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Jessica Chastain attended the Juilliard School in New York City. While there, she starred in Romeo and Juliet. She soon commenced a professional stage career, and received glowing reviews for her performances in The Cherry Orchard, at the Williamstown Theatre Festival, opposite Michelle Williams; and in Richard Nelson’s Rodney’s Wife, opposite David Strathairn, off-Broadway at Playwrights Horizons.
Her other stage credits include the Los Angeles Wadsworth Theatre production of Salome, directed by Estelle Parsons and starring in the title role opposite Al Pacino. Extending the collaboration, producer Barry Navidi created a film version entitled Wilde Salome. Directed by Mr. Pacino, the feature includes behind-the-scenes footage as well as portions of the play. It will world-premiere at the 2011 Venice International Film Festival.
More recently, she starred as Desdemona in Othello, opposite Philip Seymor Hoffman and John Ortiz. The production, adapted and directed by Peter Sellars, was performed in Vienna and off-Broadway; the latter stint was with the LAByrinth Theater Company and through NYC’s Public Theater.
Ms. Chastain made her screen debut in the title role of Jolene, directed by Dan Ireland, opposite Rupert Friend, Frances Fisher, Dermot Mulroney, and Michael Vartan. The feature film adaptation of the E.L. Doctorow short story earned her the Best Actress Award at the 2008 Seattle International Film Festival.
She will soon be seen starring in several highly anticipated films being released in 2011. These include Terrence Malick’s The Tree of Life, with Brad Pitt and Sean Penn; Ami Canaan Mann’s The Texas Killing Fields, reteaming her with Sam Worthington of The Debt; Ralph Fiennes’ Coriolanus; Jeff Nichols’ Take Shelter, opposite Michael Shannon; and Tate Taylor’s The Help, adapted from Kathryn Stockett’s beloved novel of the same name.
Ms. Chastain recently completed filming John Hillcoat’s The Wettest County in the World.