Jessica Chastain will be seen at least three more times onscreen in 2014 in: J.C. Chandor's "A Most Violent Year" which sounds like it could be an Oscar contender, “The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby” which come to think of it might be the same and Christopher Nolan’s “Interstellar.” But could we see her twice more? It's possible. Another film is appearing, albeit at a one-off screening in the U.K. The twofer is the Al Pacino-directed/starring "Salome" and "Wilde Salome," the film(s) that kicked off her career before her performance in Terrence Malick's “The Tree Of Life." An adaptation of a controversial, banned and lesser known Oscar Wilde play, "Salome" was Chastain's feature film debut right out of Juilliard (Pacino therefore having bragging rights about discovering her). But it's never been properly released. Even "Wilde Salome," Pacino's documentary on the making of the movie has never been released, but it did make its world premiere at the Venice Film Festival in 2011.
Our reviewer Oli Lyttelton said it wasn’t quite essential viewing, but that there was one chief reason to see it: Jessica Chastain. “Not only does Chastain (only 25 at time of filming) exude star quality and a serious-minded work ethic in the behind-the-scenes footage, but she's also sensationally, jaw-droppingly good as Salome,” he wrote. Clearly Pacino knew she was the real deal even back then.
Whether the films ever receive a proper release remains to be seen, considering they were shot and completed ages ago, we're inclined to believe that's not going to happen, but Pacino is going to screen them as a double feature in London on Sept 21st (you can get tickets here). The double feature also comes with a live Q&A with Al Pacino, hosted by Stephen Fry, so all and all that’s a pretty great deal.
Here are the two films’ synopses:
Salomé: At a birthday feast for King Herod (Al Pacino), his stepdaughter, princess Salome (Jessica Chastain) discovers the imprisoned John the Baptist and is immediately infatuated with him. Rebuffed by the prisoner, Salome entices her lecherous stepfather with the promise of completing the erotic Dance of the Seven Veils, if the King will grant her one wish. Herod agrees to any wish in order to have his desire sated. Following the dance, Salome demands the head of John the Baptist. Herod offers her anything but that, and Salome stubbornly refuses to change her wish. Realising his attempt to change her mind is futile, Herod reluctantly orders the beheading and shortly thereafter orders the death of his stepdaughter.
Wilde Salomé: In this unique documentary, Director/star Al Pacino takes us on a personal journey as he unravels and re-interprets Oscar Wilde's once banned and most controversial work SALOME, a scintillating tale of lust, greed and one woman's scorn. Using a mix of documentary, fiction and improvisation, the viewer gets a rare look inside the mind of one our greatest (and most unique) actors.
Another film we’re probably going to be seeing this year? Liv Ullman’s “Miss Julie.” Co-starring Colin Farrell and Samantha Morton, the film has already been given a September 10th release date in France. That may mean, we’ll see it first during the fall film festival circuit, possibly Telluride and Venice in late August or in Toronto which will correspond with that French opening. Here's the official synopsis:
Taking place at a large country estate in Britain over the course of one 1880s midsummer night, Miss Julie explores the brutal, flirtatious power struggle between Julie and John – a young aristocratic woman and her father’s valet.
She is all hauteur longing for abasement; he, polished but coarse. The two of them held together by mutual loathing and attraction. At turns seductive and tender, savage and bullying, their story builds inevitably to a mad, impulsive tryst. Plans are made in desperation, a vision of a life together – unsure if the morning light then brings hope or hopelessness, Julie and John find their escape in an act that is as sublime and horrific as anything in Greek tragedy.
Liv Ullman’s Miss Julie will skillfully weave this great original story of the battle between the sexes and the classes.
New posters have arrived for the “Salome/Wilde Salome” double feature and “Miss Julie.” Check them out below along with a quick clip of Chastain talking about ‘Rigby’ as well.