Entertainment

Jessica Chastain and Miss Sloane director John Madden lobby for the anti-hero

The political thriller Miss Sloane stars Jessica Chastain as Elizabeth Sloane, a ruthless and sought-after lobbyist in the middle of the U.S. gun control debate.

Those behind American gun lobby film say its strong female lead and political storyline are in the 'zeitgeist'

This image shows Alison Pill, left, and Jessica Chastain in a scene from Miss Sloane, a thriller with the issue of U.S. gun control at its core. The movie was shot in Toronto and features Canadian actors in prominent roles. (The Associated Press)

Miss Sloane isn't just taking on Washington politics — she's taking on gender politics too.

The political thriller stars Jessica Chastain as Elizabeth Sloane, a ruthless and sought-after lobbyist who will do whatever it takes to win.

"Anti-heroes are more interesting than heroes," British director John Madden told CBC's Deana Sumanac about Chastain's character. 

"Female anti-heroines are really interesting because that's breaking every kind of idea really."

Jessica Chastain and director John Madden on the uncompromising Miss Sloane

6 years ago
Duration 2:11
The stars and director of Miss Sloane talk about fierce female characters and the very relevant political storyline of their film

Chastain, who received Oscar nominations for her roles in Zero Dark Thirty (2013) and The Help (2012), said her strong, assertive character in the film would likely be viewed differently had it been cast as a male.

"I don't think women need to apologize for being ambitious and over-prepared and flawed," she told CBC News at the movie's red carpet premiere in Toronto earlier this week.

"We see male characters like Elizabeth Sloane and they don't have to apologize for the way that they are."

Jessica Chastain, left, and director John Madden arrive at the world premiere of Miss Sloane during the AFI Fest in Los Angeles Nov. 11. (THE ASSOCIATED PRESS)

The film, which is set in Washington, D.C. and was shot in Toronto, also stars a number of Canadian actors, including Ottawa-raised Raoul Bhaneja.

Bhaneja, who plays a conservative lobbyist in the film, said the movie's political storyline will "play into the polarizing elements in America" right now.

"With tensions being so high here, I think stories like these can't be created in a vacuum," he told CBC News during an interview in Los Angeles.

"That's what makes this so relevant."

Ottawa-raised, Toronto-based actor Raoul Bhaneja plays a lobbyist in the film. (Benjo Arwas Photography)

Chastain has been open about her personal politics — she was a vocal supporter of Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton over the course of the election campaign. 

Suddenly the film is throwing off all kind of reflections we hadn't necessarily anticipated- Miss Sloane director John Madden

The timing of the film's release has given Chastain a new perspective on what the film says about women in power.

"I realized it's also a film about gender politics and the role that we demand that women be. And I think it's important to challenge that role and challenge that status quo."

Madden says he expected Miss Sloane to get some flak over the contentious gun control topic it tackles but that it has now been brought "into the light" in the "most bizarre political circumstance that anybody could imagine."

"Suddenly the film is throwing off all kind of reflections we hadn't necessarily anticipated when we made it," said the Shakespeare in Love and Proof director. 

"But it seems very much in the zeitgeist because what it's saying about politics is what I think people are saying now."​

With files from Deana Sumanac

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