Jessica Chastain, Jess Weixler like sisters in ‘Rigby’ and real life
Subscribe for unlimited digital access.
Try one month for $1!
Subscribe for unlimited digital access. Try one month for $1!
As students at Juilliard, Jessica Chastain and her friend Jess Weixler were brought together by circumstance.
A loud circumstance.
“We met in class, and we just sort of acknowledged each other,” says Weixler. “But what really brought us together is that we both had opera singer roommates and neither of us could handle it.
“They were always rehearsing. In the beginning, it was lovely and so musical. But then it got loud and Jessica and I said, ‘We have got to get an apartment together.’ ”
“When we started living together, we became Jessica Squared,” says Weixler.
And they never listened to opera music again? “No, one of our best friends now is an opera singer,” she says with a laugh.
The Louisville, Kentucky, native, whose credits include the movies “Teeth” and “Peter and Vandy,” teams up with her friend Chastain again, but this time on the big screen as sisters. Weixler, 33, plays Katy Rigby in “The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby,” now in theaters. The film is the story of a couple (Chastain and James McAvoy) who need to find the love they once shared together after an event threatens to tear them apart.
Weixler is also known for playing Robyn Burdine on the CBS series “The Good Wife.”
Q: While “Eleanor Rigby” is the story of this couple, the upcoming films ‘Him” and “Her” will show their individual perspectives. What did you think of doing the film this way?
A: Magic is probably the wrong word, but it is perfect for now. We’re in the golden age of TV, where people love to binge-watch and know more. I think people will be excited to see this story from each of the perspectives. We’re really showing how men and women deal with things differently. Two people might truly believe they’re experiencing the same thing, but when you see the same scenes shot with different dialogue and even different clothing, it reinforces how memories of an event are very different when you ask different people.
Q: Writer-director Ned Benson actually lived with you and Chastain during the formation of this script, right?
A: True. Ned and Jessica were my roommates while he was writing this and he wrote the sister relationship for us partly based on how we interacted. We’ve been friends for so long that we operate on this honesty level that is just like sisters. By watching us, the writing was seamless. In the film, we’re there for each other just like in real life where we honestly are so concerned that the other person is fine and we’re there to make sure it’s OK. The comfort level between us is obvious.
Q: So how does a girl from Louisville decide to become an actress?
A: Louisville is amazing when it comes to theater. They have the Actors Theater of Louisville. And very early on, I went to plays and got fixated on storytelling. I started with the Walden Theater and we were doing Shakespeare in middle school. I was the kid saying those lines and actually going home and wondering, “What is the meaning of life?” Theater was a religious experience for me in terms of thinking about what humanity is.
Q: And then Chicago played a big part in your story of getting to Juilliard.
A: I didn’t think it was even possible to get into Juilliard. But one weekend, my dad drove me up to Chicago, where Juilliard and several other schools were having auditions. It was a huge trip for me because I hadn’t been to a big city before. We stayed in a hotel and I auditioned for all of these schools — 10 in total — over two days. I got into five of the 10 schools, but one of them was Juilliard. So, I always think that everyone in the Midwest goes to Chicago to make their dreams come true.
Q: What do you do when you find out you’ve been accepted at Juilliard?
A: I actually pulled my cord phone out of the kitchen wall. Remember when we had cord phones?
Q: Will you give us some plot secrets from the new season of “The Good Wife?”
A: No! But I will tell you that Julianne Margulies is one of the coolest and smartest and sweetest women on the planet. When I’m not on set, we play Words with Friends. It’s hard to turn your brain over to a book when you’re trying to stay in character. Puzzles are very good for this in-between time. We’re deep in the throes of Words with Friends. I take so much pride in being neck-and-neck with her.
Q: So no plot points?
A: I can’t talk about plots. Nobody knew that Josh Charles was going to die. It did amaze me that the whole crew knew and no one said a word. One person could have blown it. But everybody kept their mouth shut. I didn’t even tell my family. And then although I knew, I cried when I watched that episode.