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How Terminator 2 Helped Jessica Chastain Train To Be A Total Badass In The 355

When Simon Kinberg’s The 355 opens in theaters this week, it will be the first time in a long time that audiences are seeing an ensemble spy thriller, as that genre usually is dominated by solo agents such as James Bond or Jason Bourne. The movie’s also notable because of it’s high-profile and all-female cast, constructed for a premise conceived by Jessica Chastain and boasting ladies who usually find themselves in the Oscar race, not the arms race. 

It’s exciting that The 355 could end up being the gateway-drug movie into the action genre for teenage girls, who normally look at action offerings and see Chris Hemsworth (Extraction), Chris Pratt (The Tomorrow War), or Liam Neeson staring back at them. Not quite role models to which women can relate. So when I sat down with The 355 cast, I asked them which action stars were the ones they saw growing up who made them think, “I’d like to do that one day.” And Jessica Chastain told me the action icon she pretended to be as a young girl, explaining:

Oh, Linda Hamilton, when it opens on her doing all those push ups? I’ll tell you, I started, actually… I can’t really do a ton of push ups now, but that movie made me – I would go to the playground and practice doing pull ups because of Linda Hamilton in Terminator.

So badass. This is why Jessica Chastain has been able to hold down gritty war films like Zero Dark Thirty, or kick a ton of tail in The 355. She has been training for this assignment since her earliest days on the playground, mastering pull ups and mimicking Linda Hamilton’s iconic T2 character. To be fair, as you can see in the video above, Chastain’s gut reaction to the question took her in a different direction, which is also acceptable. She told me:

Ripley in Aliens. Sigourney Weaver, man. I remember watching that film and just being like, ‘Wow, a woman is doing all of that!’ And of course she would be doing all of that. I mean, the fiercest competitor in the animal kingdom is a mother animal protecting their young. There’s something about a mother’s instinct and that feminine ferocious energy that I think can be quite intimidating.

There is an awful lot of that on display in The 355, an action thriller starring Jessica Chastain, Lupita Nyong’o, Diane Kruger, and Fan Bingbing play international agents forced to work together to retrieve a piece of groundbreaking tech, while also keeping the non-lethal Penelope Cruz alive. It could be the start of a franchise, which easily mixes in a slew of other actresses, and possibly compete with the Gunpowder Milkshakes of the world.

Look for The 355 in theaters this weekend. And bookmark our 2022 Upcoming Movie Calendar to see what else is coming to theaters in the next few weeks and months.

Sean O'Connell

Managing Director at CinemaBlend. ReelBlend cohost. A movie junkie who's Infatuated with comic-book films. Helped get the Snyder Cut released, then wrote a book about it.