You might not remember, but way back in the day, Jessica Chastain was slated to star opposite Tom Cruise in the sci-fi “Oblivion.” As it sometimes goes, things didn’t work out, and the actress was replaced by Olga Kurylenko. Chastain and Cruise haven’t had an opportunity to work since, but there’s no bad blood there. In fact, were it not for Cruise, she wouldn’t have received her second Oscar nomination.
Speaking at Loyola Marymount University as part of the “Hollywood Masters” interview series, Chastain explained how Cruise’s generosity allowed her to work on “Zero Dark Thirty.”
“I got cold-called by [director] Kathryn Bigelow,” Chastain explained. “I was in Toronto, and I had heard from [producer] Megan Ellison. We had done a film, [2012’s] ‘Lawless,’ together. And she said, ‘By the way, do you know Kathryn Bigelow’s trying to get a hold of you? She wants to meet with you on something.’ And I was like, ‘What? Please give her my number.’ ”
“I was signed to do another movie,” she continued. “I was contractually obligated to do something else that I was really wanting to do, and I was excited to do [the 2013 thriller ‘Oblivion,’ starring Cruise]. But when this came my way, I realized I had to do this. And the person who made it possible for me to do this movie is Tom Cruise. Someone contacted him from my agency and said, ‘Listen, she wants to work with you. And she would love to, but there is this other film, and it’s so important.’ And he said, ‘OK, we’re going to let you out of your contract.’ ”
Well, the rest is history, and that’s a pretty classy move on Cruise’s part. Chastain went on to give a helluva performance in Bigelow’s dramatic thriller, and perhaps dodged a bullet with the underwhelming “Oblivion.” [THR]