Disney and Dreamworks decided to hold a little Soho House holiday party for The Help -- the already much-nominated movie and Oscar hopeful -- a movie that needs little help in this area, as already the runaway hit's being called that happy cliche "the little movie that could." Globe nominees Jessica Chastain, Octavia Spencer and Viola Davis were present, as well as producer Chris Columbus and director Tate Taylor, Disney executives and many journalists.
THR got a chance to chat with the lovely and forthright Chastain, wearing a tweedy Armani pantsuit that she said "makes me feel like I'm channeling Katherine Hepburn." By her side was Armani's celebrity dresser extraordinaire Wanda McDaniel, beaming because Chastain has pulled some Armani for the next two months' round of events. She's definitely high on the designer A list wish list.
How did the diminuative Chastain morph into the bombshell Southern coquette she plays in The Help? "I ate everything in sight," she laughed. "I mean, everything. I gained fifteen pounds! Then the costumes were padded. Then they added corsets, to create a big bust and a tiny waist. We need to thank feminism for the fact that we don't need to wear corsets anymore!" The Help was only one of a group of films that Chastain was nominated for this year, which includes The Debt, Tree of Life, Take Shelter and Coriolanus -- and she doesn't really look like any of her characters, with her bright red hair, dewy skin and red lipstick.
Chastain is a fashion girl, for sure: to a recent trip to the Marakkesh Film Festival, she donned one of the more ornate looks from the much touted spring 2012 Louis Vuitton collection, and she's worn looks from many designers, American and European. She concurs that probably the best, most flattering dress was the yellow tiered chiffon gown she wore to her red carpet debut at the Venice Film Festival, flocked by Brad Pitt and Sean Penn. "Yes, that was my favorite dress too," Chastain told THR. "It was particularly built for my body, and I chose the color. It's the look I've had the most input on since all my films started coming out."
Now the SAG, Critics Choice and Golden Globe nominee will need a lot more special dresses, a fact she's quite aware of. "The first thing you think when they call your name is, 'Oh my God, I got nominated!' The next is, 'WHAT am I going to wear?'" Lucky for her, her stylist Elizabeth Stewart is already on the case.