Jessica Chastain heading to Broadway in 'The Heiress'
Jessica Chastain, who garnered acclaim for her work in six movies in 2011, including "The Help," "Take Shelter" and "The Tree of Life," is adding yet another challenge to her crowded plate. The 30-year-old actress is set to make her Broadway debut in a revival of "The Heiress" that is scheduled for sometime in the fall, organizers announced Thursday.
"The Heiress," based on the novel "Washington Square" by Henry James, will be directed by Moisés Kaufman. Written by Ruth Goetz and Augustus Goetz, the play follows the strained relationship between a wealthy New York widower, Dr. August Sloper, and his rather plain-looking spinster daughter, Catherine. (Chastain -- plain? We think not. Ethereal, maybe.)
The last Broadway revival of "The Heiress" was in 1995, starring Cherry Jones, who won a Tony for her performance. Other actresses who have essayed the role of Catherine Sloper include Jane Alexander and Wendy Hiller. The 1949 movie adaptation of the play starred Olivia de Havilland, who won an Oscar.
Chastain paid her stage-acting dues before hitting it big in the movies. In 2006, she appeared opposite Al Pacino in an L.A. production of Oscar Wilde's "Salome." In New York, she has appeared at the Public Theater and Playwrights Horizons.
Film producer Paula Wagner will serve as one of the producers for "The Heiress." In a statement, Wagner said: "I was immediately struck by Jessica's talent and skill when I saw her on stage opposite Al Pacino in 'Salome.' She is an actress with that rare ability to transition effortlessly between the stage and screen."
Chastain's other 2011 films are "The Debt," "Coriolanus" and "Texas Killing Fields." (The actress is nominated this year for a supporting-actress Golden Globe for her role in "The Help.") She also has been rumored to be in consideration to play the late Princess Diana in a planned movie biopic.
-- David Ng
Photo: Jessica Chastain. Credit: Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times