How Bourbon Helped Jessica Chastain Film With Oscar Isaac For HBO's Scenes From A Marriage

Jessica Chastain as Mira from Scenes From a Marriage

Jessica Chastain and Oscar Isaac are getting ready for the premiere of their new limited HBO drama Scenes From a Marriage, which is adapted from Ingmar Bergman’s 1973 Swedish miniseries. Since the series features the two actors offering a deep exploration into all angles of a couple's relationship, it means having to get intimate with one another in both physical and emotional ways. And it appears bourbon helped with that process, at least where Chastain is concerned.

Jessica Chastain and Oscar Isaac promoted the upcoming HBO limited series for its world premiere at the Venice Film Festival, where it was well received by attendees. While discussing the project's wide-open depiction of its central coupling, Chastain opened up about the levels of intimacy she and her co-star have to peel through while filming the show. Thankfully for all involved, the two actors get along swimmingly, and they don't appear to have had any major issues while filming. But even the friendliest of friends sometimes need an additional boost to keep the comfort level buoyed when things get a little sexual, with Chastain saying (via Deadline):

In terms of physical intimacy, we had an intimacy coordinator and HBO was really great about us all having conversations about what we were comfortable with. Oscar and I are very comfortable with each other so we had our own separate talks. That was helpful. I would still get embarrassed, though, so bourbon helped a lot. But the level of trust was high.

Although imbibing on bourbon seems to have helped take the edge off, it's not as if everyone was going into the filming with raging drunkenness. (That would probably count as an "issue.") Before the liquor came the candid conversations between the two actors, along with those involved with filming, to make sure that everyone remained comfortable and stable throughout the more sexually charged scenes.

To that end, Oscar Isaac also talked about how much his off-screen relationship with Jessica Chastain helped to inform what viewers see on the screen, with the MCU actor saying:

Professionally, it’s great when you know someone so well because you don’t have to worry about a lot of stuff you usually worry about. However, on something this intense you care about the person so much, because it’s like working with family. If you didn’t know someone so well, getting your own space isn’t so hard.

Scenes From a Marriage relocates Ingmar Bergman’s complicated exploration of marriage and divorce to America, with Jessica Chastain as the eyes-on-the-prize tech exec Mira, and Oscar Isaac as the brainy philosophy professor Jonathan. The series, which was crafted by The Affair and Our Boys' Hagai Levi, will no doubt be stressful enough to have viewers reaching for their own on-the-rocks glasses and bourbon bottles.

Jessica Chastain and Oscar Isaac’s friendship goes way back, as they were classmates at Julliard and starred together in A Most Violent Year in 2014. Having known each other for so long, their natural comfort with each other isn't so surprising, although that kind of platonic friendship also has its own ways of making things difficult when it comes to physical connections. However it goes, I can't wait to see how it all plays out!

Scenes From a Marriage will premieres on HBO on Sunday, September 12 at 9:00 p.m. ET. Stay up to date with all the other big premieres hitting the 2021 Fall TV season as well!

Megan Behnke
Freelance TV News Writer

Passionate writer. Obsessed with anything and everything entertainment, specifically movies and television. Can get easily attached to fictional characters.