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Jessica Chastain's corset conundrum

Published 19/10/2015

Jessica Chastain
Jessica Chastain

Crimson Peak star Jessica Chastain was overwhelmed by the effect wearing a corset had on her during filming.

Actress Jessica Chastain was desperate for help to get out of her corset while filming Crimson Peak.

The flame-haired beauty stars in Guillermo del Toro's spooky new movie alongside Tom Hiddleston and Mia Wasikowska. With a gothic-Victorian vibe throughout, a mansion setting and ghostly escapades, Jessica's wardrobe full of traditional gowns was certainly apt. However the star admits it was a struggle wearing the pieces, chosen by costume designer Kate Hawley.

“After wearing it for a couple of hours I’d go, ‘Kate, you gotta help me out here! This corset is tight. I can’t move my arms. Is this really what women did?’” Jessica laughed to

Kate did a lot of research to get the costumes spot on for Jessica's alter ego Lady Lucille Sharpe, the mysterious sister of the charming Sir Thomas Sharpe (Hiddleston). The corset meant Jessica's movement was controlled from the hips down, which Kate thinks played a big part in her performance.

“(The) corset starts at the waist and goes up," the fashion expert added. "And it’s all tied but it became part of their character, so she used it with her character.”

Mia too wore restricting ensembles in the role of Edith Cushing, the young lady who falls under the romantic spell of Thomas. Having worn corsets before in period drama Jane Eyre, Kate noticed the blonde star reacted differently to Jessica, as she was used to the tight finish. But one thing Mia couldn't outdo was her co-star's ability to rock a pair of dramatic shoes.

“The seven-inch stripper shoes are probably a little secret,” Kate giggled of the footwear hidden beneath Jessica’s dresses. “She owned it and made that work and would run around on them - up and down staircases and all over. I mean we bought some period boots as well. She was born wearing seven-inch heels.”

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