The Beatles with Brian Epstein in 1964
Jacob Fortune-Lloyd plays the title role in Midas Man
Omari Douglas, a standout in Channel 4’s acclaimed drama it’s a Sin, will play Epstein’s close friend Lonnie Trimble.
Director Jonas Akerlund has worked closely with casting director Dan Hubbard, and producers Kevin Proctor, Perry Trevers, Trevor Beattie and Jeremy Chatterton, on casting other key roles.
Eddie Marsan will play Brian Epstein’s furniture store-owning father Harry
Emily Watson will play Epstein’s mother Malka, while Omari Douglas will play the music mogul’s close friend Lonnie Trimble