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Chastain admires agent behind 'Zero Dark Thirty'

Date published: 2/5/2013


The Miami Herald (MCT)

MIAMI--The moment Jessica Chastain finished reading the script for "Zero Dark Thirty," director Kathryn Bigelow's recreation of the CIA's decade-long search for Osama bin Laden, the first movie she thought of was "All the President's Men."

"I thought of it the second I read the script," Chastain says, "because they're both films made about real-life recent events.

"In the 1970s, Hollywood started making a lot of movies about the Vietnam War--things like 'Coming Home,' which shed light on the struggles of the returning vets. But those movies were based on fictional stories. 'Zero Dark Thirty' is a movie, not a documentary. But it is based entirely on first hand accounts of people who went through this. And you have to realize it was just last year that Osama bin Laden was killed."

Written by Mark Boal, who previously teamed with Bigelow on the Oscar-winning "The Hurt Locker," "Zero Dark Thirty" focuses on Chastain's character Maya, who devotes her life to her job--finding the mastermind behind the 9/11 attacks. The film's focus is Maya, who is based on a real person.

Chastain never got to meet her off-screen counterpart, due to the undercover nature of her work. But the actress, whose profile soared last year after three celebrated movies ("The Tree of Life," "Take Shelter" and "The Help"), says she feels a kinship.

"Maya believed she had a calling to do this," Chastain, 35, says. She even has a scene where she says 'A lot of my friends were killed trying to do this. I believe I was spared to finish the job.' So no matter how many dead ends she came across or how many superiors got in her way, she refused to take no for an answer."