The Long-Running Rumors About Jessica Chastain and 'The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo,' Explained

Fans campaigned for Jessica Chastain to be cast as Celia St. James in Netflix's adaptation of 'The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo.'

Jessica Chastain may have already stepped into the shoes of Maya in Zero Dark Thirty, Hilly Holbrook in The Help, and more, but she won't be adding the role of Celia St. James to her long roster of impressive credits. Ever since Netflix announced in early 2022 that it would be adapting author Taylor Jenkins Reid's bestselling novel The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo into a movie, fan castings have run rampant, with rumors swirling for months that Chastain was poised to take on the role of Celia.

Originally set up as a Freeform series to be executive produced by Ilene Chaiken (The L Word, Empire) and Jennifer Beals (The L Word), confirmation that a feature film version of the 2017 novel, which centers around fictional Old Hollywood movie star Evelyn Hugo as she recounts her seven marriages and divorces and her one true love, came in March 2022. Over the months that followed, fans campaigned on social media for Chastain to be cast in the role of Celia, Evelyn's one true, and secret, love. The fan castings picked up steam, and the rumor mill began churning, when Chastain told Andy Cohen on Watch What Happens Live in January 2023 that she was aware of the film and interested in reading a script, sharing, "I do know there is an online thing about it. Sure, send me a script."

About a month later, even more fuel was added to the rumors when Jenkins Reid herself revealed in a sit-down interview with the Associated Press that while there was "no definitive answer" as to who would portray Evelyn Hugo and Celia St. James, "there's just a short list of women that I am incredibly, incredibly excited about. And, you know, hopefully we will make that decision soon." The author did not drop any names.

However, dreams were crushed just weeks later when Chastain addressed a TikTok video filmed during a meet-and-greet outside the Hudson Theatre amid her spring 2023 Broadway run for A Doll's House. When a fan approached her asking that she sign a copy of The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo, the actress said, "I can't sign that, just because I'm not doing it." She later took to social media to clear the air, confirming that she would not be involved in the movie.

"I've been asked multiple times by fans, to sign books that I'm not attached to contractually. Because it feels wrong, and like I'm taking credit for someone else's work, I'll say I can't sign because I'm not doing it," she wrote on X. "That doesn't mean I've read a bad script."

As of this posting, no casting announcements have been made for The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo. Liz Tigelaar is attached to write the script and Leslye Headland is set to direct. A premiere window for the feature film has not been released.