Jessica Chastain, star of The 355, revealed the real meaning behind the number in the title. The film stars Chastain alongside Diane Kruger, Penélope Cruz, Lupita Nyong’o, and Fan Bingbing as a group of female spies. The women star as a group of spies, dubbed the 355, as they fight to save the world. Each woman hails from a different espionage agency like the CIA, MI6, and the BND (German intelligence). The film is directed by Simon Kinberg, his second directorial feature after the notorious failure of his first effort Dark Phoenix.
Chastain herself is no stranger to female espionage films. The actress starred in Zero Dark Thirty as the CIA agent whose work led to the capture of Osama Bin Laden. The role landed Chastain her second Oscar nomination. Chastain also starred in the recently released Ava about a female assassin and spy.
While promoting The 355 at New York Comic Con, Chastain revealed the source of the film’s title in an interview with the cast:
So the woman I played in Zero Dark Thirty talked to me a lot about espionage and I think when I was preparing for that she started talking about 355 and I asked her what it meant. And 355 was the secret code name for the first female spy during the American Revolution. And her name still remains a mystery to this day. But you know she was never even given a name or acknowledged for the incredible work that she did. So a lot of female agents use the code 355 as like a badge of honor. And I loved that idea of looking at women who have been doing the work behind the scenes who haven’t been acknowledged for the incredible sacrifices they’ve made and honoring those women with that moniker, that badge of honor.
Chastain found out about the source of the codename 355 from her work on Zero Dark Thirty. The connection between the two films is exciting for the actress. In addition to her starring role, the Chastain also produced the film. Chastain has just started branching out into roles behind the camera. She is slated to produce three more upcoming films, including The Division, an adaptation of the popular video game.
Chastain herself proposed the film to Kinberg partly due to the fact that there was a huge lack of female-centered spy films. While recent years have seen such films as Atomic Blonde and Red Sparrow, there hasn’t been a franchise centered around a female spy. The James Bond and the Mission Impossible series have both been putting out films for decades. Those franchises have seen so much success because of their established fan bases and the preexisting source material. It is harder to build a franchise out of a completely original idea.
However, Chastain seemingly hopes to build out from this film. The cast certainly alludes to that potential. The marketing emphasizes the diversity of the character’s origins and even though this film is centered on Chastain’s CIA Agent Mace Brown, the potential to explore the other character’s backgrounds is there. Cruz plays a Colombian psychologist, with Nyong’o playing an MI6 computer specialist and Kruger playing the woman from German intelligence, named Marie. While female empowerment is certainly the focus of the film, with Chastain’s reveal of the title’s origins The 355 takes on a whole new meaning. The film will hit theaters in 2021.
Source: New York Comic Con