By Kevin Jagernauth | The Playlist December 16, 2011 at 9:20AM
2011 certainly seems to be actress Jessica Chastain’s lucky year, as she had a series of fine performances in parts both big and small in acclaimed films ranging from “The Help” to Terrence Malick’s “The Tree Life.” Throw in turns in the apocalyptic “Take Shelter” and director John Madden’s thriller “The Debt,” and it certainly feels like it’s been the breakthrough year for Chastain’s up-and-coming career.
It’s also no secret the actress's name has been on the lips of Hollywood casting agents for some time now, if you remember she beat out other women-of-the-moment (Noomi Rapace, Olivia Wilde, Brit Marling) to score a comfy blockbuster role alongside Tom Cruise in “Tron: Legacy” director Joseph Kosinski’s “Oblivion”. She’s also set to have a plum role in the Guillermo Del Toro-produced horror “Mama,” along with a part in John Hillcoat's much-anticipated “The Wettest County.”
Chastain can now add another promising potential project to her slate as she’s reportedly set to join “Incendies” director Denis Villeneuve’s adaptation of the Russell Banks novel “The Darling.” Back in October, Banks spoke to Canadian news rag The Calgary Herald (via We Got This Covered), and confirmed to them that Chastain would be working with Quebec filmmaker Villeneuve in the lead role of Hannah Musgrave. In Banks’ book, which is set in Liberia and the United States over a period of 16 years from 1975 to 1991, Musgrave is a political extremist who operates as a member of the Weather Underground. She’s forced to flee America for West Africa, where along with her Liberian husband she befriends a warlord who eventually pts her family and life in peril.
Apparently the project was set to be a Martin Scorsese film with Cate Blanchett following their work on “The Aviator” in 2004, but obviously that didn’t work out, even though this certainly sounds like something potentially within Scorsese’s wheelhouse. But 2010’s “Incendies,” which was nominated for Best Foreign Language Film at the 2011 Oscars, showcased a director who has a penchant for familial drama amidst the tension of the time period, so perhaps it isn’t a long shot for Villeneuve either. As for Chastain, at this point in time she can do no wrong in this writer’s mind, and it's yet another intriguing part for the actress.
But it all seems somewhat early days. Chastain will be doing the Tom Cruise sci-fi movie next, and as far as we know, Villeneuve is still attached to direct the Black List script "Prisoners" (though that project has been through so much development hell, we wouldn't be surprised if it's still tied up for whatever reason). So we'll see how this plays out, and if she takes the role or not. Remember that Princess Diana movie that she was reported to be doing? She told us earlier this month she still wasn't confirmed. And given this bit of news came from an article that is now a couple of months old (and hasn't hit the trades yet) we wonder if this a case of something that is still on the decision pile.
Regardless, if it all does come together it could be something pretty great. More to come we're sure.