Jessica Chastain wants women to be better represented in movies.
The Woman Walks Ahead star was a juror during the 2017 Cannes Film Festival in France — where Sofia Coppola won Best Director for The Beguiled — and used her platform to give her honest opinion of many of the festival’s films, and in particular, how the female roles were depicted.
“I do believe that if you have female storytelling you also have more authentic female characters,” the 40-year-old actress pointed out during a press conference. “This is the first time I’ve watched 20 films in 10 days, and I love movies, and the one thing I really took away from this experience is how the world views women from the female characters that I saw represented.”
“It was quite disturbing to me, to be honest,” Chastain critiqued. “There are some exceptions, I will say. But, for the most part, I was surprised by the representation of female characters on screen in these films.”
“I do hope that when we include more female storytellers, we will have more of the women that I recognize in my day-to-day life: ones that are proactive, have their own agencies, don’t just don’t react to the men around them,” she added. “They have their own point of view.”
After the powerful message, director Ava DuVernay was one of the first to commend Chastain, sharing a video of the speech, tweeting, “Say that, @jes_chastain.”
Watch Chastain’s message in DuVernay’s tweet below.
Following DuVernay’s tweet, several other stars praised Chastain’s message.
“On the jury at Cannes, had the platform to say whatever she wanted, and spoke her truth!” Mindy Kaling tweeted.
“YES @jes_chastain YESSSSSS,” Debra Messing wrote. “Thank you for using you voice so powerfully and effectively.” ❤️.”
“Truly badass,” tweeted Saturday Night Live star Aidy Bryant.
This Is Us‘ Milana Vayntrub tweeted, “f yes. Thanks friend!” in response to the video DuVernay shared.
“Then all the greying Frenchmen probably like ‘she’s hungry I bet! Get her a ?! We have such good roles for nude women,'” Lena Dunham wrote.
[email protected]_chastain ? – Then all the greying Frenchmen probably like “she’s hungry I bet! Get her a ?! We have such good roles for nude women.”
— Lena Dunham (@lenadunham) May 30, 2017
Women in film has long been a priority for Chastain. Late last year, the actress opened up to ET about her 2016 film, Miss Sloane, explaining that the depth of the role is what most drew her to the character.
“Here’s a woman who is over-prepared, and ambitious. We’re not used to seeing women play these kind of characters,” she said. “I’m also really pleased to see a film where she mentors other women.”
Watch the video below for more.