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Jessica Chastain Says There’s ‘A Different Set Of Rules Than 12 Years Ago’ When It Comes To Gender Equality In The Film Industry

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By Corey Atad.

Jessica Chastain is seeing real improvements in equality for women.

The “Tree of Life” star is on the new cover for the latest feature in NET-A-PORTER’s digital title, PORTER, and in it she opens up about the strides made for gender equality in the film industry.

“I do believe no matter how many people want to force us all to stay in the lanes that we were born into, or that society says we have to stay in, we’re moving against that,” she says.


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Photo: Micaiah Carter/PORTER/NET-A-PORTER.COM

“People coming into the industry now have a different set of rules than 12 years ago,” Chastain adds. “You know, in the past I felt like, if I had an idea for a scene, I had to speak to the male actor I was working with – and then, if he liked it, he would bring it up to the director. I noticed if I brought things up to a director, it was like an immediate no, not even really having a conversation. [It was] a silly game that had to be played, which I don’t think is the case now.”

While the interview was conducted prior to the U.S. Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade, Chastain says of the decision, “I think we need to remind each other what history used to look like for women, because it does feel like that has been forgotten.”

Photo: Micaiah Carter/PORTER/NET-A-PORTER.COM
Photo: Micaiah Carter/PORTER/NET-A-PORTER.COM

She continues, “In some sense, we’ve taken for granted this idea, [of] being able to live a life free of violence and someone else making decisions about your welfare, your safety… This idea of reminding us what it is like when one group loses their right – it’s a trickle-down effect. It affects everyone, and so I think the stories I start looking at will have to deal with that.”


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Chastain also opens up about delivering her Oscars acceptance speech for Best Actress earlier this year, only minutes after Will Smith slapped Chris Rock live onstage.

“I walked into a very charged energy in that room, and I was trying to figure out… how to just breathe and create a calmness,” she recalls, adding, “I didn’t know everything I was going to say and there [were] moments where I started to get emotional so I pulled it back, [but] I had an idea of what I wanted to use that global platform to create if I got up there.”

She also says of the Oscar win, “So many people after [the award ceremonies] were coming up to me and they could see how genuinely surprised I was… I’m used to just putting my head down.”

To see the full interview with Jessica Chastain read PORTER or download the NET-A-PORTER app for iPhone, iPad and Android.”

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