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Jessica Chastain and Oscar Isaac explain how Harrison Ford brought them together


Jessica Chastain and Oscar Isaac might have Harrison Ford to thank for bringing them together. The stars of J.C. Chandor’s A Most Violent Year have known each other since their school days at Manhattan’s prestigious Juilliard School. But as kids, their first cinematic experiences were blockbusters starring Ford. For Chastain, it was one of the Indiana Jones films; for Isaac, Return of the Jedi.

Isaac is careful not to dwell too long on Star Wars—he and Ford are in J.J. Abrams’ upcoming sequel—but in an exclusive conversation about their early years, interspliced with clips from their current onscreen collaboration, the two actors talk about the personal moments when they decided that acting was something they wanted or needed to do with their lives.


Jessica Chastain on her early life: 'Nobody knows this about me'

Since having her breakout moment four years ago, Jessica Chastain has established herself as Hollywood’s ideal of smart beauty. The Oscar-nominated star of The Help and Zero Dark Thirty, now onscreen as the ’80s-glam, viperish wife of a heating-oil businessman (Oscar Isaac) in A Most Violent Year, is renowned as a workhorse (she appeared in six movies in 2011 and four in 2014). But as the actress reveals, that wasn’t always the case.

“Nobody knows this about me,” says Chastain, 37, in a feature in this week’s EW. “I dropped out of high school. I was not a hard worker. I was a terrible student. Eventually I got my adult diploma, but I did not graduate. And it wasn’t that I just dropped out and never went back—at the end of the year I had too many absences to graduate.” READ FULL STORY

Alex Ebert talks about his 'ominous' score for 'A Most Violent Year'

Alex Ebert, the frontman of Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, won a Golden Globe for his work composing the score to last year’s Robert Redford drama All Is Lost. This year, Ebert has once again partnered with director J.C. Chandor on A Most Violent Year, which takes them off the high seas and into the gritty, crime-ridden world of 1981 New York. READ FULL STORY

National Board of Review selects 'A Most Violent Year' as Best Film

A Most Violent Year, J.C. Chandor’s tense tale of the American dream set against the backdrop of 1982 New York City, vaulted into the Oscar conversation when the National Board of Review selected it as the year’s best film. In addition, Oscar Isaac was named Best Actor—in a tie with Birdman‘s Michael Keaton—and Jessica Chastain won for Best Supporting Actress, boosting the film’s chances in multiple categories.

Birdman garnered some support: Keaton was joined by Edward Norton, who was named Best Supporting Actor. But the film’s director Alexandro Iñárritu lost out to Clint Eastwood’s American Sniper, which, like Chandor’s film, doesn’t open in theaters until the end of December. Richard Linklater’s Boyhood, though it was named one of the year’s best films by the NBR, was otherwise shut out.

Last year, of the 11 films name-checked by the NBR in their Top Films list, only five of them were nominated in the same category by the Academy.

Best Film: A Most Violent Year
Best Director: Clint Eastwood, American Sniper
Best Actor (tie): Oscar Isaac, A Most Violent Year; Michael Keaton, Birdman
Best Actress: Julianne Moore, Still Alice
Best Supporting Actor: Edward Norton, Birdman
Best Supporting Actress: Jessica Chastain, A Most Violent Year READ FULL STORY

Jessica Chastain demands respect in 'A Most Violent Year' clip

In J.C. Chandor’s A Most Violent Year, Oscar Isaac plays Abel, a New York businessman struggling with life in the oh-so-gritty city that was New York in 1981. By Abel’s side is his wife, Anna (Jessica Chastain), whose family plays a role in some of Abel’s business endeavors.

And in a new clip from the film, which is already garnering Oscar buzz, Anna gives Lawrence, played by Chastain’s Interstellar costar David Oyelowo, a lesson in how to be respectful.


Who's in charge in new 'Most Violent Year' trailer?


Technically, A Most Violent Year isn’t set during New York City’s most violent year. According to writer/director J.C. Chandor, that would be 1991—when the crack epidemic led to a spike in violent crime in the city’s worst neighborhoods.

But 1981, in which his film is set, was one of the most dangerous years on record. New York was emerging from the Taxi Driver 1970s, when President Gerald Ford and the federal government had essentially told the bankrupt city to drop dead. “Even though the country was starting to rebound a little bit by then, New York City was still dealing with the horrible repercussions of all the cutbacks of the ’70s,” says Chandor. “It also turns out that it’s just an amazing transition year, with [President] Reagan coming into office. So it just felt like a real explosive time in the city where optimism was starting to creep in again.” READ FULL STORY

'A Most Violent Year' sets release date, joins Oscar race


A Most Violent Year, director J.C. Chandor’s film about a successful New York businessman whose quest for the American Dream is punctured by the gritty realities of 1981 New York, will open Dec. 31 and qualify for this year’s Oscar’s races.

Oscar Isaac plays Abel, the idealistic and well-intentioned gas businessman whose growing profits bump up against the New York underworld. His wife, Anna (Jessica Chastain), has some family connections who might be able to lend him some muscle. Albert Brooks also stars.

The film, distributed by A24, will expand nationally in January. It’s Chandor’s third film, following Margin Call and last year’s All Is Lost. READ FULL STORY

Jessica Chastain and Oscar Isaac in 'A Most Violent Year' -- FIRST LOOK

Director J.C. Chandor turns back the clock to 1981, one of the deadliest years in New York City history, for A Most Violent Year, an action-packed drama (due this fall) about surviving the American dream. Oscar Isaac plays Abel, a principled gas businessman whose growing profits bump up against the New York underworld. His wife, Anna (Jessica Chastain), has some Brooklyn connections who might be able to lend some muscle when rivals start hijacking their gas trucks. “Her father and brother are well-connected on the wrong side of the law and Abel is not,” says Chastain. “There are certain things he won’t do, [so] she thinks maybe she has to. Like, maybe I have to be the man, too.” READ FULL STORY

Casting Net: Julianne Nicholson to play Ethan Hawke's ex-wife; Plus, Albert Brooks joins 'A Most Violent Year,' more

• Julianne Nicholson (August: Osage County) and Emily Mortimer (The Newsroom) have joined the coming-of-age pic Ten Thousand Saints, set in the ’80s in New York City’s Lower East Side. American Splendor directing team Bob Pulcini and Shari Berman have assembled a fairly big cast for the project including Ethan HawkeEmile Hirsch, and Ender’s Game co-stars Asa Butterfield and Hailee Steinfeld. Mortimer will be playing Hawke’s girlfriend and Steinfeld’s mother, while Nicholson has been cast as Hawke’s ex-wife and mother of Butterfield. [THR]


Casting Net: Oscar Isaac goes back to 1981 in 'A Most Violent Year', more

Inside Llewyn Davis lead Oscar Isaac is set to join fellow Julliard classmate Jessica Chastain in A Most Violent Year. Isaac is replacing Javier Bardem (reportedly over a disagreement about the script) in the film, which tells the story of a man who immigrates to the U.S. and works his way up to become a successful businessman. Set in 1981 in New York, the movie will deal with citywide corruption. The Wrap also reports that Stanley Tucci is a potential for the film, which J.C. Chandor (All Is Lost) will direct. Isaac currently has three thrillers in post-production: Mojave with Garrett Hedlund, The Two Faces of January with Kirsten Dunst, and Ex Machina with Domhnall Gleeson. [THR]


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