Jessica Chastain Replaced by Rooney Mara in 'The Secret Scripture'


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Jessica Chastain has apparently dropped out of The Secret Scripture and will be replaced by Rooney Mara.

Back in March The Irish Independent reported that Jeremy Irons (The Mission, Reversal of Fortune) and Jonathan Rhys Meyers (August Rush, Match Point, The Tudors) were in negotiations to join Chastain and Vanessa Redgrave (As You Like It, Atonement, Julia) in the adaptation of Sebastian Barry's award-winning novel.

The project has been in the works for over two years with Chastain signing on about a year ago. Filming was set to occur entirely in Ireland over the summer.

But on Wednesday Cineuropa reported that Mara, not Chastain, is in contract negotiations to star alongside Irons and Redgrave.

In other news, filming has been pushed back to autumn 2014 and Jack Reynor (Delivery Man, Glassland, Transformers: Age of Extinction) is also in negotiations to join the cast.

Published in 2008, The Secret Scripture is the diary of a nearly-100-year-old woman's extended stay at an Irish psychiatric hospital. The novel made the Man Booker Prize shortlist and won the prestigious Costa Award and James Tait Black Memorial Prize.

Dublin native Jim Sheridan (Dreamhouse, In the Name of the Father, My Left Foot) is signed on to direct the project. The screenplay was written by the late Johnny Ferguson (Fallout, Gangster No. 1.)

Chastain has been acting since 2004 but it wasn't until she appeared in 2011's The Help that she gained widespread recognition. That role earned her an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress.

The following year Chastain's star rose even higher when she landed the lead role in Zero Dark Thirty. She won the Golden Globe Award for Best Actress and received an Academy Award nomination in the same category.

She went on to star in the three-film drama series The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby as well as Mama and Salomé.

It's no wonder that Chastain didn't have time for The Secret Scripture given her upcoming projects. The list includes Blonde, Crimson Peak (with Tom Hiddleston and Mia Wosikowska,) Interstellar (with Anne Hathaway and Matthew McConaughey,) Miss Julie (with Colin Farrell and Samantha Morton,) A Most Violent Year, and The Zookeeper's Wife.

Mara rose to fame in 2011's The Social Network and followed that up with the starring role in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo opposite Daniel Craig. In 2013 she starred in Side Effects with Jude Law, Channing Tatum, and Catherine Zeta-Jones. Also that year she joined Amy Adams, Scarlett Johansson, Joaquin Phoenix, and Olivia Wilde in the star-studded cast of the critically acclaimed Her.

Mara's list of upcoming projects isn't quite as long as Chastain's: Carol (with Cate Blanchett,) Pan (with Hugh Jackman and Amanda Seyfried,) Trash (with Martin Sheen,) and an untitled Terrence Malick project with Christian Bale, Cate Blanchett, Michael Fassbender, Ryan Gosling, Val Kilmer and Natalie Portman.

In late June it was announced that Mara would produce and may star in the film adaptation of Amanda Lindhout's A House in the Sky, a memoir chronicling the author's 15-month imprisonment in Somalia.

Image via Wikimedia Commons