Jessica Chastain has a lot of praise for film-maker Ridley Scott, in particular for his efforts in creating choice roles for women.
‘I’ve always been a fan of Ridley’s,’ the Oscar-nominated star told me recently in Los Angeles. ‘He’s a gem of a human being, for starters. And he provided so many great roles for women. Look at Susan Sarandon and Geena Davis in Thelma And Louise."
Scott has cast Chastain in his movie adaptation of Andy Weir’s sci-fi novel The Martian.
In the new film, Matt Damon plays a scientist who gets marooned on Mars. He has limited rations and the next patrol from Earth isn’t due for another 1,412 days. ‘He’s got something like six potatoes,’ Chastain said.
She plays the mission commander, who makes the fateful decision to leave Damon behind on the red planet after her crew are caught in a huge dust storm.
‘I get to be an astronaut, with the astronaut suit,’ she told me. ‘My character’s not in the whole movie — it’s Matt’s movie. But my character’s still a bad-ass and she’s pretty cool. She gets to go to space, and I did zero-gravity training.’
Her part’s completed, but Damon, Sean Bean and other cast members are still shooting on a sound-stage in Budapest and on location in Jordan.