METEORIC RISE TO STARDOM
By Lee Parham
The Eyes of Tammy Faye star Jessica Chastain has quickly worked her way through the ranks of Hollywood to become one of the industry's most talented and respected performers.
Jessica Chastain was born in Sacramento, California in 1977. She was raised by her mother and stepfather, and had a strong connection to her maternal grandmother.
Chastain credits her grandmother as one her biggest inspirations, saying “she always believed in me.”
Acting quickly became an outlet for Chastain. She studied theater in school, and eventually gained a scholarship to The Juilliard School in New York City, funded by Robin Williams.
Like many thespians, Chastain started her career on the stage, playing Juliet in Romeo and Juliet. She then transitioned to acting on screen in television shows.
Chastain bounced around many different shows in guest appearances, including ER, Veronica Mars, and Law and Order.
After a few years of TV work, she made her film debut in 2008 with indie drama flick Jolene, where she starred as an orphan who breaks free from foster care.
Over the next few years, Chastain featured in a number of smaller parts, with her breakout year coming in 2011 in The Tree of Life. She also gained major acclaim in the historical drama The Help.
The actress solidified herself as a household name in 2012 with the release of Zero Dark Thirty, starring as a CIA agent crucial to the manhunt for Osama bin Laden.
Chastain then began to venture into the deep reaches of space - first in Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar in 2014, and then in the 2015 film adaptation of The Martian with Matt Damon.
She even dipped her toes into the world of horror films, starring in 2013’s Mama from director Andy Muschietti and in Guillermo Del Toro’s 2015 flick, Crimson Peak.
In just a few short years, Chastain had quickly established herself as a viable leading lady in Hollywood, headlining a number of films such as Miss Sloane and The Zookeeper's Wife.
Another monumental breakthrough came for Jessica in 2017 in the film Molly’s Game. Directed by legendary screenwriter Aaron Sorkin, Chastain commanded the screen once again.
A couple years later Chastian tried her hand with some franchise films, first as the villain Vuk in Dark Phoenix, which was one of the last installments in the X-Men franchise.
Chastain reunited with Muschietti for the second chapter of the It series. She played the older version of the character Beverly as she attempted to defeat Pennywise the Clown.
Most recently, Chastain can be seen in The Eyes of Tammy Faye as the iconic televangelist. The actress stars alongside Andrew Garfield as she gears up for awards season.
From space operas to historical dramas and terrorist manhunts, the acting ability of Jessica Chastain is on display in any genre, with many years of great performances yet to come.