Why Jessica Chastain Played Supervillain Vuk in Dark Phoenix

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Jessica Chastain, who played the role of Vuk in Dark Phoenix, has an impressive acting resume that includes two Academy Award nominations. The Dark Phoenix film was not well received by fans or movie critics.

Despite the movie receiving a low 22% on Rotten Tomatoes, the film was filled with the biggest names in the movie industry like James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, and Sophie Turner.

Sophie Turner as Jean Grey / Phoenix and Jessica Chastain as Vuk in the 2019 American superhero film X-Men: Dark PhoenixSophie Turner as Jean Grey / Phoenix and Jessica Chastain as Vuk in the 2019 American superhero film X-Men: Dark Phoenix (Credit: 20th Century Fox / YouTube)

Jessica Chastain wasn’t always invested in acting in a superhero movie, but she was convinced to take up the role of Vuk. Let’s take a closer look at why.

The Role of Vuk and Dark Phoenix

The role of the antagonist in Dark Phoenix was initially offered to Angelina Jolie. But she passed it over because she was excited to play the role of the Bride of Frankenstein. The movie was put on hold, but the part of Vuk was given to Jessica Chastain instead.

James McAvoy, who plays Professor X, recommended the two names because of his previous working relationships with them, and the producers considered no other names.

Bill Hader, Jessica Chastain, and James McAvoy attend Warner Bros. Pictures' "The Big Picture" exclusive presentation during CinemaConBill Hader, Jessica Chastain, and James McAvoy attend Warner Bros. Pictures’ “The Big Picture” exclusive presentation during CinemaCon at The Colosseum at Caesars Palace on April 2, 2019, in Las Vegas, Nevada. CinemaCon is the official convention of the National Association of Theatre Owners (Credit: DFree / Shutterstock)

James McAvoy and Jessica Chastain previously worked on The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby (2013). Jessica recommended McAvoy for other upcoming roles to return the favor, including the movie, It Chapter two (2019), which he starred in.

The movie centers around a young Jean Grey, who has been possessed by the Phoenix Force, a powerful cosmic entity. The Phoenix Force destroys the D’bari planet in the movie, which is where the character Vuk hails from.

The remainder of the D’bari race follows the Phoenix Force across the universe to earth, where it has overcome Jean Grey. The D’bari is led by Jessica Chastain’s character, Vuk, a white-haired alien shapeshifter who aimed to absorb the Phoenix Force from Jean Grey.

Jessica Chastain’s Reaction to Dark Phoenix’s Failure

The Dark Phoenix film was the tenth installment of the wildly successful X-Men franchise. And it was the most unsuccessful one to date.

The film lost 73% of its revenue in the second week and was pulled from 1100 movie theaters in the third week, only earning $252.4 million against the budget of $200 million. In comparison, X-Men: Days of Future Past earned a whopping $746 million against a budget of $220 million.

Jessica Chastain's character is ultimately destroyed by Jean Grey (Sophie Turner) who uses the power of the Phoenix ForceJessica Chastain’s character is ultimately destroyed by Jean Grey (Sophie Turner) who uses the power of the Phoenix Force (Credit: 20th Century Fox / YouTube)

There were several reasons for the film’s epic flop. One of these reasons was that the storyline wasn’t what fans wanted to see. But the critical factor was that Walt Disney Company acquired Fox during the period that the film was made.

This had numerous effects on the movie and affected the film’s advertising. Jessica Chastain didn’t have an extensive response to the movie’s failure but did say that she didn’t know her character’s name until the film was released.

“I think the studio was bought at a certain point. I didn’t even know what my character’s name was until I saw the film,” she said in an episode of the Happy Sad Confused podcast. The film went through extensive changes before it was released.

Dark Phoenix Couldn’t Succeed

She may not have known her character’s name until the screening, but one of the reasons that Jessica did take up the role of Vuk was because she enjoyed working with Simon Kinberg.

She said this: “Simon Kinberg, who directed it is an incredible human being, and I’d work with him again. I love him.”

British-born American filmmaker Simon Kinberg made his directorial debut in the 2019 X-Men film Dark PhoenixBritish-born American filmmaker Simon Kinberg made his directorial debut in the 2019 X-Men film Dark Phoenix (Credit: Featureflash Photo Agency / Shutterstock)

Simon Kinberg wrote the script for Dark Phoenix, hoping that James McAvoy, Jennifer Lawrence, and Michael Fassbender would return to reprise their roles even though their contracts had ended.

Despite the fantastic cast and producers behind the film, Dark Phoenix was set to fail when Disney acquired Fox. This was because the X-Men storyline would inevitably become a part of the wildly successful Marvel Comic Universe that Disney owns.

Because of this factor, the movie underwent extensive reshoots. James McAvoy was quoted saying: “The finale had to change. There was a lot of overlap and parallels with another superhero movie that came out…a while ago.”

James McAvoy, who played Professor Charles Xavier, says the ending of Dark Phoenix was too similar to other superhero moviesJames McAvoy, who played Professor Charles Xavier, says the ending of Dark Phoenix was too similar to other superhero movies (Credit: Tinseltown / Shutterstock)

The reshoots for the movie meant that Jessica Chastain’s character changed several times during the filming.

This was the reason that she didn’t know her character’s name before she watched the film: “My character changed a lot, which is an interesting thing because I’m not playing someone from the comics. So it was always every day trying to figure out ‘Who am I? Who is the mystery that is this character?’ And then understanding with the reshoots, ‘Oh, it’s changing again.’ It was a constant evolution…. So yeah, my character changed,” she told Yahoo Movies UK.

