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Jessica Chastain’s all-female spy thriller just found its “eye candy”

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Hannah-Rose Yee
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Jessica Chastain

355, which already boasts Penelope Cruz and Lupita Nyong’o on the call sheet, has added two major male roles. 

Back in February, Jessica Chastain sent out a plaintive cry into the screaming void of Twitter.

“If you were going to make an ensemble female action movie and you needed a Bond Boy who would you cast? Asking for a friend. #Eyecandyneeded.”

As is so often the case she wasn’t, in fact, asking for a friend. She was asking for herself in her capacity as the star and producer of 355, an all-female espionage ensemble movie that also boasts Lupita Nyong’o, Fan BingBing and Penelope Cruz on the call sheet. This seriously starry trio would be spearheading the action of the spy movie: doing stunts, making deals and saving the world. And they needed some “eye candy”, as Chastain put it, to take on supporting roles.

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Back in February, we thought we’d be helpful and suggest a few names for Chastain. Billy Magnussen, Chris Pang, Sam Heughan and Jake Gyllenhaal were all on our wishlist.

Chastain ignored them all – or, you know, maybe she didn’t see them – and decided to cast the Internet’s Boyfriend Sebastian Stan and Edgar Ramirez instead. 

Sebastian Stan

Stan will be well known to many as Bucky, Captain America’s blue-eyed best friend in the Marvel franchise, and for starring alongside Margot Robbie in I, Tonya. For a generation of women, he will also forever be remembered as Carter Baizen, infamous ruiner of Upper East Side women on Gossip Girl. Ramirez played Gianni Versace in Ryan Murphy’s Assassination of Gianni Versace and starred opposite Jennifer Lawrence in Joy.

Though their exact characters are unknown, Chastain has acknowledged that they will be fulfilling the role usually bestowed upon women in an action movie – “eye candy”. “I’m all about eye candy,” the actress told The Telegraph. “But for so long, only women have been cast as the eye candy in action films. So let’s just be equal.” 

Edgar Ramirez and Penelope Cruz
Edgar Ramirez and Penelope Cruz

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She’s right. For decades the action genre has reinforced the stereotype of bikini-clad Bond Girls simpering away onscreen. 

Thankfully, that’s all set to change in Bond 25, the as-yet-untitled new James Bond movie co-written by Phoebe Waller-Bridge. “We’ll see what I can sneak in,” the writer said, of sneaking in some feminist humour to the film. “But it’s mainly about making [the women] feel like real people, you know?” 

With Waller-Bridge’s Bond Girls, and to the gender-flipped message of 355 and its Bond Boys, the action genre is finally getting the shakeup it so desperately needs. And not a moment too soon. 

Images: Getty

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Hannah-Rose Yee

Hannah-Rose Yee is a writer based in London. You can find her on the internet talking about movies, television and Chris Pine.

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