There’s a reason why it’s nearly impossible to define Jessica Chastain. Many, including Chastain herself, would identify her as an actress, but the truth is she’s done more for Hollywood than just play a few parts and earn a steady paycheck. Since she exploded onto the silver screen in 2011, she’s fiercely advocated for women’s rights in her male-dominated industry, fought for equal pay, consistently sought out female collaborators to work with, and joined over 300 other women to help establish the Time’s Up movement. She’s a feminist through and through, only accepting roles of women she wants to give voice to. She refuses to be boxed in as an actress and has been vocal about the need for more inclusion in cinema, especially as it pertains to women and people of color.
She’s also churned out more than 30 films in the last decade—a feat that not even the likes of Meryl Streep can boast—earning two Oscar nominations, a Golden Globe, and a Screen Actors Guild Award in the process. In the same amount of time, she’s gotten married, given birth to two children, founded her own production company, and made her Broadway debut.
Anyone who has seen Chastain’s performances can confirm that she’s a master of her craft. She doesn’t just embody her roles—she disappears into them. She made it clear early on in her career that she wanted to do everything from classical texts to superhero films, and in the years since she’s steadily achieved that goal. In an industry famous for typecasting, what other actress (apart from Streep) would dare to play characters as varied as a lovable housewife, a hardened intelligence analyst, a high-stakes poker host, and an alien supervillain—all as nuanced as if they were played by completely different actresses?
Chastain, that’s who. And whether you know who she is or not, either way it means she’s done her job.
What Have I Seen Jessica Chastain In?
Chastain first wowed audiences with her divergent performances in The Tree of Life and The Help when both films were released within months of each other in 2011. Even though the roles she played in these films could not have been more different, transitioning from Terrence Malick’s experimental drama to the bubbly role of Celia Foote seemed as simple for Chastain as shaking a bag of chicken. This would turn out to be her signature magic trick as she hopped from film to film, leaving no genre unexplored. Some of the many films Chastain appeared in over the years include Zero Dark Thirty, Mama, The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby, Miss Julie, Interstellar, The Martian, The Huntsman: Winter’s War, Miss Sloane, Molly’s Game, X-Men: Dark Phoenix, and It: Chapter Two.
Her most recent transformation occurred in The Eyes of Tammy Faye, Michael Showalter’s biographical drama based on the 2000 documentary of the same name. Opposite fellow chameleon Andrew Garfield, Chastain stars as Tammy Faye Bakker, the real-life emotional televangelist with more makeup on her face than a trick-or-treater, who became parodied the world over for on-screen empathy. The film charts the Bakkers’ meteoric rise to fame as well as their tragic downfall. Chastain is already getting awards buzz for her performance, and though critics have largely agreed that her work is better than the film itself, there’s a real chance that this will be the role that nabs Chastain her first Oscar.
She’s also gotten buzz recently for a particularly scandalous red carpet moment she shared with fellow Juilliard alum Oscar Isaac while promoting their latest project. The pair, previously seen together in the drama A Most Violent Year, teamed up again for HBOMax’s Scenes From a Marriage, which explores one couple’s rollercoaster journey of falling into and out of love with each other. Both Isaac and Chastain are married in real life, but that didn’t stop fans from swooning over the sexy moment they shared together in front of a hoard of photographers.
It’s no wonder why they both get paid the big bucks.
What Is Jessica Chastain’s Net Worth?
After a decade of nonstop masterful performances on the big screen, Chastain has earned herself a net worth of $50 million. That’s not bad for an actress who was a complete unknown ten short years ago, and not at all surprising when you factor in that some of her busiest sessions have found five of Chastain’s films being released in a single year.
Despite recently giving birth to her second child, Chastain is still going strong in the acting department, with seven projects currently in development now that The Eyes of Tammy Faye has hit theaters and new episodes of Scenes From a Marriage continue to drop on HBOMax. Her ever-impressive resume will inevitably continue to grow as Chastain continues to stretch herself as an artist by taking on the meatiest roles she can find.
Will Tammy Faye finally earn her an Oscar? One can only hope. We’ll know for sure in 2022. Even if it doesn’t, it’s only a matter of time before this extraordinary actress takes home a much-deserved golden statue, cementing herself as the cinematic legend that many of us already know her to be.