(Brent) #1



Jessica Chastain’s lobbyist is the
hero we need right now

character, Elizabeth Sloane, is hyper-competitive.
“If Sloane was a man we’d be like, ‘I know this
guy,’” says Chastain. “He’s gonna get things done,
he’s the rebel, he’s the renegade. But we don’t see a
woman in this kind of role. Someone asked me
yesterday, is that because women aren’t like this?
I just think that for some reason our industry and
our media hasn’t shown women that way.”
The protagonist of John Madden’s Miss Sloane
is a Washington DC lobbyist for right-wing trade
initiatives who armours herself with high fashion,
higher heels and Machiavellian plans. Her look is
based on one of the “formidable” real lobbyists
Chastain met (“She was so done it put me
off-guard,” she recalls of one), but Sloane’s
drug-abusing, escort-using control freakery is all
her own work. She’s offered a job by Mark Strong’s
idealist to ight for gun control legislation and
accepts, though it’s not clear she’s a true believer.
For Chastain, it is a story whose time has
come: “At irst, I thought it would be interesting
because of the gun violence in the United States.”
But the recent US Presidential election made the
character even more relevant. “After the irst debate
the big criticism against Hillary Clinton was that
she was over-prepared, which I’ve never heard
anyone say about a man. I think we as a society
have dificulty with female ambition and women
who don’t apologise for knowing what they’re
talking about. People know I’m passionate about
interesting roles for women, [yet] I still get scripts
from directors I’d love to work with, and I’m like,
‘Are you kidding me? She’s the set dressing!’”
The often ruthless Sloane — who is anything
but set dressing — gradually inds her methods
challenged, in particular by Gugu Mbatha-Raw’s
campaigner, Esme. “What Gugu’s doing is the heart
of the ilm,” says Chastain. “Before her, people
were just collateral damage [to Elizabeth]. She’ll
sacriice herself, she’ll sacriice everyone around her.
But Esme is the irst time she’s forced to confront
other people’s feelings and how she’s responsible.”
Despite Sloane’s methods, Chastain sees her as
a positive, if unlikely, role model. “What we realise
is she will sacriice herself because she’s gotta
accomplish what she set out to, and I think that’s a
really good role model for men and women right
now: Sloane at the end of the movie; not necessarily
at the beginning!” Dogged, driven and adaptable,
Miss Sloane could just be the irst in a new
breed of political heroes.

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