Jessica Chastain Nails the Sexism of Superhero Movies

October 1st 2015

Laura Donovan

"Crimson Peak" actress Jessica Chastain is not impressed with the hypersexual depiction of female superheroes in movies, and she thinks the film industry would benefit from expanding the characteristics of female action heroes.

"Linda Hamilton in Terminator 2 was incredible," Chastain said in an interview with Radio Times. "I remember the opening shot of her in that tank top doing those pull-ups, and I remember being a little girl watching her and thinking, 'This is amazing. I want to be her.'"

The actress also lauded Jennifer Lawrence as the tough Katniss Everdeen in "The Hunger Games" films. While Hamilton's character and Katniss make Chastain proud, they are mostly exceptions in action and superhero films. That said, she later tweeted that strong-willed female action characters often translate to box office success, which the industry should appreciate:

Chastain added that the true sexiness in female superheroes ought to be their capabilities and not their appearances.

"if you look at the most incredible female roles, like Ripley in "Alien," she is a very sexy woman but she's not wearing a lot of make-up," Chastain said. "She's in a t-shirt and jeans. What's sexy about her is how capable she is. If you look at films like Elektra and Aeonflux, the problem that studios have is that they try to make kickass women very sexualised. They have to be in some catsuit."

Fitting into a catsuit is no picnic for actresses either. Actress Anne Hathaway underwent an extensive exercise routine and diet to prepare for her Catwoman role in "The Dark Knight Rises" several years ago. She did stunt training, rigorous exercises, and more than an hour of dance per day for five days each week.

"I've always thought that skinny was the goal, but with this job I also have to be strong," she told Harper's Bazaar at the time.

According to Shape, she also maintained a strict anti-inflammatory diet of whole grains, leafy greens, avocados, almonds, and sesame seeds, among other healthy foods, in preparation for the part.