Jessica Chastain is passing on stereotypically female movie roles in an effort to combat old school Hollywood conventions

By Mike Miller
November 14, 2017 08:00 AM
Credit: Matthew Brookes

Jessica Chastain will not be playing a damsel in distress anytime soon.

The Zookeeper’s Wife star, 40, says she is passing on stereotypically female movie roles in an effort to combat old school Hollywood conventions.

“I am not one to go for traditional female roles, because I don’t think traditionally female characters are very interesting, and I don’t think they represent real life,” the actress tells Town & Country in their Dec./Jan. issue.

“I’m working hard to break free of stereotypes that the film industry has created and nurtured around women,” she adds.

In addition to choosing her roles carefully, Chastain says she will no longer accept anything less than equal pay for equal work.

“If I’m in a situation where I have equal experience to the actor and my role is just as significant, there is no reason why I should be paid less,” she explains. “It’s not really part of my world anymore, because I just won’t accept it.”

The actress, who has long been an advocate for social change and women’s rights, says she hopes to inspire young girls to defy gender stereotypes as well.

Jessica Chastain
| Credit: Matthew Brookes

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“I believe that the energy you put into the world is what you get back, so I’m trying to put something positive out there, something to inspire girls and go into science, to run for office, to try to join the space program,” she says.

Chastain adds that she will continue to use her voice to speak out for equality. “I am happy to stand alongside and march for any minority to have equal rights,” she says. “But I’m not into anything that incites violence, that magnifies hate, because it becomes contagious … I try to approach my political resistance and my life with hope and love.”

The Oscar nominee, known for playing strong female characters in films like Zero Dark Thirty and Miss Sloane, stars in Aaron Sorkin’s upcoming directorial debut Molly’s Game as Molly Bloom, a real-life Olympic-class skier who ran the world’s most exclusive high-stakes poker game and became an FBI target. It opens Dec. 25.