Sunday, April 21, 2024

Jessica Chastain: Guillermo del Toro’s Crimson Peak Was So Tough She Turned Down Two Big Movies


Jessica Chastain is such a gifted actress, I thought she could handle anything. But she told me last night that Guillermo Del Toro’s new film, “Crimson Peak,” was incredible draining. It’s so dark, she told me, that Chastain is now on a big break, enjoying summer in New York.

Last night she was palling around with two friends at a swellegant rooftop party thrown by Harvey Weinstein and Dirk Ziff atop the James Hotel in Soho. The occasion was the launch of The World Surf League-ASP, with lots of famous surfers and good looking young people enjoying a crazy beautiful sunset facing the new, sparkling 1 World Trade Center.

Jessica’s friends were actress Jess Weixler and opera singer Danielle Pizzomi– they were all in the same class at Julliard. Plus Jessica’s youngest brother was visiting from California. They were all heading over to Graydon Carter’s still hot Waverly Inn for dinner.

“You remember in Zero Dark Thirty they said I showed no emotion?” Jessica recalled. “In this one, it’s all emotion, It wiped me out. I love Guillermo!”

I think what she liked was wearing a 19th century black velvet dress with a bustle. She showed me a picture on her iPhone. “Don’t tell Guillermo I’m showing you this,” she said with a twinkle in her eye. (Note to del Toro: your secrets are safe.)

Before “Crimson Peak,” Jessica filmed three big projects: Liv Ullmann’s “Miss Julie,” Chris Nolan’s “Interstellar,” and JC Chandor’s “A Most Violent Year.” She was so wiped from all four movies that she turned down a major movie with a  major male lead. I can’t say what it was, but she turned down another one, as well. Now she’s kicking back before a heavy fall schedule of promotion. Somewhere in this mix, I believe, an Oscar is unavoidable.

Meanwhile, the Surf party was also graced by Katie Holmes, glowing in a white dress, but anxious to get home to daughter Suri.  I told her I love it when I see pictures of them taking the subway. She laughed. “Well, it’s so fast!  And I can leave my house at 7:40 and make an eight o’clock curtain on Broadway!”

Katie is a New Yorker now, certified and stamped.

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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