- Jessica Chastain is the producer and one of the stars behind the female-led spy thriller, “355.”
- Though there are numerous women involved in front of and behind the camera for the project, a man (Simon Kinberg) will direct the movie.
- Business Insider asked Chastain why he was the best person to direct.
There is no louder and more impassioned voice about the current movement in Hollywood to get more female-focused stories told than Jessica Chastain. But she says some guys are allowed to come along for the ride.
Chastain made headlines at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, along with fellow stars Lupita Nyong’o, Marion Cotillard, Bingbing Fan, and Penélope Cruz, when they converged on the French Riviera to announce the movie, “355,” in which they all star as international spies.
And the female talent isn’t just on the screen.
Behind-the-scenes, Chastain is producing the movie with her producing partner Kelly Carmichael. The film is also written by a woman, Theresa Rebeck. However, the director will be a man: Simon Kinberg, who is known best in the industry as the keeper of the Marvel franchise at 20th Century Fox (he’s been a writer or producer on everything from “X-Men” to “Deadpool” franchises and will be directing the upcoming “X-Men: Dark Phoenix”).
“355” not having a female director is a question mark for a project that is going against the grain of Hollywood’s male-heavy dominance in the spy/action genre. But Chastain said there’s a reason for Kinberg’s inclusion.
“I’m not interested in being exclusive,” Chastain told Business Insider Monday while doing press for her upcoming release, “Woman Walks Ahead,” (opening in theatres Friday). “I feel like if I made a point of only working with women then I don’t know if I’m changing things so much. I’m interested in working with men who are interested in inclusivity, and Simon is. He’s a great ally and someone who sees the problems in our industry and in society and wants to work to change them. So he can join the eight of us gals.”
At Cannes, “355” was one of the hottest projects on the market and after a bidding war Universal eventually won out the domestic rights for a reported cost of $US20 million. The project is currently in preproduction.
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