Jessica Chastain: Movie stress took its toll

Jessica Chastain wasn’t prepared for the emotional overwhelm she experienced while shooting her new movie Crimson Peak.

Jessica Chastain was so drained after filming new horror movie Crimson Peak she quit a subsequent project because she needed time off.

Crimson Peak follows a wannabe author who escapes to a secluded house after suffering a family tragedy in an attempt to come to terms with what’s happened. Unfortunately all is not what it seems, and playing Lady Lucille Sharpe took a huge toll on Jessica.

She told WENN: "I was really excited to play Lucille and I love her when I see the film. But when I finished I was supposed to go off and do another film and I left that film because I just had to take time off. I was so depleted.

"Learning the piano, learning Chopin for someone who's never played; everything about her. There was nothing easy. There was never a day where I was like, 'Oh, this is a fun, light day.’ Every day was so intense.

"I said to (co-star) Tom (Hiddleston), 'Everyone tells me that playing the villain is the most fun and I'm not having fun! What is going on?' Maybe if I was playing a character that got a bit of enjoyment out of the suffering she inflicts on people I would play her again, but at least for a little bit I would rather play more positive characters. She's the darkest character I've ever played."

To study for the role, Jessica read up on the psychology of women similar to Lucille. She also turned to films to get into character.

She said: "Then I watched three movies that inspired me; Misery, Rebecca and Whatever Happened to Baby Jane. They were about women who would do anything for love."

It didn't help that Jessica was shooting two movies at the same time - Crimson Peak and A Most Violent Year. The star admits she must have been crazy to think that she'd be able to fly back and forth between New York and Toronto to make the films.

She added: "I'm in New York and I'm playing Anna (in A Most Violent Year) who's so open and sensual and earthy and fun to be. And then I go to Toronto and I have to play this uptight, wound up woman who doesn't allow love into her life.

"It was really tough because when I would show up on set for Crimson Peak I would want to play Anna in the corset and everything! The first time that happened my dialect coach said, 'You're sounding a bit New York.’"

To help her really embrace the role of Lucille, the actress decorated her film trailer with the most disturbing images she could find.

She explained: "There was a mood board that our costume designer had and the production designer had all these inspirational pictures for what they were doing and I just pasted them everywhere. So every morning when I was going back and forth I would walk into the trailer and go, 'Oh yeah, this is what I'm doing!' That helped me decipher between the characters."

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