Feature

Why Chastain was a loner

Jessica Chastain has spent much of her life feeling like a fraud.

Jessica Chastain has spent much of her life feeling like a fraud, said Jonathan Heaf in GQ (U.K.). While studying theater at New York’s prestigious Juilliard School, the actress was terrified that she’d be exposed as a talentless hack and sent home. “It’s really why I never partied with the other students,” says Chastain, 35, who stars in Zero Dark Thirty, the upcoming movie about the hunt for Osama bin Laden. “There was a bar called Malarkeys that almost everyone would go to. I probably went twice in three years. In fact, I’ve never really been wasted. I’m not a fun person.” Chastain was so fearful of failure that she gave up a social life to focus on schoolwork and acting. She’d dreamed of becoming an actress since early childhood, but was never encouraged by the adults in her life—a lack of support that still stings today. “I knew I wanted to be an actor. That was it for me. But whenever I would say that to an adult, they would be like, ‘Oh yeah? Well I wanted to be a ballerina.’ It’s kind of sad that we crush children’s dreams in this way. Now if someone tells me something which I feel is impossible, I just say, ‘Go for it.’”

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