USMagazine, Wednesday, May 25, 2011, 10:02am (PDT)
She may be under the radar for now, but Jessica Chastain is well overdue to skyrocket to A-list status. Exhibit A: The 30-year-old actress was busy this past week at the Cannes International Film Festival promoting her upcoming film "Tree of Life," which was due to premiere last year but wasn't finished in time. (Seems like it was worth the wait though -- the Terrence Malick flick won the highly coveted award Palme D'Or this year, despite wildly mixed reactions.) She plays opposite Brad Pitt, whom she calls "perfect" and is relieved that this film, along with a slew of previous projects (some of which she filmed four years ago), are finally hitting the big screen. Here's the scoop on the Northern Californian native.
1. She has six films that are being released over the next year: "Tree of Life", "The Debt" with Helen Mirren, "The Help" with Emma Stone, "Coriolanus" with Ralph Fiennes, "Take Shelter" with Michael Shannon, and "The Fields" with Sam Worthington.
2. She left California to attend acting school in New York City, and the audition that landed her a spot in Juilliard's Drama Division was orgasmic -- literally. "[Chastain] chose Juliet's soliloquy about pining for Romeo to take her virginity ('come, loving, black-browed night') and gave it the full hormonal treatment," according to ELLE magazine's 2010 interview with the star. 'I'm on the floor writhing about, completely crazy,' she tells the mag. 'It probably made them go, 'Ah, this chick, she's brave.'" She attended the well-renowned school with the help of a scholarship she was awarded to from Juilliard Alum Robin Williams.
3. She's already an award winner! Her first ever lead role in the film "Jolene" earned her the Best Actress award at the Seattle International Film Festival in 2008.4. She's modest. At Cannes, the star told Huffington Post, "I'm just nervous that I'm going to be the newcomer that everyone's sick of, and they don't even know my name. People are like, 'Why is this girl in every single movie I'm seeing this fall?'"5. She was born Jessica Howard but took her mother's maiden name, Chastain.