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The Independent UK
The Independent UK
Isobel Lewis

Jessica Chastain says Oscar Isaac friendship has ‘never quite been the same’ after Scenes From a Marriage


Jessica Chastain has admitted that her friendship with Oscar Isaac has “never quite been the same” after the pair starred in Scenes From a Marriage together.

In 2021, the actors starred opposite each other in HBO’s relationship drama. Based on Ingmar Bergman’s Swedish TV series of the same name from 1973, the show followed couple Mira Phillips and Jonathan Levy as their marriage falls apart.

In a new interview, Chastain, 46, was asked about her experiences of playing “intensely emotional” characters on stage and screen.

The actor replied that, while her roles in biopic The Eyes of Tammy Faye and Henrik Ibsen’s A Doll’s House on Broadway gave her “a lot of joy”, Scenes From a Marriage had been “very tough”.

She explained to Vanity Fair: “I love Oscar, but the reality is, our friendship has never quite been the same. 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. But there’s so much joy in what I get to do.”

Chastain continued: “There’s a lot of catharsis. I feel like I have the best job in the world because I get to have these experiences. They’re so out of this world and feel like they’re mine.

“But then I live a very quiet life. I don’t have to have these tortured things in my life. I play them and I experience them, and then I come home and I live quietly and peacefully.”

Isaac and Chastain in ‘Scenes From a Marriage’
— (HBO)

In his four-star review of Scenes From a Marriage, The Independent’s Ed Cumming praised Chastain and Isaac’s “incendiary chemistry”.

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“Their performances earn Scenes From a Marriage its place at the table,” he wrote. “Breaking up is hard to do this well. But if you’ve been with your partner for a while and are looking for something comforting to settle down with on a Saturday night, be warned.”

While promoting the show at the Venice Film Festival in 2021, the pair made headlines after their red carpet interactions went viral.

Posing for photos, Isaac, 44, appeared to stroke Chastain’s arm before leaning into her shoulder. Chastain, in turn, gave him a hug and cradled his face with both hands while the two smiled and laughed together.

The clip went viral and was even slowed down on video, with fans marvelling at the actors’ chemistry and friendship.

Commenting on the much-shared moment a year later, Isaac said: “This is not DNA, this is just at a cellular level, and that’s how Jessica and I kind of talk to each other.”

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