With two Oscar nominations to her name thanks to stellar performances in The Help and Zero Dark Thirty, the breathtaking Jessica Chastain is one of Hollywood's most coveted leading ladies. Her dance card fills fast, but it's looking like she's considering a turn with Ridley Scott for his upcoming science fiction adventure The Martian.
Deadline reports Jessica Chastain and Kristen Wiig are both being considered for roles opposite Matt Damon in The Martian. Based on the novel by Andy Weir, this space-set drama will be delve into realistic science-fiction the way Gravity did. Like that Sandra Bullock-fronted thriller, The Martian focuses on an astronaut who is abandoned in space following a mission gone wrong.
Matt Damon is set to star as Mark Watney, the first man to walk on Mars. But this historic accomplishment becomes a fateful move when a massive dust storm forces his team to abruptly depart from the planet, leaving him for dead. He has no way to signal Earth that he's alive. His supplies are limited. And yet, this astronaut refuses to lay down and die.
It's unclear at this juncture what characters Chastain and Wiig might play. But both are being described as female leads. With Alien director Ridley Scott at the helm, it's easy to see why two such celebrated actresses would be circling the project. Jessica Chastain's meteoric rise to critical acclaim makes her an easy pick for a project that seems poised to bring prestige to the sci-fi genre. Admittedly, Wiig is a bit of a surprise, as she's made her name in comedies like Bridesmaids and MacGruber. However, the former Saturday Night Live star has been working hard to establish a reputation in drama as well.
In 2011, she took on a supporting role in the dramedy Friends With Kids. While there's some jokes to be had in this unconventional romance, few went to Wiig, who was playing half of an unhappily married couple opposite Jon Hamm. Just last year, Wiig took the lead in a tender--yet painfully underseen--drama called Hateship Loveship. As I said in my my review of the film, "Though burdened with a truly regrettable title, Hateship Loveship is the little indie drama that proves Kristen Wiig isn't just a hilarious comedienne and an Academy Award-nominated screenwriter; she's also a damn fine actress."
Wiig will continue to make strides this fall with the release of The Skeleton Twins, a drama that earned buzz out of its Sundance debut--both for her and co-star Bill Hader. Expected later this year, Shira Piven's dramedy Welcome To Me will also be showing a new side of Wiig (both metaphorically and literally). Here, Wiig will place a woman who suffers from Borderline Personality Disorder. It's a part that required not only serious dramatic chops, but also a nude scene.
After the risks Wiig has taken in her career of late, working with an iconic science fiction director on a movie studded with A-list stars like Jessica Chastain and Matt Damon is a no-brainer. But that doesn't make us any less excited. Here's hoping both Chastain and Wiig close their deals soon.