Falling for acting at 7 after watching a production of "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat", Jessica (Michelle) Chastain then attended the Juilliard School and became a member of its Drama Division's Group 32, thanks to a scholarship provided by the late Robin Williams. During her time studying in the institution, she was actively involved in several theatrical productions and student film projects. After graduating she left her hometown New York for California and started auditioning for roles. Landing her TV debut as Carolyn Stoddard on "Dark Shadows", the feature unfortunately was never aired.
Refusing to give up, Chastain next scored a guest stint on "ER", which was followed by minor parts on "Veronica Mars", "Close to Home", and "Law & Order: Trial By Jury". She began receiving the attention of several casting directors after playing on Al Pacino's new production of "Salome". In 2008, she made her film debut in drama "Jelone" and was praised for her portrayal of its title character, which at the same time also won her the Seattle International Film Festival Award for Best Actress.
After few follow-up features, Chastain was billed to film roles in seven big screen flicks in 2011 alone, namely "Take Shelter", "Coriolanus", "The Tree of Life", "The Help", "The Debt", "Wilde Salome", and "Texas Killing Fields". In fact, it was drama "The Help" which propelled her to stardom. Not only she received praise from critics, but also earned nominations for the Academy Award, Golden Globe, Screen Actors Guild Award, and BAFTA, all of which for the category of Best Supporting Actress. The following years, the March 24, 1977 born actress could be seen acting in "Lawless", "Zero Dark Thirty", "Mama", "Miss Julie", "Interstellar", also "A Most Violent Year". She, moreover, lent her voice to Gia the Jaguar of the 2012 "Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted".