Even before the recent sexual harassment scandals sparked widespread calls to change the culture of Hollywood, Jessica Chastain made headlines when she blasted the industry earlier this year for its representation of women on screen.
In a new interview for the December/January issue of Town & Country, the 40-year-old actress expressed hope that things may be changing.
"I think the industry is beginning to examine itself and how it has perceived female roles. I’m seeing a lot of really interesting discussions, and I do think it’s changing," she said, while acknowledging that "we have a long way to go in the world in all industries."
During the Cannes Film Festival in May, Chastain said she was disturbed by the representation of women in film during her time as a juror.
"This is the first time I've watched 20 films in 10 days, and I love movies, and the one thing I really took away from this experience is how the world views women, from the female characters that I saw represented. It was quite disturbing to me, to be honest," the two-time Oscar nominee said at a press conference following Sofia Coppola's best director win for her film "The Beguiled."
For her part, Chastain said she has always been deliberate in choosing her roles.
"I am not one to go for traditional female roles because I don’t think traditionally female characters are very interesting and I don’t think they represent real life," she told Town & Country. "I’m working hard to break free of stereotypes that the film industry has created and nurtured around women."
She's especially aware of the impact her choices can have on young girls watching in the audience.
"With 'The Martian,' I was excited that young girls were seeing that movie and knowing it was possible to be a female commander on a space mission. I believe that the energy you put out into the world is what you get back, so I’m trying to put something positive out there, something to inspire girls to go into science, to run for office, to try to join the space program," she said.
Chastain will be seen next in Aaron Sorkin's "Molly's Game," playing former champion skier Molly Bloom, who went on to run high-stakes poker games in Hollywood and New York. The film opens in theaters Dec. 25.