Jessica Chastain on the Confusion of Love and Pain in ‘Crimson Peak’

     October 14, 2015

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Jessica Chastain has tackled an impressive array of roles yet none are quite as beguiling and chilling as Lucille Sharpe in Crimson Peak.

Set in 1901, the gothic horror centers on the relationship between Thomas Sharpe (Tom Hiddleston), his new bride Edith (Mia Wasikowska) and his sister (Chastain) as they reside in the Sharpe family mansion, Crimson Peak. When Edith raises questions about the house’s sinister history, Lucille goes to great lengths to ensure her and her brother’s secrets stay locked away.

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Image via Universal Pictures

The Guillermo del Toro directed film features visually stunning backdrops, costumes that evoke powerful imagery and a commentary on the dangers of repression. Though shockingly gruesome at times, there’s a softness to the story that’s seldom found in modern supernatural films. Adorned in insect like attire, Lucille is both alluring and venomous. She seemingly shuns the conventions of the time, looking to no one for approval. Yet deep down, she’s aching for affection and seeks it out in unfathomable ways.


During my video interview with Chastain, the Oscar-nominated actress talked about looking into psychology research to play Lucille and the character’s dark history of pain and abuse. She also discussed playing a woman who longs for intimacy but finds it in the wrong places. The star also expanded on previous comments she’s made about the role of dynamic women on screen and applauded the way female characters are constructed in Crimson Peak. She also touched on the decision to include shots of Lucille’s bedroom, which conveys elements of her personality.

Jessica Chastain:

  • Speaks about delving into psychology research to play Lucille.
  • The character’s relationship to pain and suffering.
  • Portraying powerful women on-screen.
  • Working with Guillermo on learning about Lucille’s history and showing parts of her personality through the set design.

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