Chastain and Isaac competed in film
A Most Violent Year director JC Chandor has revealed Jessica Chastain and Oscar Isaac almost competed to out-act each other on the set of the film.
The pair play a couple in the film about a New York businessman and his hard-as-nails wife in the 80s, trying to grow their business while being investigated by the FBI for tax evasion.
Jessica, 37, and Oscar, 35, are old friends and attended Juilliard drama school together.
Chandor revealed: "It made my job so much easier
"Their shared history with each other, both as competitive actors, wanting to almost out-do each other, going back to their drama school days.
"And then they were actually really close friends, so they had this wonderful intimacy, and physical intimacy, which is almost impossible to fake, the way they moved around each other.
"And the way they were so comfortable confronting each other, but always trusting where the other would go.
"You can't create that, and you can't force it, and they were able to build on that foundation. And they're also pretty darn talented on top of it, so with the foundation of that relationship, they were able to deliver some beautiful performances ."
The director, whose previous critically acclaimed films include Wall Street thriller Margin Call and All Is Lost, starring Robert Redford as a man marooned alone on a boat, admitted he was attracted to simple stories.
Chandor said: "I'm trying to tell stories about real people who live on planet earth, who walk with two feet on the ground, and go through most of their days similar to how you and I live our days.
"It's a pattern, and one I'm sure I will break at some point, but right now it's just a beautiful opportunity and canvas where I want to tell stories about real people. But put them through this sort of crucible, where they're making decisions that really will affect what the course of their life is going to be."
A Most Violent Year is in cinemas now.