Jessica Chastain on life, the universe and Interstellar

Jessica Chastain, one of the stars of forthcoming sci-fi flick Interstellar, has been talking to New York Magazine about working with Christopher Nolan and filmmaking.

Nolan, the film’s writer and director, is notorious for keeping details of his films secret before they’re released, and his stars are always sworn to secrecy.

Among the details that we know so far, is that an astronaut, played by Matthew McConaughey, must go where nobody has gone before and travel through space to find a new home for the human race, before a decaying Earth becomes uninhabitable. Chastain plays his grown-up daughter, and the trailer suggests she has her own parallel storyline on Earth while he’s still in space.

Parallel universe

So, with this secrecy in mind, there’s not much about Interstellar that Chastain (Zero Dark Thirty, The Help) is allowed to say. The interviewer has a good crack at getting her to inadvertently reveal some spoilers, veiling a question about the film’s plot behind one about her other new films, Him and Her, which tell the same story from two different perspectives. "With the parallel narratives, is it almost like Interstellar: Her and Interstellar: Him? the interviewer asks.

"I can’t really say whether or not my character appears in space, but with the cast as big as it is, I’m really curious to see how Chris pieces everything together," she says, dodging the question completely.

More than a movie about space

However, she does suggest that while space obviously plays a central role in the film, human experience has an equally important part. “What I loved so much about this script is that I felt like it was much more than a movie about outer space,” she reveals. “For me, it was so much about the human heart, and very Tree of Life-esque in that way.”

Along with his penchant for keeping secrets, Nolan is also seen as quite a serious dude, but Chastain argues that while she’s never caught him bopping to Miley Cirus, he’s a funny guy.

"He’s super funny, and that’s what’s so disarming about him," says the actress. "When you meet him at first, he’s someone you just don’t want to disappoint. He believes so much in you, and you believe in him, and you don’t want to be the one to make a mistake." (Many actors have said similar things – it sounds as if disappointing Christopher Nolan feels like disappointing your parents.)

"So it’s really surprising on set," Chastain explains, "where everything is so organized and on schedule and professional, when every so often he’ll say something that’s hysterical. It completely comes out of nowhere, and that was my favorite thing about him."

She was also happy to find that Nolan keeps his family around him when he’s filming: “I like the idea that you can continue your life as you’re making a film. For me, films are supposed to be about life, so we shouldn’t stop it to go into some deep, dark professional place."

Interstellar is released in November. Check out the trailer below and you'll see what Jessica means about the emotional impact...

Read the full interview at Vulture.