Jessica Chastain and Oscar Isaac’s friendship has ‘never quite been the same’ since ‘Scenes From a Marriage’

Oscar Isaac holds Jessica Chastain around her waist as the two smile and pose on a formal red carpet
Jessica Chastain says her relationship with longtime friend Oscar Isaac morphed after they starred together in “Scenes From a Marriage.”
(Joel C Ryan / Invision / Associated Press)
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Turns out getting fake-divorced from someone has real-life effects.

Jessica Chastain recently opened up about how her longtime friendship with fellow actor Oscar Isaac transformed after the two starred in the 2021 HBO drama “Scenes From a Marriage.”

“‘Scenes From a Marriage’ was very tough. And I love Oscar, but the reality is, our friendship has never quite been the same,” Chastain told Vanity Fair. “We’re going to be OK, but after that, I was like, I need a little bit of a breather. There was so much I love you, I hate you in that series.”

The two worked so closely together, “It’s not really two performances, it’s one performance,” he says. “We’re performing the character of a marriage.”

Aug. 9, 2022

In the miniseries, which was a remake of the 1973 Ingmar Bergman TV program of the same name, Chastain and Isaac played a couple whose marriage deteriorates over the course of time.


The real-life duo met while attending Juilliard together in the early 2000s and have frequently discussed their off-screen relationship.

“Oscar I’ve known for 20 years,” Chastain told People in 2021. “We have the same process. When I got the scripts, I knew immediately it was going to be like a play, because most of it’s just him and I talking for an hour, sometimes not calm.”

Isaac told the The Times in 2022 that his friendship helped him tap into the taxing role of portraying half of a couple with years of history.

Written and directed by Hagai Levi and starring Oscar Isaac and Jessica Chastain, this version left our critic dreading, not relishing, each episode.

Sept. 23, 2021

“Getting to know somebody, getting to understand them as a person, as an actor ... We didn’t have that with Jessica, with our having so much history together,” the “Dune” star said. “People [in this line of work] get so ambitious that they just wanna do their thing at whatever cost. And so, the fact that she and I had trust in each other, our kids play together, you know, it’s just a completely — for better and worse — a completely entwined relationship.”

Isaac and Chastain made headlines while promoting the Emmy-nominated series at the 2021 Venice Film Festival. In a viral video, the two were shown to have incredible red-carpet charisma as Isaac planted a kiss on Chastain’s arm while she wrapped him in an embrace.

“We’re both married to other people, we’ve been friends for more than 20 years. If it hasn’t happened yet, it’s not gonna happen,” the Oscar winner said after the moment went viral. “Sorry to tell everybody, because I know people got very excited by this.”


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