Jessica Chastain likes to go through reviews if a film underperforms so she can understand why it didn’t do so well.
When her projects aren’t a success, the Oscar-winning actress likes to get an explanation as to why the story didn’t connect with audiences by reading through reviews on the aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes.
In 2017, Chastain starred in The Zookeeper’s Wife, about a Polish zookeeper who hid Jews in her zoo during World War II, and when the drama didn’t take off, she undertook some research and learned about the gender divide in the reviews.
“I like research. And so I made two charts on paper, and I realised the women all rated the film, like, 90 per cent. And the men rated the film, like, 60 per cent or below. Which is a huge difference,” she explained to The Guardian. “And then I thought, well, how many women and how many men are reviewing the film? And it was something like 85 per cent of the reviewers were men. So if women love the film, and men are so-so, and the majority of the critics are men, who do we have to tell the world that the story is important?”
The research proved to Chastain how important it was for her to keep putting out stories about women and different versions of female heroes.
“We’ve all been fed with the importance of the man’s story, the male journey, since we were kids. Women are open to that point of view. But it makes it really important to put out more stories about women,” she continued. “I spend my working life trying to put the female heroic out there, even if she’s not – I mean, Miss Sloane was not a nice person. But I want people to see women in a way they don’t usually.”
In 2016’s Miss Sloane, Chastain played a ruthless political lobbyist.
– Cover Media