Jessica Chastain: Under siege in the Middle East

Jessica Chastain stars as an undercover government agent in “Zero Dark Thirty,” in theaters now.

Don’t let her impressive work in “Zero Dark Thirty” fool you. Golden Globe-nominated actress Jessica Chastain would make a horrible CIA agent. It’s something she learned not while filming the real-life drama about the hunt for Osama bin Laden, but when the film became one of the most scrutinized projects in recent history — even before a frame had been shot. It got so bad that all cast members would tell the press was that director Kathryn Bigelow had made them sign confidentiality agreements.

“I am the worst at keeping secrets. I’m the kind of person who, the second that I buy someone a Christmas present, I tell them what I bought them,” Chastain explains. Luckily, there were those confidentiality agreements. “When I was cast in this, I was so excited about this character of Maya. I found her to be really inspiring and the script was incredible, it was so eye-opening. But I had to keep it a secret,” she says. “There was a lot of press coming out and people were speculating that I was [playing] a Navy SEAL wife and all this stuff, and I had to just really hold my tongue for a year. So I’m very excited that people are now seeing the film and they’re realizing it’s not a propaganda film and it doesn’t have an agenda. It just tries to show this moment in history as accurately as possible.”

One obstacle in tackling the role of Maya was that, while she’s based on a real person, there was no way Chastain could actually meet her. So she took a different approach to her research. “I had three months before we started shooting that I went to school for it, I guess. I nicknamed [screenwriter] Mark [Boal] ‘The Professor.’ And I would sit with him and go through the screenplay and ask a lot of questions about the character I was playing, about the CIA,” she says. “I had to use my imagination to fill in the blanks where the research couldn’t answer the questions.”

In character

Key to tapping into her character was Chastain’s experience in the Middle East. She remembers   visiting a restaurant with co-star Jason Clarke and some male colleagues that gave her insight to the right mind-set of an out-of-place westerner.

   

“We went to a hotel restaurant in Oman, which is a pretty liberal city, I think. The waiter wouldn’t give me a menu. He gave the men menus at my table. So Jason ordered for me that day,” she says. “For me it’s difficult being in that kind of a situation. I felt invisible as a woman. I don’t like that. Any time anything like that happened, it was just another log to the Maya fire of her feeling invisible.”


News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Former cop shoots wife in front of children…

Former cop Kevin Canty, 43, was arrested over the weekend after police say he shot and killed his wife in their Ozone Park home.

Local

Two young children killed in deadly Queens fire

Two 4-year-old children died after a blaze at their Far Rockaway home on Saturday night. The Queens fire injured three others, including a third sibling.

National

Florida man charged with murdering son to play…

A Florida man annoyed that his 16-month-old crying son was preventing him from playing video games suffocated the toddler, police said on Friday.

International

Powerful 7.2 magnitude earthquake rattles Mexico

A powerful earthquake struck Mexico Friday, shaking buildings and sending people running into the street, although there were no reports of major damage.

Television

'Orphan Black' recap: Episode 1, ‘Nature Under Constraint…

Welcome to your first Season 2 “Orphan Black” recap! Hopefully Tatiana Maslany can help Tatiana Maslany get through this, with the help of Tatiana Maslany,…

Entertainment

Whoopi Goldberg makes her debut as marijuana columnist

"It helps my head stop hurting, and with glaucoma your eyes ache, and she takes the ache out. It's wonderful," she said.

The Word

Kate Middleton made fun of Prince William's bald…

Kate Middleton and Prince William are in Sydney, Australia, right now, and it sounds like that brash Aussie sense of humor might be rubbing off.

The Word

Is Tom Cruise dating Laura Prepon?

"Mission: Impossible" star Cruise is said to be dating Laura Prepon, star of "Orange is the New Black."

NBA

Deron Williams leads Nets over Raptors in Game…

The Nets traveled to a raucous Air Canada Centre but came out with an important Game 1 victory over the Raptors.

NBA

Carmelo Anthony agonizing over Knicks future as season…

There’s still the cloud hanging over the franchise’s head as to the pending free-agent status of All-Star forward Carmelo Anthony.

NFL

Jets host players with eye toward NFL Draft

The Jets hosted a number of NFL Draft hopefuls for workouts on Thursday, with an eye toward some under-the-radar players.

NFL

Chris Johnson: I wanted to go to 'a…

Now that Chris Johnson is a Jet, the team has to figure out if one of the most explosive players in the NFL over the last half decade has anything…

Parenting

Is camp right for introverts?

We ask an expert for tips on sending your introverted child to camp

Parenting

How to parent without gender stereotypes in a…

Christia Spears Brown, Phd. author of "Parenting beyond Pink & Blue" gives advice on raising kids free of gender stereotypes.

Tech

VIDEO: 'Vein-scanning' may become the future of paying

Designed to make transactions quicker and easier, the technology works by scanning the unique vein patterns in each person's palm.

Tech

#FollowFriday: 10 of the smartest Twitter accounts

Spending lots of time on Twitter? You might as well learn something. Here are some of the smartest accounts to follow.