Superhero movies are where it’s at in Hollywood right now, and not just because they’re more popular at the box office than ever. Filmmakers are starting to recognize more and more something that comic book authors have known (and put to practice) for years – that the superhero genre is a flexible one, and can be used to tell stories that use tropes and archetypes from other popular genres (western, horror, sci-fi, and so on). It’s for related reasons that critically-acclaimed acting talents such as Al Pacino and, as we’ll discuss here, Jessica Chastain, are now actively campaigning to snag a role in the expanding world of superhero cinema.
Chastain almost played scientist Maya Hansen (a role that Rebecca Hall ended up taking instead) in Iron Man 3, but was unable to commit to the project due to her own demanding schedule. Indeed, the Oscar-nominee Chastain will appear in multiple films arriving over the months ahead, including the somewhat experimental romantic drama The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby and Christopher Nolan’s space adventure Interstellar – so calling her busy of late is a bit of an understatement.
Chastain, during a recent interview with The Guardian to promote her upcoming films – including, appropriately enough, the movie adaptation of Oscar Wilde’s play Salomé that Pacino directed – discussed her interest in playing a superhero character along the lines of Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson in the Marvel Cinematic Universe). She also made it perfectly clear: she’s not looking to just make an appearance in a superhero film, but to actually portray a proper costumed crime-fighter onscreen.
“I would love to do a superhero movie! I would have loved to have played Black Widow. A couple of times I’ve gotten really close. The problem is, if I do a superhero movie, I don’t want to be the girlfriend. I don’t want to be the daughter. I want to wear a fucking cool costume with a scar on my face, with fight scenes. That’s what I’d love.”
Just a couple weeks ago, Chastain also lent her voice to the growing chorus calling for a Johansson-led Black Widow film, as well as more female protagonist movie roles (superheroes or not) in general. Marvel Studios head Kevin Feige recently caused a bit of a stir when he indicated that the comic book movie studio is too busy to make a female superhero film right now; since then, however, there have been signs that both Marvel and other studios are taking steps to start making the sort of vehicles that would allow Chastain (among others) to fulfill her superhero movie ambitions.
With respect to the subject of female superhero movies, there’s been growing buzz in recent weeks that Marvel Studios could be planning a Captain Marvel film; Warner Bros. and DC may already have a Wonder Woman film in early development; Sony is apparently planning to release an Amazing Spider-Man spinoff led by a female superhero in 2017; and much like there’s been public support for a Black Widow film starring Johansson, a principal producer on the X-Men franchise has thrown their hat in the ring for a Jennifer Lawrence-starring Mystique solo movie.
Point being, the tide is in favor of one or more of these female superhero projects happening – and the more that do, the more opportunities will present themselves for someone like Chastain (whose box office pull is only growing stronger by the year) to accept headliner duties as a super-crime-fighter.
Similarly, as the term “superhero movie” continues to encompass a greater variety of genres, that will also spice up the variety in available female superhero roles – be they a fantastical warrior such as Wonder Woman, an anti-heroine along the lines of Black Cat, or even a determined government operative like Agent (Peggy) Carter. That will make it all the easer for top-notch talent such as Chastain to be tempted to join in the fun of performing super heroic deeds onscreen.
Is there a specific superhero you could envision Chastain bringing to life on the big screen – and thus, one that you would like to see her play? Feel free and let us know your thoughts, in the comments sections of this article.