Daniel Day-Lewis may have been “clothed in immense power” in “Lincoln,” but when it comes to memorable movie lines from the past year, it would be hard to top Jessica Chastain’s forceful explanation of why she happens to be attending a particular CIA briefing in “Zero Dark Thirty.”
When Chastain’s CIA operative, Maya, feels herself being pushed to the margins of decision-making after discovering Osama bin Laden’s location, she tells CIA Director Leon Panetta, “I’m the ... who found this place, sir.”
In the video interview above, the second of three parts, Chastain said she still can’t believe the life that particular line has.
“I would never have imagined that line would hit such a button as it does,” the lead actress Oscar nominee said. “People come up to me and ask me to say it, and I don’t really cuss in real life. It’s a little uncomfortable.”
Musing on the line’s popularity, Chastain said, “I wonder if people erupt in cheers because it’s like the first time that she really comes forward. As an actor, when you see that scene, you justify everything. Maya has actually cussed throughout the script. She has a mouth on her. She’s speaking like that to Panetta, who is the top of the food chain. He can have her fired. Why would she do this? How is this not just a movie moment?
“When you look at the scene, she’s there, she’s been working this for so long,” Chastain continued. “She shows up in Washington ... immediately starts getting ignored, told to sit in the back of the room, not allowed to answer questions that she knows more than anyone else. When someone answers wrong, badly, and they’re touching her stuff ... I kept thinking, ‘Everyone’s touching her stuff.’ When [Panetta] looks at her and says, ‘Who are you?’ like ‘Why would you speak up?’ It’s like, ‘Who are you?’ To me it makes perfect sense that that’s how she would respond.”
See what else she has to say about the role, the moral implications of violence, and being in a film that gets people talking.