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Jessica Chastain on the 2012 Hollywood Cover

The Oscar-nominated co-star of “The Help” on her mortifying meeting with fellow nominee Meryl Streep.

Released on 01/30/2012


(film reel hums)

(playful music)

Have you had any crazy mistakes,

or snafus, that you've done meeting other famous people?

Oh, I do it all the time!

You do!

Every time I meet a famous person!

I'm such a geek!


I'm such a fan!

Okay, I met Meryl Streep.

Have I not told you this one? No!

Oh, this is so embarrassing!

I was doing a play at Playwrights Horizons here in New York.

I was in the lobby with some friends of mine,

and I look over and I said, Is that Meryl Streep?

And they were all like, yes, it's Meryl!

As I said it, she turned around

and started walking towards me,

and that's, like, when everything kind of got foggy.

You know, you stop really functioning.

She walked towards me, and she went, Jessica,

and she grabbed my hands,

and she was saying beautiful things

about the play and my performance.

All I did, because I was so shocked by it,

all I did was I held her hands and I went,

Thank you, thank you,

it means so much to me that you came, okay.

And I walked away!


When you were in high school--


Northern California, who did you have on your wall?

Who was your crush?

Oh, Ralph Fiennes!

Ralph Fiennes, oh my God, your such a theater geek!

It is so insane! (Jessica laughs)

Only you would have--

English Patient!

Of course.

Come on!

Of course!

Those love scenes in the English Patient?

So you must be thrilled,

because Jessica's in Coriolanus as Ralph Fiennes wife.

Wife, yes--

One of your nine movies.

Yes, I have a photograph of him

lying in bed as Coriolanus kind of bandaged.

There's a scene in the movie where

I just walk in, like, in a slip,

and I lie down next to him.

And I remember I walked into the room to film that scene,

and I looked at him, and he was bandaged in bed,

and I thought, this is the English Patient!

This is my moment!

And then you just got a giant part.


Can we talk about that?

Well, we can, because, I mean, it's been talked about,

so I'm gonna play Princess Diana.

Lady Diana. Lady Di.

You read the script and everything?

It's amazing, it's beautiful.

Is it just great?

And she's such a wonderful person.

She lived, as I'm reading about her,

it's like she lives her life with this open heart,

and she doesn't, kind of like,

have this wall of armor in front of her.

She's just so open emotionally.

As an actor, you kind of have to

live your life that way, as well.

As I'm reading it, I'm so inspired by her.

Starring: Krista Smith, Jessica Chastain

Featuring: Meryl Streep