Last night joltleft.com was on the red carpet for the New York Premiere of Focus Features’ latest film The Debt. From the film, Director John Madden, Producer Chris Thukierm, Dame Helen Mirren (who looked regal in a red Michael Kors number) and Jessica Chastain (clad in a vintage Dior number), were all in attendance. The intimate screening took place at the trendy Tribeca Grand Hotel.
Other notable guests that we spotted included: Justin Bartha, Alan Cumming, Designer Zac Posen, Gossip Girl’s Hugo Becker, Oscar Isaac, Actress Joanna Vanderham, Actress Nikki James, Alice St. Clair, Arianna Huffington and her daughter, Novelist Toni Morrison, Writer Fran Leibowitz, Sophie Auster, Adepero Oduye, Billie Jean King, Designer Olivier Theyskens, Jeremy Strong, Sofia Black D’Elia, Focus Features CEO James Schamus and Focus Features President Andrew Karpen.
Hollywood’s new ‘it girl’ Jessica Chastain, told us that the biggest challenges of play Rachel were “a lot of the rehearsal that I did because it was four months before we started shooting and it was like Krav Maga training, and I took a German course and a German coach … I did a lot of research about the Holocaust, and about the medical experiments that had happened, the specifics of what had happened, read about Dr. Mengelay and then I read about the Mossad and how it came to be and the missions, so that put me in a little bit of a dark place — waking up every day and I see it as my job, even when I am not on a set, my job is preparing for my next role, so many hours a day I would be reading about a lot of the atrocities of humankind during that time period. So that to me was the hardest part of approaching this character, but I think when I saw the film, I see a heaviness in Rachel Singer that I feel I was able to carry in because of the weight of the knowledge that I learned.”
Helen Mirren plays the older version Rachel Singer. Although, she didn’t get to work with Jessica Chastain, she did meet with her for a day to discuss their character. What attracted her to the role was that she wanted to work with John Madden again. “He directed one of the best Prime Suspects that I did, so I jumped at the chance to work with him again and then it was a great story, really really good story … and it’s rare — very rare that you get a really good believable story in film nowardays and I thought this was one of them.”
The Debt was adapted from a 2007 Israeli Film of the same name below is a synopsis:
The story begins in 1997, as shocking news reaches retired Mossad secret agents Rachel (played by Academy Award winner Helen Mirren) and Stephan (two-time Academy Award nominee Tom Wilkinson) about their former colleague David (Ciarán Hinds of the upcomingTinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy). All three have been venerated for decades by Israel because of the secret mission that they embarked on for their country back in 1965-1966, when the trio (portrayed, respectively, by Jessica Chastain [The Tree of Life, The Help], Marton Csokas [The Lord of the Rings, Dream House], and Sam Worthington [Avatar, Clash of the Titans]) tracked down Nazi war criminal Dieter Vogel (Jesper Christensen of Casino Royale andQuantum of Solace), the feared Surgeon of Birkenau, in East Berlin. While Rachel found herself grappling with romantic feelings during the mission, the net around Vogel was tightened by using her as bait. At great risk, and at considerable personal cost, the team’s mission was accomplished – or was it? The suspense builds in and across two different time periods, with startling action and surprising revelations that compel Rachel to take matters into her own hands.
The Debt opens next Friday, August 31. Check out our video from the red carpet to the left!