Jessica Chastain Can Only Promote One Movie at a Time

chastainHere’s a fascinating piece we came across yesterday in The New York Times about the challenges of promoting a movie.

Jessica Chastain is a big star now, but she also continues to appear in smaller, more challenging films. She’s currently helping to promote Christopher Nolan‘s epic space saga Interstellar, which opens today. Now check out this promotional stipulation:

“…Mr. Nolan and others, for the most part, are enforcing an agreement that says she cannot campaign for any film but Mr. Nolan’s from early October through early December.”

This means that she’s contractually obligated not to actively promote A Most Violent Year, in which she plays the lead role. That movie hasn’t been released yet but is already receiving heavy Oscar buzz.

Its promoters are relying heavily on Chastain’s star power to get people in the seats. And right now they’re out of luck.

The agreement is so sensitive that no one would talk about it on record to the Times; Chastain herself said that she never discusses contracts but tried to calm the storm a bit by offering the fact that Nolan himself had intervened to help her nix a Letterman appearance so she could attend the Violent Year opening.

Seems that the studio promoting the smaller film (and its attendant publicists) thought that Chastain could attend promotional events as long as they qualified as “semiprivate encounters.” But that wasn’t the case, and every party contacted by the Times beyond the star herself said nothing.

We can only imagine how many angry emails and phone calls precipitated this story — and how the people behind Interstellar will counter lines like this one, from Wall Street Journal critic Joe Morgenstern:

“Christopher Nolan’s 168-minute odyssey through the space-time continuum is stuffed with stuff of bewildering wrongness.”

Ouch. Who reviewed that review?