The Help star went from living it up at the Academy Awards with her grandma to a second-class citizen in a hostile market place as she filmed scenes for new movie Zero Dark Thirty.
She explains, “I was drinking champagne in my Alexander McQueen dress… The next day I got on a plane, flew 25 hours to India. I landed and as a joke I called the director (Kathryn Bigelow) and I said, ‘I’m here, when do you want me?’ and she said, ‘Come straight to set’.
“I was wearing a robe in a market, filming when I landed. It was pretty crazy… People were pushing me and I’m buying vegetables and the camera’s hidden and I was thinking, ‘I was just at the Oscars!'”
And Chastain quickly learned that even celebrated actresses get poor treatment in the Middle East when filming moved to Jordan: “I went to lunch with three male actors at a restaurant in a hotel and the men were brought menus and I wasn’t and one of the actors had to order for me. It’s a very different place to be.
“It was a pretty liberal city, I think, and the waiter wouldn’t give me a menu. He gave the men menus at my table. Jason (Clarke) ordered for me that day! It was difficult being in that kind of situation. I felt invisible as a woman and I don’t like that.”
But Chastain admits the new movie, about the manhunt for Osama bin Laden, was a thrilling experience – because it enabled her to visit amazing places on her days off.
She adds, “I loved Petra. I actually went on a horse drawn carriage and it was so amazing. I also went to visit the Taj Mahal. I had a couple of days off so I stopped off at the Pyramids in Egypt before going on to London.”