Best Performance by an Actress in a Union-Supporting Role 2023 goes to Jessica Chastain. Throughout the SAG-AFTRA strike, Jessica was articulate on the issues at stake and why they were vital to working actors. She also had more opportunity to talk than her fellow thesps, as her latest film, Memory, received an interim agreement which allowed her to attend film festivals and give interviews. She dutifully explained how waivers worked and asked if independent studios could meet actors’ needs, then why couldn’t AMPTP? Now that the SAG-AFTRA strike is over, Jessica is touting all that’s good about the new contract. She’s currently serving as jury president at the Marrakech International Film Festival (where Memory is screening but not in competition) and talked to reporters about the film and the new deal:
Fair and just and historic: “I’m glad that our SAG leadership has gotten to a deal they think is fair and just and historic in its own right,” said Chastain on the red carpet… “We’re still waiting to find out what the voters are going to choose — if they’re going to ratify the contract. I’ve looked through it. I do think personally it’s a good deal, but of course, I only have one vote. It’s important to me what everyone else thinks as well. The beautiful thing about taking a vote is that everyone gets to have a say,” she told a reporter with Deadline.
Hollywood strike poster girl: Asked if she had planned to be the poster girl for Hollywood strikes, she said that she was put in that position by accident, and the move wasn’t orchestrated. “I became public by default … I didn’t choose to be so public about it. It just so happened because my film had an interim agreement, and because so many actors were nervous, I think, to speak out, I just ended up being one of the first, and I think when you end up being one of the first in that case, you really have a big spotlight on yourself,” she said.
An actor prepares: “I did my homework. I spoke to the leadership at SAG. I asked them, ‘How can I best support this acting community?’ because SAG is the most important community that I’ve ever been a part of. I would never want to do anything against them, and I only wanted to support them. It was kind of like I became public by default, but I was very happy to support in every way I could.”
Working with Memory director Michel Franco: “The way Michel works is transfixing. He shoots in a way where you feel as a voyeur rather than an audience falling into a scene … He doesn’t cut within a scene. Actors are given the freedom of doing whatever we feel like. While we stick to the script, everything is done in one take … It is like doing theatre where you get freedom, creativity, and inspiration,” said Chastain.
[From Gulf News]
I have to confess that my aunt can’t stand Jessica Chastain! I think it started when Jessica won the Critics Choice Award for Zero Dark Thirty in 2013 and quoted Bertolt Brecht. (Which was so silly to me, because if I were to hate Jessica Chastain it would be for her having natural red hair, my dream.) Jessica was exceedingly earnest back then, but remember, she was just breaking through after years and years of being broke on the sidelines. But all of that is why she was the perfect “poster girl” for the strike — she knows the cost of building a career from the ground up. She’s been there, having had no connections or family in the industry. And now that she’s comfortable, she loves nothing more than to advocate for her peers on the other side of that trajectory. Still earnest, but also just good, clean kindness. Backed by a killer wardrobe.
Embed from Getty Images
Embed from Getty Images
Photos credit: Aurore Marechal/Abaca Press/INSTARimages, Getty
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