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Jessica Chastain: I've worked so hard

Jessica Chastain's success in Hollywood is the result of "hard work" rather than good luck.

The red-haired Oscar-nominee discussed her success with US talk show host Ellen DeGeneres yesterday.

Jessica is currently starring in two of the top ten movies in America, appearing as CIA operative Maya in Zero Dark Thirty and horror film Mama.

She feels blessed to have played a variety of roles in so many different genres.

"I feel really lucky," Jessica said to Ellen. "I'm really happy. There's the whole myth of the overnight success. I did theatre. I went to Juilliard [theatre school]. I've been working hard for a long, long time."

The 35-year-old is hotly tipped to scoop the best actress gong at the Oscars on February 24 thanks to her role in Zero Dark Thirty. Jessica found filming the action movie thrilling as she got the chance to be the "badass" on set.

"Last year I got to play Celia Foote in The Help. I love her so much. And then this year I play someone who's so closed," Jessica explained. "[In Zero Dark Thirty] I'm playing a woman who really exists. And she's currently undercover... in the CIA. Everyone dismissed her in the beginning because... they thought she's this young kid, she doesn't know what she's talking about, this is a boys' club. But she stays on in this lead and ends up involved in blackmail. She's so badass. It was so much fun to play her."

Jessica joked that the transformation from Hollywood star to tough CIA agent was helped by the use of props. In particular, Jessica used blacked out aviator sunglasses to help her get in character.

"Yes, I feel so much tougher now," Jessica laughed, as she showed how to don the aviators appropriately. "Now there's perfecting the whole take off too."

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