Jessica Chastain Denies Jennifer Lawrence Rivalry, Wants "Women to Succeed"
Both were nominated in the Best Actress category at the 2013 Oscars, but J.Law ended up taking home the prized trophy for her role in Silver Linings Playbook. When Chastain lost for Zero Dark Thirty, many assumed she was upset at her opponent. But that couldn't be farther from the truth. Chastain opened up toHaute Living about her passion for fighting for women's equality and her supposed feud with Lawrence.
Chastain talked about her wonderful experience working on The Zookeeper's Wife, which features a mostly female cast. The Help star said she received more validation for her work from those women than she has ever received before having worked with mostly men. "If you're one of the only women on a set—if it's you and a bunch of men—you feel like your value doesn't come from your thoughts and your talent and what you say: your value comes from how you look and how you're perceived by the men around you," she tells the magazine.
That being said, Chastain isn't requesting 100 percent female casts all the time. "I'm not saying that you should have a film set where it's predominantly women," she adds, "I'm just saying when you have more women and you have more balance in a situation, it's going to be a healthier experience."
With gender equality such an important issue for Chastain, the Oscar-nominated actress teamed up with Freida Pinto, Queen Latifah and others on We Do It Together, a nonprofit with a mission to provide more opportunities for women in TV and movies. That's why she felt J.Law's op-ed about the gender wage gap inLena Dunham's Lenny Letter was so important.
"It was incredible. I loved her op-ed…and I was really disappointed after she wrote it that she got criticism. Sometimes people have that attitude where, ‘You're an actress making a lot of money, how dare you complain?' We've kind of been programmed to be grateful that we've gotten this job, so don't rock the boat," she explains. "I don't think that's fair. Jennifer Lawrence coming out and saying that was really important."
Even though people wanted to pit these two against each other when they were nominated in the same category, Chastain is quick to say that's exactly why she and J.Law and other women have to stick together.
"There has been a stigma out there that women don't work well together. I've never seen women like this," she says. "I know also during Oscar season [2012-2013] media, because they were trying to get headlines and get clicks, were trying to fabricate a fake rivalry between Jennifer Lawrence and myself and I immediately came out and said this is a media myth that has to stop." She continues, "The women I know are not like this and I cheer for women to succeed because I know when an actress succeeds that means there's going to be that many more roles for women because an audience is going to demand it."