Actress Jessica Chastain talks about her role and the scientific theories in the most anticipated film of the year, Interstellar
Jessica Chastain confesses that she experienced stardom for the first time at the Cannes Film Festival in 2011—when she walked the red carpet with Brad Pitt and Sean Penn. With films like Tree of Life and Zero Dark Thirty, the 37-year-old has an impressive portfolio. It includes theatre experience and independent films. An actress in demand, she is currently busy promoting her film, Interstellar, which gets a world-wide release today. The big budget Christopher Nolan movie also has Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway and Michael Caine, and can be marked as one of the biggest films Chastain has worked on. More from her:
Describe your character in this film?
My character’s pretty isolated. By her choice. She suffered a terrible emotional hurt when she was a child, and she is stagnant in that. Yes, she’s emotional and angry, but she hides behind science, physics, numbers and equations. And it’s through her work actually, that she discovers that love never dies. That’s what’s so moving to me.
It is more than a science fiction?
Well, I think people will be surprised. Because when you see the trailers and you see the posters, you think, ‘‘Okay, this is an outer space science fiction film. They’re going on planets and all that jazz.’’ Yes, it’s an outer space film. The visuals are insane. And you can hardly breathe, and the action and these sequences are just mind-blowing. But at the core, it’s a film about the powerful bond of love and the relationship between a father and his daughter.
Were the scientific theories in
this film difficult to grasp?
Yeah, I know. There are so many theories in this film, I’m just starting to discover. I’ve never been a science brain—I hadn’t really thought, ‘‘Okay, this is something I’m going to explore.’’ But what’s great is, coinciding with the release of the film, Kip Thorne, our executive producer, and a leading theoretical physicist, is releasing a book. So if you want to delve deeper into science and the relation between time and gravity, and how each one affects each other, and black holes, read it.
Did you come into this film with a
fascination for space exploration?
I remember when I was a kid, my first real confrontation, I guess, with space travel, was when the Space Shuttle Challenger exploded. I was very young and I remember how traumatic that was for me because I was watching it on the news and all of the children in (US astronaut Christa McAuliffe’s) class were watching. I had never ever imagined that it was something I wanted to do. The wonderful thing about being an actress is that I get to act beyond what I myself am physically capable of.
What was it like to work with
A dream-come true. Yeah, I remember him from Hannah and Her Sisters, and he’s a film legend. And I’ll forever be able to say I worked with Michael Caine.
How did you prepare for the scene that sees you working with all those numbers?
That was my A Beautiful Mind moment. Kip Thorne was on set with me that day. And he told me that the equation I’m writing, in actuality, is three blackboards long. The fun thing is, I didn’t have to fully understand it, I got to act it. That was easier.
Would you consider leaving your family if it meant saving the human race?
If I had a specific skill that we needed to save the human race, of course I would have to go. It would be devastating for me, because the most important thing in my life is my friends and my family. I’m not a mother yet, I can’t imagine making that decision. But, in a way, not going, actually, is dooming your children. So it’s like sacrificing yourself. For the greater good.
Interstellar is scheduled to
— Team Indulge