Jessica Chastain has spoken out about changing a “deeply disturbing” scene George & Tammy.
Chastain and Michael Shannon play country power couple Tammy Wynette and George Jones in the recently released series.
In the first episode of the series, Wynette is still married to her future ex-husband, Don Chapel.
Chastain – who also serves as a producer on the show – narrated Marie Claire that the script initially saw Jones trying to get Wynette alone by distracting Chapel with an escort.
However, the scene “disturbed” Chastain so much that she wanted it changed.
“I read it and was deeply disturbed,” Chastain said. “[Tammy] just kind of sat there. People were creating things so she could get caught instead of making decisions.”
The actress went on to explain how important it was to her that her character be given more agency.
“The song is not about being a bouncer. And the reality is, Tammy Wynette was married five times,” Chastain said of Wynette’s hit single Stand By Your Man in 1968.
Ultimately, the subplot was dropped. During filming, Shannon also made a change to his character’s dialogue that had originally implied that Jones did not acknowledge Wynette’s influence in their physical relationship.
“[Michael] changed the line from “Yeah, I’ll fuck her” — excuse the language — to “I’d definitely like to,” Chastain recalled. “The second he said, ‘I’d love to do it,’ it was like, ‘Oh yeah, that’s happening.’
“Because he sees her as someone who gets to make the decision. And that’s working with an actor who’s very aware that he doesn’t own me.”
Shannon said that the line of dialogue change was because he and Chastain were “so attuned to each other.”
He said: “The idea of sitting in front of another man and looking at a woman and saying you’re going to fuck her strikes me as a bit Neanderthal. I mean, if I were the woman in question, I wouldn’t enjoy it that much.”
Chastain spoke about the importance of “honoring women as people” in storytelling.
“Being a producer and having a production company means you have to put that in writing,” she said. “You can say, ‘Whoa, whoa, whoa. We must honor women as human beings. And they make their own decisions – just like men.”
You can read The Independent‘s two-star rating from George & Tammy Here.
https://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/tv/news/jessica-chastain-george-and-tammy-disturbing-scene-b2248441.html Jessica Chastain altered a scene in “George & Tammy” that left her “deeply disturbed.”