Jessica Chastain Reaps Acclaim for Busy 2011 Film Output

Jessica Chastain is using her successful 2011 movie campaign to latch onto a number of films in development. Her most recent signing came when it was recently announced that Chastain would star in the adaptation of the Russell Banks novel “The Darling.” This adds to her otherwise full slate of upcoming roles, including Tom Cruise’s “Oblivion,” Guillermo Del Toro’s “Mama,” and John Hillcoat’s “The Wettest County.”

Chastain is becoming the busiest woman in Hollywood. Here is a look at what she accomplished in 2011 alone.

“The Debt”

John Madden (“Shakespeare in Love”) directs “The Debt,” a thriller about a trio of retired spies getting together to talk about an incident that happened 30 years before when they were sent to capture a Nazi war criminal. The entire mission has secrets never revealed to the world that threaten to expose their pasts.

Jessica Chastain stars in the 1966 story as a Mossad agent sent to capture the Nazi criminal. Helen Mirren portrays the character in 1997.

“Take Shelter”

“Take Shelter” stars Michael Shannon as an unbalanced husband and father who begins to have dreams of the apocalypse. He sets out to build a storm shelter in their backyard without telling his family about his fears. While building the shelter, it starts to come between him and the family he is trying to save.

Chastain plays the wife who watches as her husband appears to be slowly going insane. That the movie never reveals whether he is seeing the future or is simply insane makes “Take Shelter” even better. Chastain picked up a nomination from the Independent Spirit Awards for her performance.

“The Tree of Life”

Terrance Malick’s latest film is “The Tree of Life,” starring Brad Pitt and Sean Penn. Penn plays a man who looks back on his life in the ’50s while living in Texas. Pitt plays his father and Chastain plays his mother in the flashback scenes.

Malick’s movie is a sprawling metaphysical look at life and the universe and plays with such scenes as an asteroid killing all the dinosaurs after the predators learned mercy. The movie won the Palme d’Or at Cannes and Chastain was nominated for Best Supporting Actress at the Satellite Awards.


Ralph Fiennes directs and stars in this modern day retelling of William Shakespeare’s “Coriolanus.” The story is a unique tale, taking place in Rome but updating the story to a present day world of military technology. Fiennes stars as Coriolanus, a Roman military general, and Gerard Butler co-stars as Tullus, his blood enemy. Chastain portrays Virgilia, the wife of Coriolanus.

“The Help”

In Chastain’s most critically lauded role of 2011, she stars as Celia Foote in the race relations film “The Help.” In the movie, various middle-class women rely on African American help to work as maids and nannies for their children. Celia is one of the only women who actually treats her help as a regular human being. Chastain received a Golden Globe nomination for her performance in this movie, marking the end to an amazingly successful year.

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