It’s hard to imagine anyone could hate Jessica Chastain, a lauded and Oscar-nominated actress who’s making a career all while championing women’s rights. Yet, Chastain says that might be how her Italian in-laws, the parents of her fashion executive husband fashion executive Gian Luca Passi de Preposulo, feel about her. Last night when she stopped by Jimmy Kimmel Live, she opened up about an awkward season of holiday meals with her husband’s family as well as her own — mostly due to her vegan diet and cultural differences.
The two families met in the Alps, Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy, where things got “interesting.” “My family is from Northern California,” Chastain told Kimmel. “And his family is from Veneto, Italy. My family doesn’t speak [Italian] and his family speaks very little English… It was a very quiet holiday, but there was a lot of pointing and a lot of food.”
That’s where the families differed: “We’ve known each other for about six years and Americans eat in about an hour,” says Chastain. “A meal starts and then it’s done. When I went to Italy, I didn’t realize that meals last for three or four hours… I don’t understand this but Sunday brunch will go from 1 pm to 5 pm. You eat one course and it’s delicious. Then the second your plate is done, his mom is putting more food on my plate. So I have a trick where I just push the food around on my plate for hours.”
Chastain’s vegan diet, however, poses more of an issue for her in these situations than the duration of the meals. “In the beginning, I would say I’m vegan. Which is like the worst thing. I don’t eat 10 meals and I’m vegan. I would say, ‘I’m sorry I can’t eat that,’ and [my mother-in-law] would say, ‘No problem, we have fish’.”
“Do you think they hate you?” Kimmel asks, to which Chastain responds, “Maybe that’s why it’s so quiet. They just hate me.”
Chastain explained why she went vegan last year, telling W, ” I found myself going to veganism because a friend of mine had a two week vegan food delivery program she wasn’t going to use so I used it, and immediately I just had more energy than I’ve ever had in my life… Being vegan was not anything I ever wanted to be. I just really was listening to what my body was telling me.”