Due to scheduling conflicts, four-time Academy Award nominee Michelle Williams (Blue Valentine, Manchester By The Sea) is unable to appear in the upcoming HBO Max original series Scenes from a Marriage opposite Oscar Isaac (Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Show Me a Hero), as reported by Deadline. Appearing in Williams’s stead will be two-time Academy Award nominee Jessica Chastain (Zero Dark Thirty, Coriolanus), Deadline reports.
Chastain first appeared onscreen with Isaac in the 2014 crime drama A Most Violent Year, although they had originally met years before when they both studied at Juilliard, according to Deadline. In an A24 featurette for A Most Violent Year, Isaac claims to have first encountered Chastain when she was in her third year in the conservatory’s acting division and he was but a freshman.
A background in theater is something the duo has in common with the late Ingmar Bergman (The Seventh Seal, Persona), who wrote and directed the original Scenes From a Marriage miniseries for Swedish television. Bergman had been a theater director before he ever stepped behind a camera; he even produced an amended stage-play version of the program in 1981 in Munich, according to Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. Bergman also used his time in Munich to stage a production of the 1888 play Miss Julie, as reported by Der Spiegel. The play was later adapted for the big screen in 2014, where the titular role was played by Chastain and directorial duties were handled by Bergman’s ex-wife Liv Ullmann (Cries and Whispers, Face to Face), who had appeared in the original Scenes from a Marriage miniseries.
Isaac was allegedly not the first choice to play opposite Chastain in A Most Violent Year. A contemporaneous IndieWire report reveals that Academy Award winner Javier Bardem (No Country for Old Men, Before Night Falls) was originally cast in the role that would eventually go to Isaac. During a panel for the Producers Guild of America, Isaac testified to the strength of his creative partnership with Chastain: “We pushed each other to go to deeper places… It was, for me, the most rewarding experience I’ve had working with somebody.” Chastain, for her part, told Isaac during a different A24 featurette that she was eager to work with him again: “I think of [the] history of actors that work together over and over again, and I hope that you and I get to do that, because I’ve loved watching you in everything you’ve done, and you’re so different in everything, so… I feel like the next time we work together, we wouldn’t be repeating.”
Production on HBO Max’s Scenes from a Marriage is scheduled to take place shortly, as reported by Deadline. The original Swedish miniseries is available to watch online on the Criterion Channel, priced at $10.99 a month.