Belfast Telegraph

Jessica Chastain: I was a truant

Jessica Chastain has revealed she was a “terrible student”, and even dropped out of high school.

The 37-year-old actress has made a name for herself as one of Hollywood’s leading actresses over the past few years, with roles in movies including Zero Dark Thirty and The Help.

But Jessica admits her work ethic is a fairly recent addition to her life, and she found it difficult to focus when she was at school.

“Nobody knows this about me,” Jessica told Entertainment Weekly magazine. “I dropped out of high school. I was not a hard worker. I was a terrible student. Eventually I got my adult diploma, but I did not graduate. And it wasn’t that I just dropped out and never went back—at the end of the year I had too many absences to graduate.”

But while some students would choose to hit the beach or go to a party when they missed a day of school, Jessica had a more eccentric way to spend her time.

And her choice of how to kill time was a indication of her future career choice.

“I would cut school and sit in my car, reading Shakespeare,” she said.

However, Jessica is hoping that revealing the truth about her academic pitfalls will inspire others.

She says that while she used to believe she was lacking in intelligence, she now knows she just wasn’t cut out for school.

“I thought that I wasn’t an intelligent person because I did so poorly,” Jessica said. “There are kids out there that aren’t doing well in school—and I hope they never think it means they’re stupid. It’s all about finding where your interest lies and finding what you’re good at.”

It was starring in theatre productions in her local Bay Area, including taking on the lead in a 1998 version of Romeo and Juliet, that caused Jessica to realise where her passion lay.

And the actress’ enthusiasm for literature and acting encouraged her to audition for the world-famous Juilliard drama school.

After being accepted when she was 22, Jessica found her world turned upside down.

“I got to Juilliard and I’d never been around literature like that,” Jessica said. “It completely opened me up.”

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