Skip to main content

Zero Dark Thirty's Jessica Chastain: 'No One Else Could Have Made This Film Except Kathryn Bigelow'

Newly minted Oscar nominee and Critics Choice Awards winner Jessica Chastain is winning accolades all over the place for her intense, focused performance as Maya in Zero Dark Thirty, the woman who led the search for Osama bin Laden even when the rest of the CIA seemed to have given up. It's a closed-off and unemotional performance, to the point that some say they don't see her acting at all. But when you meet Chastain in person, you realize just what a transformation it was. She's friendly and bright and seems eager to make you comfortable, even in the span of a four-minute interview she's conducting before a Broadway performance that night.

There are a million fascinating things about Zero Dark Thirty, which is finally opening in wide release this weekend, but I was especially interested in the way it dealt with Maya's gender, and how her femininity is never talked about out loud, but influences everything she does and the way her colleagues react to her. By the time she'd finished answering my question about it Chastain apologized for going on too long, explaining "I'm very passionate about this." See what she had to say, and also her knowledge about the real-life Maya, in our quick conversation below.

Katey Rich

Staff Writer at CinemaBlend