Sorry, BookTokers — Jessica Chastain confirmed there’s “zero possibility” she’ll portray Celia St. James in Netflix’s upcoming film adaptation of The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo.
Chastain, 46, has long been a fan-favorite choice to portray the fictional actress in the movie version of author Taylor Jenkins Reid’s 2017 novel. “But I love how excited the fans are,” she told E! News in an interview published on Thursday, December 28. “When I was working on Broadway, every single day, they’d be outside, when I was signing, with the books. I just love how wonderful that fan base is.”
While she won’t appear in the film, Chastain added that she looks forward “to watching it,” adding, “I’m sorry to disappoint everyone out there!”
The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo tells the story of fictional Hollywood legend Evelyn Hugo, who recounts her life story to reporter Monique Grant. As her story unfolds, readers learn about her time as an actress during the Golden Age of Hollywood and her notable seven husbands.
In the book, Celia St. James is another fictional actress who forms a special bond with Evelyn. Much like Chastain, Celia is known for her impressive acting chops and red hair.
Earlier this year, Chastain revealed during an appearance on Watch What Happens Live With Andy Cohen that she was aware that fans want her to play Celia. “I do know there’s an online thing about it,” she said in January. “Sure, send me a script.”
Chastain later backtracked her comments after a social media video showed her refusing to sign copies of the book at the stage door of her Broadway show, A Doll’s House. “I’ve been asked multiple times by fans, to sign books that I’m not attached to contractually,” she wrote via X (formerly Twitter) in April. “Because it feels wrong, and like I’m taking credit for someone’s work, I’ll say I can’t sign because I’m not doing it. That doesn’t mean I’ve read a bad script.”
She continued: “I know how excited many [of] you are about adaptations. Please don’t read too much into a video. There is no news about anything.”
The film adaptation of The Seven Husbands of Hugo was announced in March 2022. Little Fires Everywhere creator Liz Tigelaar is set to adapt the book for the screen, and Leslye Headland is set to direct.
The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo is not the only work of Reid’s to be adapted for film and TV. Daisy Jones & The Six, based on Reid’s book of the same name, premiered in March and follows the ups and downs of a fictional rock band. The series recently scored nine Emmy and three Golden Globe nominations, including acting nods for stars Riley Keough, Sam Claflin and Camila Morrone.
Reid’s book One True Loves received the movie treatment in April, with a cast featuring Phillipa Soo, Luke Bracey and Simu Liu. Hulu also bought the TV rights to the novel Malibu Rising in 2021.