By Oliver Lyttelton | www.oliverlyttelton.com July 20, 2011 at 1:35AM
It feels like Jessica Chastain is a name that we've been hearing about for years now, without much evidence to go by in terms of released movies. But now that we've seen her in a leading role in Terrence Malick's "The Tree of Life," we understand why she's such a hot property: she's a terrific, luminous actress. And 2011 will continue to be a massive year for her, as she has another seven films on the way: playing the young Helen Mirren in "The Debt"; starring in the acclaimed Sundance drama "Take Shelter"; popping up Ralph Fiennes' "Coriolanus," teaming with Al Pacino in "Wilde Salome," featuring alongside Emma Stone in "The Help," taking a part in John Hillcoat's "The Wettest County In The World," and appearing with Sam Worthington and Chloe Moretz in cop drama "Texas Killing Fields." Whew. As for 2012, she's got a small role in Malick's next picture (presuming it comes out next year), and she's just signed on to something that sounds very different, a film with a rising Spanish director, and produced by one of the biggest names in the genre world.
Twitch reports that Chastain has signed on to "Mama," a feature-length remake of a 2008 short film by Spanish filmmaker Andres Muschietti that Universal International are putting together. The short, which involves two young girls pursued by a woman who wants to use them to bring back her own dead children, got great acclaim at festivals in the last few years, and a remake has apparently been in the works for a while: it will come as no great surprise, considering his track record in the genre, that Guillermo Del Toro is producing the project, one of the seemingly thousands of films he's lending his name to.
The last time Del Toro lent his name to a first-time Spanish genre director, we got Juan Antonio Bayona's "The Orphanage," as close to an instant classic in the horror genre as anything in the last few years, so we hope the success is repeated. Having Chastain on board certainly helps us take this one seriously. Filming will start in October, so a release in 2012 seems likely. As for Del Toro, he's adding yet more to his mountain of projects, as Variety says that "The Strain," the vampire novel he co-wrote with "The Town" writer Chuck Hogan, is being turned into a 24-part comic series by Dark Horse, with "Stray Bullets" writer David Lapham handling the adaptation. The first issue will hit comic stores on December 14th.