Jessica Chastain (born March 29, 1981) is an American film and television actress.
Jessica Chastain was born Jessica Howard in Northern California. She is one of five children. Her stepfather is a firefighter and her mother is a vegan chef. She took her mother's maiden name as her stage name. She attended The Juilliard School in New York City, where she was an active participant in the drama department and starred in several theatrical productions and student film projects.
Her first professional role came in 2004 for a TV movie adaptation of Dark Shadows. She later appeared in such television series as ER, Veronica Mars, Close to Home, and Law & Order: Trial By Jury.
In 2008, she made her film debut as the title role in Jolene, for which she received the Seattle International Film Festival Award for Best Actress.
Her next film, the portrayal of a young Mossad agent in John Madden's The Debt, was premiered at film festivals in 2010 but had its theatrical release delayed until August 2011.
She has a number of other projects scheduled for release in 2011, including Terrence Malick's The Tree of Life and the psychological thriller Texas Killing Fields.
Chastain has also completed a film adaptation of Oscar Wilde's Salome alongside Al Pacino and has filmed supporting roles for other adaptations such as Coriolanus and The Help. Her most recently announced project is John Hillcoat's prohibition era drama, The Wettest County in the World.