The movie’s entire third act went through a reshoot in late 2018, a year after it was initially filmed.

She’d Love to Play a Supervillain

Jessica had previously turned down other superhero films, but she wanted to work with writer Simon Kinberg on Dark Phoenix. She also enjoyed the screenplay that focused on leading female roles like Jean Grey and Vuk.

A few years earlier, she was offered the role of Christine Palmer in Doctor Strange, to play opposite Benedict Cumberbatch. Most actors would jump at the opportunity to become a part of the MCU, but Jessica had a good reason for turning down the Christine Palmer role: she wanted to play a superhero if she is going to be a part of the MCU.

Rachel McAdams got the role of emergency surgeon Christine Palmer in the 2016 American superhero film Doctor Strange after Jessica Chastain rejected the partRachel McAdams got the role of emergency surgeon Christine Palmer in the 2016 American superhero film Doctor Strange after Jessica Chastain rejected the part (Credit: Tinseltown / Shutterstock)

Jessica said this: “I’m only going to get one shot at being in a Marvel film and becoming a Marvel character, and I trained in ballet, and I really want to wear a cape.”

The Help actress decided to reject the role to have the opportunity to play a character with powers. Doctor Strange writer C. Robert Cargill said, “That was the coolest rejection ever. She wanted to be the superhero, not badass doctor Night Nurse.” Rachel McAdams ended up getting the role of Christine Palmer in the 2016 American superhero film Doctor Strange.

Although Jessica waited for a superhero role, she instead became a supervillain. She took up the part and then stated that she would prefer to be a supervillain and not a superhero.

Jessica Chastain in a white Toni Maticevski Resort 2019 look, Jimmy Choo shoes, and Chopard earrings at the premiere of Dark PhoenixJessica Chastain in a white Toni Maticevski Resort 2019 look, Jimmy Choo shoes, and Chopard earrings at the premiere of Dark Phoenix on June 4, 2019, at the TCL Chinese Theatre in Hollywood (Credit: Featureflash Photo Agency / Shutterstock)

“I think that I would be more interested in playing a villain than a comic book hero because I think villains have more fun, honestly. I would love it to be a villain that’s already established in the comic books and not created, you know, like a new thing. And also, I would love it to be a villain that you don’t have to sign such a deal for. I’m kind of a one-and-done kind of girl, so it would be great to play a character that was naughty and then would disappear,” she told ComicBook.

It’s safe to say that Jessica Chastain won’t be taking on the role of a superhero any time soon. She has narrowed it down to wanting to play a supervillain, and she knows what she wants from a future role.

Jessica Chastain prefers supervillain roles as she doesn't like the long superhero contractsJessica Chastain prefers supervillain roles as she doesn’t like the long superhero contracts (Credit: Kathy Hutchins / Shutterstock)

With Marvel’s phase 4 of movies, there will be plenty of opportunities available to play the next supervillain.

While Dark Phoenix may not have been a wild success it was anticipated to be, it did allow Jessica Chastain to discover she did not want to be a superhero and would rather play the villain.

In January 2014, the Molly’s Game star brightened up the black carpet at the 2014 National Board of Review Awards Gala held at the Cipriani 42nd Street in New York City.

Jessica Chastain wears her hair up at the 2014 National Board of Review Awards GalaJessica Chastain wears her hair up at the 2014 National Board of Review Awards Gala held on January 7, 2014, at Cipriani 42nd Street in New York City (Credit: Ivan Nikolov / WENN)

Despite the polar vortex that hit the Big Apple, the Oscar-nominated actress stepped out in a vibrant yellow Oscar de la Renta dress that featured a draped skirt, a plunging ballerina neckline, and a thin belt.

She pulled her red hair back in a bouffant ponytail, which added a touch of class.

Jessica Chastain wears a bright yellow Oscar de la Renta dress to the National Board of Review Awards GalaJessica Chastain wears a bright yellow Oscar de la Renta dress to the National Board of Review Awards Gala (Credit: Ivan Nikolov / WENN)

Jessica clearly brought sunshine to the scene, but her dress wasn’t the highlight of the outfit. Her Oscar de la Renta pumps are simply to die for!

Jessica Chastain's feet in blue-and-yellow Oscar de la Renta pumpsJessica Chastain’s feet in blue-and-yellow Oscar de la Renta pumps (Credit: Ivan Nikolov / WENN)

The “Kenzie” pumps are from the label’s Spring 2014 collection. These blue grosgrain and yellow suede shoes feature mirrored silver leather heels that measure about four inches tall.

Jessica Chastain's feet in colorful "Kenzie" pumpsJessica Chastain’s feet in colorful “Kenzie” pumps (Credit: Ivan Nikolov / WENN)

Overall, Jessica Chastain was flawless!

Jessica Chastain's feet in grosgrain-and-suede Oscar de la Renta pumpsJessica Chastain’s feet in grosgrain-and-suede Oscar de la Renta pumps (Credit: Ivan Nikolov / WENN)

We couldn’t find Jessica’s exact heels online, but a floral-print version is available at Shopbop and Farfetch.

Oscar de la Renta "Kenzie" PumpsOscar de la Renta “Kenzie” Pumps

Oscar de la Renta "Kenzie" Pumps in Floral

Oscar de la Renta "Kenzie" Pumps in FloralOscar de la Renta “Kenzie” Pumps in Floral, $775

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