Why it's great to have Jessica Chastain in your corner
Updated 1:54 PM ET, Thu February 22, 2018
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(CNN)"The best movies are the ones that when you leave the theater, your opinion about them keeps evolving."
When Jessica Chastain first Googled the name "Molly Bloom," in prep for the film about the high-stakes poker maven, she fell into a trap.
Images of the person dubbed by the media as a "poker princess" showed a woman in form-fitting clothes, an orange-tinted tan and sky-high stilettos.
Media and society have conditioned people to "vilify and judge women," Chasten said, and "I fell into that."
"I immediately judged her just like [her lawyer] does in the film," she said.
Getting to know Bloom changed Chastain's view of her. In "Molly's Game," Chastain gets to the heart of the woman that many viewed as a tabloid figure.
The movie is a perfect reflection of what Chastain sees as her goal as an actor: to build empathy.
"It's my greatest gratitude to have been afforded a career that teaches me empathy," she said. "And I'm trying to use that gift that I've been given and spread the wealth a little bit now."
Those are more than just words.
As Hollywood has moved toward creating space for more women and people from underrepresented backgrounds to tell their stories, Chastain has put herself into action, as an advocate for women.
Friend and co-star Octavia Spencer, who Chastain called "one of my favorite human beings," recently shared a story about Chastain's dedication to the fight for equal pay for all women.
Per Spencer, in negotiating for their upcoming comedy, Chastain insisted that the two negotiate together, after learning the pay disparity between men and women was even worse for women of color.
They ended up making five times what they asked for, according to Spencer.
Chastain may make her living being a voice for her characters on screen, but her actions prove that an exercise in empathy doesn't have to end off screen.