Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Why Murph From Interstellar Looks So Familiar

It's been six short years since Christopher Nolan confounded the blockbuster set with his brainy, boldly stylized mind-f***, Interstellar, and if you're anything like us, you're still not 100% clear about the film's soul-stirring final moments. That's just fine, though, because some mysteries are best left unsolved, and the wild ride that is Interstellar remains one of the most thrilling and satisfying sci-fi films in the annals of 21st-Century cinema.

For the uninitiated, Interstellar is set in a not-too-distant future that finds the world crumbling under the weight of drought, famine, and natural disasters. Facing the end times, humanity places its only hope in the stars, and sends a crack team of astronauts on a journey into the unknown – via wormhole – to find a new home. Said journey is fraught with perils mankind simply cannot fathom, not the least of which is the dramatic passage of time that unfolds on the far side of space. 

While Nolan complicated the proceedings in truly mind-boggling fashion, the relative nature of time played a particularly large role in the film's narrative acrobatics. As such, Interstellar's emotional effectiveness often lay squarely on the shoulders of the cast members locked into both sides of that paradox. Luckily, the director brought a wrecking crew of A-list talent along on his Interstellar journey, including Matthey McConaughey, Anne Hathaway, Michael Caine, and Matt Damon

Of course, some among Interstellar's cast had considerably less time to bring characters to life than others. Among the film's esteemed cast of bit players, few made as much of as little as the actor who played Murph. We're guessing you recognized her face, because Jessica Chastain has become a star in her own right, but if you're having trouble placing her, here's why Murph from Interstellar looks so familiar.    

Jessica Chastain got lost and found on Veronica Mars

If you're among the legions of diehard fans devoted to The CW Network's crackerjack high school sleuthing series, Veronica Mars, then you already know the show as a bit of a proving ground for a generation of up-and-coming actors. If not, you should know that, in its limited small-screen run, the cult hit saw the likes of Adam Scott, Aaron Paul, Tessa Thompson, Paul Rudd, Krysten Ritter, and many more pass through its narrative doors. Heck, even future Yellowstone creator Taylor Sheridan turned up on Veronica Mars for a five-episode arc. 

Among those ranks stands Jessica Chastain, who made a one-and-done appearance in a memorable season 1 episode. The installment in question was titled "The Girl Next Door," and found Chastain portraying a young, pregnant neighbor of Kristen Bell's titular teen detective. When Chastain's character suddenly goes missing, Mars suspects foul play, and sets out to uncover the truth behind her neighbor's disappearance. In doing so, she helps uncover another truth she never could've foreseen, which is sort of the modus operandi of every Veronica Mars episode and/or movie ever produced.

For the record, that's hardly a criticism, as Veronica Mars remains one of the more intriguing small-screen confections ever to come from the The CW. As far as the series' vaunted list of supporting players is concerned, few delivered the goods with quite the same verve as a then-all-but-unknown Jessica Chastain. Likewise, few have gone on to achieve quite the success of the now twice-Oscar-nominated actor. 

Jessica Chastain tracked down a terrorist in Zero Dark Thirty

Speaking of Jessica Chastain's two Academy Award nominations, she earned her first for a memorable supporting turn in 2011's racially charged drama, The Help. A year later, she snagged her second by stepping into the lead role in Katheryn Bigelow's harrowing historical thriller, Zero Dark Thirty

For those who haven't experienced Bigelow's tautly-wound slow-burner, Zero Dark Thirty follows the nearly decade-long search for al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden in the wake of the September 11, 2001 attacks that he orchestrated. Chastain portrays the fictional CIA Agent tasked with tracking the nefarious terrorist and bringing him to justice in the film, and is front and center for virtually every frame of the action. As such, she's frequently appearing with a cast of supporting talent, including heavies like James Gandolfini, Joel Edgerton, Jason Clarke, Kyle Chandler, Chris Pratt, and Jennifer Ehle, to name just a few. 

If you've forgotten all of those actors were even in Zero Dark Thirty, it's likely because Chastain's work in the film was so impressive, it all but eclipsed every other performance in her orbit. To that point, we're still a bit baffled by the fact that she didn't win the 2012 Best Actress Oscar in a landslide vote. With all due respect to Jennifer Lawrence, who really was quite good in Silver Linings Playbook, Chastain's Zero Dark Thirtperformance is sort of why awards ceremonies should exist.

Jessica Chastain played seriously wicked games in Crimson Peak

She may not have taken home an Oscar for Zero Dark Thirty, but the film proved beyond doubt that Jessica Chastain could command the screen in ways few actors could. Hollywood clearly took notice, as Chastain started lining up juicy roles with some of the most important filmmakers in modern cinema. Chief among them was beloved genre master Guillermo del Toro, who, after infamously exiting The Hobbit trilogy for the big budget flop Pacific Rim, was looking to get back to his roots with a full-on tale of terror most foul.

That tale came in the chilling guise of 2013's Crimson Peak, and found del Toro indeed getting his groove back with a twisted turn-of-the-century story full of ghastly ghouls, spirits, and their truly vile human counterparts. Yes, Jessica Chastain was one of those humans, and yes, she was hands-down one of the vilest individuals to ever grace a Guillermo Del Toro flick. Her wildly wicked turn as the duplicitous Lucille Sharpe was also the most entertaining part of a movie that, even as it saw del Toro returning to form, didn't quite check all the requisite boxes to rank among the director's best works.

That being said, even outside of Chastain's scene-stealing turn, there was much to like about Crimson Peak. First and foremost, it may well rank as the most lavishly photographed film in del Toro's impressive cinematic oeuvre. It also features one of the best non-MCU performances from Loki, himself, Tom Hiddleston.

Jessica Chastain loved the losers best in It: Chapter 2

Of course, Crimson Peak was hardly Jessica Chastain's last ride at the genre rodeo. Just a few years later, she'd revisit the horror realm in a very big way when she signed up to appear in the second half of Andy Muschietti's big-screen adaptation of Stephen King's It. Titled simply It Chapter 2, that film saw Chastain stepping into the role of the adult version of Beverly Marsh (played with poignant zeal in Chapter 1 by up-and-comer Sophia Lillis), and eventually bathing in a pool of blood the likes of which cinema had never seen. 

That's not purely metaphor, by the way. There's a moment late in It Chapter 2 that actually finds Chastain literally swimming in what is apparently the bloodiest scene in the history of cinema, requiring a reported 4,500 gallons of fake blood. Thankfully, Muschietti hired Chastain for more than her ability to keep herself afloat in a vat of gore, making better use of her skill at conveying deep wells of emotion with little dialogue. This verbal scarcity makes it all the more impressive that she leaves such a lasting impression as the beaten, but never defeated, Bev. 

In doing so, she bolstered the emotional impact of a film that was in desperate need of just that for much of its nearly three-hour runtime. Not for nothing, but if the rest of the Losers Club had brought as much to the action, It Chapter 2 may have gone down in infamy as one of the great horror sequels of all time. Instead, it remains a very good, often unsettling second act that never quite unnerves with the same soul-crushingly heinous energy as its predecessor. Still, with Chastain's affecting performance therein, It won't likely be the last stop on her rocket ride through movie stardom.