SAG nominee Jessica Chastain (‘George and Tammy’) on challenges of portraying Tammy Wynette

Country music singer and songwriter George Jones was already a superstar when he met rising star Tammy Wynette for the first time. She wanted to be the opening act for his touring show and easily got the job. New Showtime limited series “George and Tammy” opens its first episode with that encounter and follows the two as they fall in love, get married and have a volatile relationship from there forward.

Jessica Chastain attached to the project over a decade ago, mostly knowing Wynette for the song “Stand By Your Man.” In our recent chat she adds, “She was already successful in her own right before she fell for George Jones, which was a huge feat for a woman who came to Nashville with three kids, determined to make something of her life.”

Michael Shannon stars as Jones, who was often drunk in his personal life and even on stage. Of performing that trait over the six episodes, he says, “I know a lot of people get nervous about it or self-conscious, but I don’t really think about it all that much. I feel like the best strategy is not to get too anxious about it.”

In discussing the relationship, Chastain also reveals, “My favorite thing about what we do is not knowing what is going to be around the corner. We have the structure of the script and the sense of where it’s going to lead, but when you’re working with people who are really in the moment, you allow yourself to go on a journey that you might not have anticipated.”

Chastain is the reigning Oscar champ for Best Actress, having won last March for “The Eyes of Tammy Faye.” She also received past nominations for “The Help” and “Zero Dark Thirty.” Shannon was a two-time Academy Award nominee for “Revolutionary Road” and “Nocturnal Animals.”

The first episode of “George and Tammy” debuts December 4 on Showtime with five more episodes to follow on the network and streaming. Watch the official trailer here.

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