Jessica Chastain, the Golden Globe-nominated actress that starred in last year’s film hit “The Help” will play a lead role in an upcoming revival of “The Heiress” in her Broadway debt. The play hasn’t been performed on Broadway since 1995, and Chastain will play Catharine Sloper, the character played by Olivia de Havilland in the 1947 film adaptation. The play will open in the fall, though the theater where it will open has not yet been announced.
In addition to “The Help,” Chastain had a breakout year with her film roles in “Take Shelter,” “The Debt” and “The Tree of Life.” She currently is up for a SAG award, and she has been awarded best-actress honors from the National Board of Review, New York Film Critics Circle, Chicago Film Critics Association and Los Angeles Film Critics Association. But it was her previous stage experience that got her noticed for the part in “The Heiress.”
In a statement, “The Heiress” producer Paula Wagner explained what attracted her to Chastain for the part of Sloper.
“I was immediately struck by Jessica’s talent and skill when I saw her onstage opposite Al Pacino in ‘Salome,’” she said. “She is an actress with that rare ability to transition effortlessly between the stage and screen. Moises Kaufman had the vision to see Jessica as the perfect actress to play one of the great psychologically complex female figures.”
Chastain starred opposite Pacino in a 2006 production of “Salome” in Los Angeles. Kaufman is the director of the play, and is a Tony and Emmy Award nominee. He added some thoughts about Chastain in a statement.
“Jessica Chastain is a great actress with chameleon-like prowess and enormous emotional intelligence,” he said. “I think she’s one of the best actresses of her generation. I’m thrilled to be working with her on ‘The Heiress.’”
Chastain attended the Julliard School, and has additional stage experience in productions of “Othello” and “Rodney’s Wife.”
“The Heiress” was written by Ruth and Augustus Goetz and based upon an 1880 Henry James novel, “Washington Square.” The play first appeared on Broadway in 1947, and ran 410 performances. Three revivals have been staged since, with the most notable run being the 1995 revival, which ran 340 performances and won the Tony Award for Best Revival of a Play.