Jessica Chastain to star in Liv Ullmann’s film of ‘Miss Julie’

This post has been corrected, as detailed below.

Jessica Chastain is currently on Broadway in “The Heiress,” playing Catherine Sloper, a rich girl with boyfriend and daddy problems.

Now Variety reports that she’s been tapped to play another classic stage rich girl with those problems -- the title role in a film adaptation of August Strindberg’s “Miss Julie,” to be directed by Liv Ullmann.


“The Heiress,” Ruth and Augustus Goetz’s 1947 play drawn from “Washington Square,” Henry James’ novel about the upper crust in mid-1800s Manhattan, is scheduled to end its limited run Feb. 9.

“Miss Julie” might keep Chastain in the 19th century -- if Ullmann decides to maintain the original time frame. Strindberg wrote the play in 1888, setting it in a manor house on his Swedish home turf.

Colin Farrell has been cast as Chastain’s love interest, Jean -- the valet of Miss Julie’s ominous but unseen father, the Count. Samantha Morton will complete the rancid sexual triangle as the household’s cook, who’s been planning to marry Jean. The play packs a double wallop -- class warfare and war between the sexes-- into a single summer night.

Helen Mirren starred in a 1971 television version, and Mike Figgis directed a 1999 film starring Saffron Burrows and Peter Mullan.

The Geffen Playhouse will tackle “Miss Julie” this spring in a new adaptation by Neil LaBute with Jo Bonney directing. It’s scheduled to begin previews April 23 and open May 1 in the Audrey Skirball Kenis Theater. LaBute is transplanting the drama to turf that recalls F. Scott Fitzgerald’s “The Great Gatsby” -- Long Island before the stock market crash of 1929.

In a 2007 production adapted and directed by Stephen Sachs, L.A.'s Fountain Theatre relocated “Miss Julie” to Mississippi in 1964 and introduced an interracial element.

Not to be a spoiler for those unfamiliar with the play, but something really, really bad happens to a pet canary. The humans don’t fare very well either.

[For the record, Feb. 1, 2013, 1:55 p.m.: A previous version of this post misspelled director Liv Ullmann’s last name as Ullman in the headline and article.]


Strindberg’s ‘Julie’ feels at home in the South

Figgis finds compassion for Strindberg’s ‘Miss Julie’

Jessica Chastain’s ‘The Heiress’ on Broadway: What did the critics think?