Jessica Chastain Gives Verdict On Tentative Actors’ Strike Agreement

EXCLUSIVE: Oscar-winning actress Jessica Chastain has given her seal of approval to the tentative agreement reached by SAG-AFTRA with the studios to end the near four-month actors’ strike.

“I’m glad our leadership, the SAG leadership has gotten to a deal they think is fair and just and historic in its own right,” Chastain told Deadline.

Eligible members of the 160,00 strong SAG-AFTRA guild have been voting on the ratification of the proposed new three-year contract since November 14, with the vote running until December 5.

Chastain was talking to Deadline on the Red Carpet of Morocco’s Marrakech Film Festival, where she is jury president this year.

She was speaking less that 24 hours after SAG-AFTRA revealed the full text of the proposed deal. Read Deadline’s coverage and the full Memorandum of Agreement here.

“We’re still waiting to find out what the voters are going to choose – if they’re going to ratify the contract. I’ve looked through it. I do think personally it’s a good deal but of course I only have one vote. It’s important to me what everyone else thinks as well. The beautiful thing about taking a vote, is that everyone gets to have a say.”

Chastain ended up becoming a de facto actors’ strike spokeswoman on the fall festival circuit due to the fact her latest film, Michel Franco’s Memory, secured an interim SAG-AFTRA agreement as an independent production.

This enabled her to hit the red carpet and press conferences in Venice, Toronto, San Sebastian and Zurich, where she spoke up in support of the strike on a number of occasions.

Chastain told Deadline in Marrakech that it was a role that happened by default rather than due to a conscious decision.

“I didn’t choose to be so public about it. It just so happened because my film had an interim agreement, and because so many actors were nervous to speak out, I just ended up being one of the first and I think when you end up being one of the first in that case you really have a big spotlight on yourself,” she said.

Chastain said she checked in with the SAG-AFTRA leadership before hitting the film festival circuit.

“I did my homework. I spoke to the leadership at SAG. I asked them, ‘How can I best support this acting community?’ because SAG is the most important community that I’ve ever been a part of. I would never want to do anything against them, and I only wanted to support them. It was kind of like I became public by default, but I was very happy to support in every way I could.”

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