Jessica Chastain Talks Robin Williams, Sister's Suicide

Kimberly RipleyLife

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Jessica Chastain attended the prestigious Juilliard School thanks to a scholarship provided by the late Robin Williams. She feels not only gratitude for the late comic's generosity, but like she holds a kinship with him and his family as well. Chastain lost her younger sister to suicide.

It's a topic she doesn't speak openly about, but alludes to when being particularly insightful. During a recent interview with InStyle magazine, she remarked about how the suicide of her sister--who suffered from depression--changed everything about her.

"It completely changed the person I am," she says. "A movie, Oscars, a dress, if someone thinks I'm stupid…I realized nothing is that important."

Jessica Chastain never met Robin Williams, but has always vowed to somehow repay his generosity. She hopes to somehow carry on his legacy.

"I always thought in some way I would have a chance to pay him back," she says. "It was a very strange thing to have never met him. I didn't want to be stalkerish, but then you always question yourself: Did I do enough? I'm hoping there's a way to continue his legacy and keep the scholarship going."

Robin Williams likely saw his repayment in Jessica Chastain's success as an actress. She starred in six films in 2011, and that signified her true emergence as an A-List actress. One of those films was The Help, for which she received her first Academy Award.

Jessica Chastian most recently appeared on the big screen alongside Matthew McConaughey in Interstellar. She prefers seeing strong women in films. She has a great disdain for stereotypical roles.

"There were two kinds of roles for women. You're either the girlfriend, incredibly beautiful but not much going on, or the victim, like the weird neighbor," she explains. "It's like the two ideas of women that are talked about: the slut or the wife. And that's not so interesting…As an audience member, I go to the movies a lot and I want to see women portrayed like the ones I know—women who are really intelligent and strong and vulnerable."

There's clearly nothing stereotypical about Jessica Chastain. In fact, she just bought her mom a most unusual birthday gift--a food truck.

Robin Williams was no doubt proud of Jessica Chastain's accomplishments. Do you expect now that he is gone--along with her personal experience with suicide--she might make such an opportunity available for another prospective actor?

Kimberly Ripley
Kimberly Ripley is a freelance writer and published author from Portsmouth, New Hampshire. A wife, mom of five and 'Nana' to Lilly and Aiden, she loves cooking for her big family and watching HGTV in her spare time. Kim is guilty of starting way more home design projects than she can finish. Visit her at Twitter and Facebook.