Jessica Chastain
has already been earning rave reviews for her work in 'Tree of Life,' and she looks to build on that impressive breakout performance with a very busy year. She is appearing in this weekend's big release 'The Help' and next, she'll appear in the highly-anticipated revenge drama 'The Debt' opposite Sam Worthington. After that, she'll be appearing on screen with Al Pacino, then starring in the Cannes-hit 'Take Shelter' and re-team with Worthington for 'Texas Killing Fields.'

With a long slate full of acclaimed films ahead of her, Chastain took a few minutes out of her increasingly demanding schedule to speak with the Huffington Post about her life-changing 2011. From performing fun comedy to immersing herself in sadness, the actress revealed that the combined experiences of 'The Help,' 'Tree of Life' and beyond have had a transformative effect on the actress.
Her role in 'The Help':
Jessica Chastain: For 'The Help,' it was a big physical transformation for me, which was really scary, but then also, there was of course an accent, but I also, in addition to the accent, I really pitched my voice up, because in real life my voice is much lower... It's my first venture into comedy.

The effect 'Tree of Life' had on her after filming:
I was leaving that set and, so much of me leaving, I was so concerned about making it easier for the boys [her sons in the movie], who I'd become very close to, those three little boys, that I underestimated how difficult it was going to be for me to say goodbye to them, and so when we left, I was absolutely devastated, just emotionally so sad. I got on a plane and flew to Paris to take a French course because I needed a change of scenery.

On preparing for 'The Debt':
Making the movie was of course exhausting, but the most difficult part was the months before, because that was the whole research part of it. I was reading a lot about the Holocaust. I read about [Nazi Dr. Josef] Mengele and I read a lot about the medical experiments that they did, which were really atrocious. I hadn't been exposed to those kind of details before. I was just trying to soak up as much as I could of that, because of course Rachel would know.

During that time, it was during the holidays, it was over Christmas and stuff, and even my mom asked me, 'Are you okay?' because I was so depressed, because how could you not be? Every day I would wake up and just start my work, which would be reading about this stuff for months. So I was in a really sad and dark place.

Watch Chastain in a scene from 'The Debt'

Watch Chastain in the trailer for 'Take Shelter'

Read the full interview with Chastain at the Huffington Post.
The Debt
Based on 37 critics

A former Mossad agent must investigate the reappearance of a Nazi war criminal she thought was dead. Read More

The Tree of Life
Based on 43 critics

A man (Sean Penn) tries to reconcile his complicated relationship with his father (Brad Pitt). Read More

The Help
Based on 41 critics

An aspiring writer turns her 1960s Mississippi town on its ear by interviewing black women. Read More

categories Interviews, Movies