Jessica Chastain signed up for Memory because she was keen to make a low-budget film.
After a run of big blockbusters and critically successful studio projects, the Oscar-winning actress agreed to star alongside Peter Sarsgaard in Michel Franco’s Memory because she was ready for a change of pace.
“I’ve always had the desire to do something smaller and to work with filmmakers that lead with story and have their own unique point of view and don’t direct by committee. I find that frustrating when a filmmaker has 10 people, whether executives or what, directing with them,” she told IndieWire.
In Memory, Chastain plays Sylvia, a recovering alcoholic grappling with childhood trauma. The actors had no trailers during the shoot and Chastain wore no make-up, styled her own hair and bought her own costumes.
Franco feared she might have an issue with his production style, but The Eyes of Tammy Faye star was unfazed by it.
“When we first started out in our first Zoom, Michel was a little nervous, he was like, ‘Do you understand the way I shoot? I don’t do makeup, I don’t do trailers.’ And I said, ‘Yeah, I’m fine, let’s go,'” she recalled.
Chastain added that she was grateful to work on such a minimalistic set and see parts of New York she hadn’t been to before.
“While we were shooting, because we were shooting above a tyre store and everything, it took me like a month to get the dirt out from under my fingernails. Where we were shooting in the subways, the tyre shops, it was a part of New York I hadn’t experienced, but also I am grateful for that,” she noted.
Memory premiered at the film festivals in Venice, Italy and Toronto, Canada earlier this month.
– Cover Media