Jessica Chastain Says Oscar Isaac Friendship Changed After ‘Tough’ Show Together: I Needed a ‘Breather’

Jessica Chastain’s relationship with longtime pal Oscar Isaac changed after making a divorce drama together.

The actress, who starred with Isaac in the 2021 HBO limited series Scenes from a Marriage, admitted to Vanity Fair in an interview published Tuesday that the project “was very tough.”

“And I love Oscar [Isaac], but the reality is, our friendship has never quite been the same,” said Chastain, 46. “We’re going to be okay, but after that, I was like, I need a little bit of a breather.”

In Scenes from a Marriage, Chastain and Isaac, 44, play Mira and Jonathan, a married couple whose relationship falls apart over several years. The series is an American adaptation of the 1973 Swedish miniseries of the same name.

“There was so much I love you, I hate you in that series,” Chastain told Vanity Fair.

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Oscar Isaac and Jessica Chastain in Scenes from a Marriage (2021).

Jessica Chastain on Her 20-Year Close Friendship with Oscar Isaac: ‘It’s a Special Thing’

Chastain and Isaac, who have been friends for over 20 years, famously sent social media into a frenzy with their red-carpet chemistry at the Venice Film Festival in September 2021.

In a slow-motion clip from Getty that went viral on Twitter, Chastain wrapped her arm around Isaac’s shoulder as he gazed deep into her eyes before appearing to plant a kiss on her inner arm.

Both Chastain and Isaac are married to their respective partners: Gian Luca Passi de Preposulo and Elvira Lind, whom they each married in 2017.

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As Stephen Colbert prepared to ask the actress about the viral incident during an episode of his late-night show weeks later, Chastain called the host out immediately, telling him, “I know where you’re going,” before adding that she and Isaac “go way back.”

“We’re both married to other people, we’ve been friends for more than 20 years. If it hasn’t happened yet, it’s not gonna happen,” the Oscar winner said. “Sorry to tell everybody, because I know people got very excited by this.”

Jessica Chastain and Oscar Isaac attend the red carpet of the movie "Scenes From a Marriage (Ep. 1 and 2)" during the 78th Venice International Film Festival on September 04, 2021 in Venice,

Jessica Chastain and Oscar Isaac attend Scenes from a Marriage on Sept. 4, 2021, in Venice, Italy red carpet.
Stephane Cardinale – Corbis/Corbis via Getty

Jessica Chastain and Oscar Isaac’s Best Red Carpet Photos Through the Years

Amid the release of Scenes from a Marriage, Chastain chatted with PEOPLE about how she and Isaac have been close friends for decades.

“Oscar I’ve known for 20 years. We went to college together,” she said. “We have the same process. When I got the scripts, I knew immediately it was going to be like a play, because most of it’s just him and I talking for an hour, sometimes not calm.”

The actress explained that her close bond with the Star Wars actor helped them navigate some of their characters’ more challenging and emotional scenes.

Chastain, who trained at Juilliard with Isaac and previously played his onscreen wife in 2014’s A Most Violent Year, also admitted she had to employ a little mind trick to “see Oscar in a different way, which was complicated because these characters are best friends, and they know so much about each other.”

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“They know everything about each other, so that was easy,” she told PEOPLE. “But then I was like, ‘Okay, how am I going to switch [Oscar] in my mind? Because he’s literally not Jonathan at all.’ So I had to, I literally changed his name in my phone to Jonathan. I did. Because every time he texted me, I wanted it to say ‘Jonathan,’ so it could just remind me of the project, you know?”

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