Jessica Chastain has spoken out in the past about the limited types of roles available for women on screen. The actress has already called out Marvel (for offering her a “boring civilian” part in Iron Man 3) and Russell Crowe (who said mature women had plenty of roles to pick from).
Now she’s taking issue with what she views as the over-sexualisation of female action heroes. “If you look at films like Elektra and Aeonflux, the problem that studios have is that they try to make kickass women very sexualised. They have to be in some catsuit,” she tells this week’s edition of Radio Times.
“But if you look at the most incredible female roles, like Ripley in Alien, she is a very sexy woman but she’s not wearing a lot of make-up. She’s in a T-shirt and jeans. What’s sexy about her is how capable she is. Same with Jennifer Lawrence in Hunger Games – she’s not wearing a catsuit, either.”
The Martian star went on to stress that cinema audiences are more interested in seeing an “intelligent” character, rather than one who is reliant on her sexuality. “Studios have misjudged it in the past, and thought audiences weren’t interested in seeing a woman in an action role who’s a capable, intelligent woman and isn’t only leaning on her sex.”
Chastain’s latest film, The Martian, sees her star as Commander Lewis, the leader of a manned mission to Mars alongside Matt Damon who she sets out to rescue after he’s abandoned during a failed expedition. “If the female character isn’t as interesting as the male character, I’m not interested,” she explains. “Linda Hamilton in Terminator 2 was incredible. I remember the opening shot of her in that tank top doing those pull-ups, and I remember being a little girl watching her and thinking, ‘This is amazing. I want to be her.'”
Read the full interview in this week’s Radio Times, available in shops and on the newsstand from Tuesday 29th September