Jessica Chastain took a walk on hallowed grounds when she stepped back in time for her new movie.
The actress visited the real life villa her Zookeeper’s Wife character Antonina Zabinski lived — and saved hundred of lives — in during World War II. In the exclusive video, Chastain and her costar Johan Heldenbergh take a tour of the house alongside the Zabinki’s daughter, Teresa.
“There’s many stories of World War II and the darkness and violence of it, but it’s very it’s very rare that you have a story about the lightness in the dark,” Chastain says. “What I love and I find so fascinating about Antonina is that in this world of violence and aggression, she was able to counter it with love.”
Antonina and her husband Jan (played by Heldenbergh) saved almost 300 Jews after Poland was invaded by the Nazis by hiding them in the empty cages of their zoo. To get into the role, the actress read Antonina’s diaries and even spent time with her daughter Teresa.
Chastain and Teresa at the film premiere
“I met Teresa and it was very special to talk to her about things that I couldn’t even find in the book, little secrets about what it was like to live with Antonina,” Chastain says. “To be back here having come full circle is overwhelming. I feel overwhelmed with emotion and it’s really inspiring, especially when you look at what’s happening today around the world to be reminded of human kindness.”
The Zookeeper’s Wife is in theaters now.