Jessica Chastain's Latest Role Will Change the Way You See Gender

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It’s 2017, and Jessica Chastain is ready to break some serious gender norms.

In the two-time Oscar nominee’s latest project, The Zookeeper’s Wife, Chastain stars as real-life hero Antonina Żabiński, a polish zookeeper who fostered hundreds of Jews during the Holocaust.

Chastain, 40, sees her role as an incredible first in the vast canon of films that deal with the horrific chapter of history. “I don’t think we’ve ever seen a Holocaust film that focuses on women in war, and children in war, and animals in war,” she told CNN. "In the past, we've connected strength, leadership, ambition, power, as masculine traits. And we've connected compassion and emotion and kindness and softness as feminine traits,” Chastain said. “The great thing about today is the boundaries are being blurred."

The actress credits Żabiński as a crucial cog in the progression of female empowerment. "It was a great responsibility to play this character. “I definitely felt the weight of history. I felt the weight of the family," Chastain said, noting, “It’s exciting to release this film in a time where gender is being redefined.”

RELATED: Jessica Chastain Challenged Joe Manganiello to Charades and Things Got Intense

The Zookeeper’s Wife opens nationwide March 31.

SHOW TRANSCRIPT

[MUSIC] The best gift I've ever received. This is gonna be a hard question to answer because my family is very into giving gifts. I remember I got a car when I was 16, which was huge. I mean,. It was a beautiful, used green Volvo that I named Vern. That was probably the like, the most exciting gift I've ever had. And last year, I surprised my family. They all opened boxes. They opened them at the same time, and it said, we're going to Disney World tomorrow. And when they added up all those words. That was the most fun I've ever had and I filmed it all. And they're all like putting the words together and then when they go, tomorrow. And my mom like freaks. She's like, what? That's probably the best vacation I've ever had and my favorite moment of gifts. [MUSIC]
 
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