Jessica Chastain concluded her time as a jury member of the 2017 Cannes Film Festival by speaking candidly about a trend she found “quite disturbing” after watching 20 films in 10 days.
“The one thing I really took away from this experience is how the world views women, from the female characters that I saw represented,” Chastain said during a press conference.
“And it was quite disturbing to me to be honest,” she continued.
— Ava DuVernay (@ava) 29 May 2017
The star’s comments came after Sofia Coppola made history as the second woman ever to win Best Director at the coveted film festival.
Coppola was honored for her work directing “The Beguiled,” a remake of the 1971 Civil War drama about an injured Yankee soldier who seeks shelter at an all-girls boarding school in rural Virginia. The film stars Nicole Kidman, Kirsten Dunst, Elle Fanning, Oona Laurence, Angourie Rice and Colin Farrell.
The actress was quick to point out that there were some exceptions to what she saw. “But for the most part, I was surprised with the representation of female characters on screen in these films,” she added.
Chastain’s comments soon went viral, with more female leaders in the entertainment industry celebrating her candor.
— Debra Messing (@DebraMessing) 30 May 2017
— Alicia Malone (@aliciamalone) 29 May 2017
The star concluded her remarks by calling for the festival to include more female filmmakers so the jury can watch women “that are proactive, have their own agency [and] don’t just react to the men around them.”
Chastain has been a vocal supporter for women in entertainment, speaking out about the gender wage gap that plagues the industry. In April, the “Zero Dark Thirty” star said in an interview with Variety that she no longer accepts roles unless she knows what the male stars are making.
“I’m not taking jobs anymore where I’m getting paid a quarter of what the male co-star is being paid,” she told Variety. “I’m not allowing that in my life.” In 2015, the actress said she made a fraction of what costar Matt Damon earned for their work in the Academy Award-nominated film, “The Martian.”