Belfast Telegraph

Chastain inspired Pacino's movie

Al Pacino has revealed the inspiration for his movie Wilde Salome was leading lady Jessica Chastain.

Talking about why he tackled the complicated examination of Oscar Wilde's once-forbidden play about illicit love and revenge, he said: "There is Jessica Chastain, who I really believe is the reason I made the movie."

Pacino was talking ahead of the film's long-awaited world premier in a side event at the Venice Film Festival.

He said: "As soon as I met her, and saw her, I thought: This is the person to play Salome and I must get her to play it before the world picks up on her - which it has done - and turns her into the next big star."

Wilde Salome has been so long in the making that the role was Jessica's first on film. She is, of course, by now a familiar face to movie-goers, having appeared in Terrence Malick's The Tree Of Life, along with roles in The Debt and The Help.

Jessica said she and Pacino workshopped the play for over a year, in New York and Los Angeles, then rehearsed for a month on stage before filming on a soundstage, which made her very familiar with the character.

"I was always thinking of Salome, and I was taking dance lessons, and everything I could do to try to approach it," she told a news conference in Venice.

The movie weaves together a documentary on Wilde's life, footage of a reading of the play in Los Angeles and a film version of the play.

"It's not a documentary. It's not a film. It's a much more ambitious and complicated gesture of cinema," Pacino said. "I wanted to make a kind of collage."

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