3 February 2013 6:34 AM, PST | The Guardian - Film News | See recent The Guardian - Film News news »

Jessica Chastain is a red-hot Oscar favourite, with Zero Dark Thirty and Mama just the latest in her bumper run. But there's been plenty of struggle. She talks to Tom Lamont about waiting for fame, living with mice – and why her grandma hogs the limelight

You wouldn't call it rags to riches. There was no last-dollar bus ticket bought in Kansas or Kentucky, destination Los Angeles. But if Hollywood still has the power to transform a no-name's life, and at dizzying speed, the example of Jessica Chastain is a good one. Two years ago she was "super poor", an actor from Northern California who hoarded coins for the laundrette. She shared her La apartment with at least a dozen mice (they lived in cutlery drawers, the oven). Chastain has always had vivid red hair, a distinctive pinched chin and an arresting smile, but whenever she got a part in a film, »

- Tom Lamont

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