Jessica Chastain explains how even she got tongue-tied when meeting Meryl Streep. The actress, who first rose to prominence in the early 2010s with films like The Help and Zero Dark Thirty, has made a name for herself by starring in a wide variety of films. Throughout her career, she has bridged the gap between more arthouse-oriented performances like appearing in Terrence Malick’s poetic The Tree of Life or Aaron Sorkin’s directorial debut Molly’s Game and big-budget popcorn blockbusters including It: Chapter Two and X-Men: Dark Phoenix.
Although she has yet to achieve the decades-long success of Streep, Chastain is a decorated actress in her own right. She has been nominated for 2 Oscars and 5 Golden Globes, winning a Globe in 2013 for Zero Dark Thirty. She has also had a banner year in 2021, all the way through to her upcoming lead role in the action film The 355, which hits theaters tomorrow, January 7. In addition to leading the buzzy biopic The Eyes of Tammy Faye last year, she also starred opposite Oscar Isaac in the HBO remake of the classic miniseries Scenes from a Marriage.
While appearing on The Late Late Show with James Corden to promote The 355, Jessica Chastain shared an embarrassing story about her inability to meet her idols. She met Streep in a theater lobby after she performed in a play in New York and instantly became tongue-tied. When Streep approached her and told her how wonderful she was in the play, all Chastain could say was “Thank you so much, it means so much to me that you came. Bye bye.” before she “walked away like an idiot.” Read the full quote below:
I actually prefer not to meet anyone that I idolize because I’m just awkward… I had a very embarrassing moment with Meryl Streep, to be honest. I had a terrible, terrible awkward… I just want to save everyone the awkwardness of me being like, “I don’t know what to do with myself.” Like, I really feel so uncomfortable.
I was doing a play in New York, I came offstage and everyone’s there in the lobby and I was with my friend and I was just kinda like, “Is that Meryl Streep?” And they said, “Yes, that’s Meryl Streep.” And then she turns and looks at me and everything starts to kinda go crazy in my head, and she walks toward me like we know each other and then she says “Jessica, you were so wonderful in this play.”
And I literally, I didn’t even know how to function. I said, “Thank you so much, it means so much to me that you came. Bye bye.” And I walked away, like an idiot.
Apparently, having appeared in over 11 prestigious awards show programs that also feature Meryl Streep does not prevent even an A-lister from getting starstruck. Streep is such a legendary figure in Hollywood that it makes perfect sense. Not everyone can be as cool, calm, and collected as Jennifer Lawrence, who recently told a story about calling Streep the GOAT on the set of Don’t Look Up and realizing too late that Streep thought it was an insult.
It’s rather a surprise that Chastain has never officially worked with Meryl Streep on a project. The only credit they share is that they both participated in the documentary This Changes Everything in 2018, which didn’t require them to interact in any way. Surely, the two will be asked to work together at some point soon, because given their star power it seems inevitable. Hopefully, then Jessica Chastain can work on her people skills and redeem her awkward moment.
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