A new film with a peculiar title is popping up during commercial breaks, on billboards and in critical praises alike: Zero Dark Thirty.
But, with the film’s subject matter involving a covert government military operation and a terrorist movement, some have understandably compared Maya, its lead character embodied by the magnetic Jessica Chastain, to that of another über popular CIA-based drama: “Homeland.”
When comparing the two roles, Jessica describes Maya and “Homeland” CIA officer Carrie, played by Claire Danes, as “apples & oranges.”
“The only thing they have similar is that they're women working in the CIA," she says. “The character I play is based on a real woman, currently under cover in the CIA.”
Brought to you by the seasoned mind and direction of Kathryn Bigelow, Zero Dark Thirty chronicles the assassination of al-Qaeda terrorist leader Osama bin Laden by the Navy S.E.A.L. Team 6; an operation that was ten years in the making. The title spawns from a military terminology for “30 minutes after midnight.”
Despite her contention that the roles are, in fact, polar opposites, it hasn’t stopped Ms. Chastain from catching the “Homeland” bug that has been feasting on the minds and attention spans of the American viewership public since its debut in October of 2011.
“I've been obsessed with Claire Danes ever since ‘My So Called Life,’” Jessica says, adding the she is in “love” with “Homeland.”
She adds: “I think she's a genius actor, that's [Carrie from “Homeland” is] a fictional character.”
Following Bigelow’s Oscar sweep in 2010 for The Hurt Locker—a story tracking the physical and emotional struggles of a U.S. Army bomb squad unit—Zero Dark Thirty has already caught its fair share of Oscar buzz, including Jessica's performance as the leading lady.
Jessica, whois previously Oscar-nominated for the bubbly interpretation of Celia Foote in The Help, is excited with the well response leading up to the film’s wide release. Still, the most important thing for her is to give credit to the unnamed real officer whom her character is based on.
“There was a lot of responsibility with playing the character cause when you're portraying a real woman” she says. “She's not allowed to get credit for what she's done cause she's undercover so she can't come out and say this is a sacrifice I've made.”
Zero Dark Thirty opens in theaters December 19.