If a director is looking for an actress to play a one-dimensional role or simply be relegated to "girlfriend," Jessica Chastain isn't the one to call. In addition to always negotiating for equal pay, Chastain also chooses roles that break the traditional Hollywood mould.
Case in point: In her newest film, Molly's Game, Chastain plays Molly Bloom, an Olympic skier who also ran the world's most exclusive high-stakes poker game.
In a new interview with Town & Country, Chastain describes Bloom as "an accomplished, successful woman [who] doesn’t trade romance for leverage." In short, she's totally on brand for the type of character Chastain loves to play.
"I am not one to go for traditional female roles, because I don’t think traditionally female characters are very interesting, and I don’t think they represent real life," she told the outlet. "I’m working hard to break free of stereotypes that the film industry has created and nurtured around women."
Aaron Sorkin, who directed Molly's Game, told Town & Country that there have been plenty of questions about why Molly doesn't (*gasp*) have a love interest — and pointed out that no one brought up the fact that Brad Pitt's Moneyball character also spent the duration of the film single.
Shortly after establishing herself as one of Hollywood's best actresses through her work in The Help and The Tree of Life, Chastain received a much-deserved Golden Globe Award and Oscar nomination for her incredible work as the CIA intelligence analyst who lead the decade-long mission to capture Osama bin Laden in Zero Dark Thirty. With each of her roles, Chastain hopes to send the message to young girls and women that she can be the star of her own life and no field is off-limits.
"I believe that the energy you put out into the world is what you get back, so I’m trying to put something positive out there, something to inspire girls to go into science, to run for office, to try to join the space program," Chastain told Town & Country.
The Oscar nominee's feminism extends far beyond the roles she chooses. She's also been an outspoken supporter of Democratic candidates including Hillary Clinton and a proponent of Obamacare and health coverage for women. She also swiftly responded to the Harvey Weinstein allegations, tweeting that she'd been "warned" about Weinstein since she entered the industry and calling out people who criticised women for not speaking up about his behaviour sooner when no shortage of men in Hollywood were also aware of the alleged sexual misconduct. "Perhaps many are afraid to look at their own behaviour," Chastain posted on October 9.
Given the barrage of sexual misconduct allegations that have emerged since the Weinstein report, it seems like Chastain was definitely on to something from day one.