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Jessica Chastain was the darling of Deauville Friday night, accepting a career honor from incoming Cannes president Pierre Lescure at the opening ceremony just three short years after receiving the newcomer award at the festival.
“I’m such a fan of French cinema. I take so much inspiration from your filmmakers, writers, actors and actresses. To be welcomed and encouraged by you is a dream come true for me,” she said, as she stood onstage with legendary directors Costa-Gavras, Andre Techine, Claude Lelouch and Jean-Pierre Jeunet.
In his speech, Lescure, whose tenure officially started in July, called Chastain an “incredible talent” and praised her ability to stay in the spotlight without having to court the paparazzi lens.
“More than anyone else you’ve kept a certain mystery and distance that cinema needs in this digital age, where everything is out in the open,” he said. “You’re famous around the world after having been the least known of the new kids on the block, and perhaps most impressive in your young but important career is your collection of roles and your ability to disappear inside your roles. You have a fascinating discretion.”
“I dream that many years from now you will have continued this incredible collection of roles on stage and screen all the while hiding your life. If you can do that you will be a role model,” Lescure stated.
Her career has skyrocketed since the newcomer award at the festival in 2011. During an interview earlier in the day, Chastain discussed how she tries to manage the media attention.
“I’m really lucky that normally paparazzi don’t wait outside my home. Sometimes they try to take pictures of me and my boyfriend, and that’s uncomfortable,” she said, adding that when they waited for her every day outside of The Heiress stage door, it was mutually beneficial. “It wasn’t very invasive, and they took their pictures before I walked into the theater. If anything it was always promoting the play. Yes, they’re taking a picture of me in this jacket or with this bag, but they’re also talking about the play, which then sells tickets.”
However, she said she found the recent dissemination of celebrity nude photos unsettling. “It’s an invasion of privacy. I was really disturbed that it was all women, successful women,” she said. “The Internet has changed a lot of privacy issues — especially if you ask, why are women in particular being targeted? And that’s upsetting to me.”
“I’ve kind of come into the business when, for independent cinema, you have to do publicity. I remember Al Pacino talking to me about when he was working in the 70s he never did publicity. The industry requirements have changed,” she said. “I’ve just embraced social media, and before I was scared of it. I feel like you can lay the groundwork and the boundaries of what you want to talk about with it.”
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