HomeEntertainmentMusicCountry MusicJessica Chastain Felt ‘Personally Offended’ Performing Tammy Wynette Hit for ‘George & Tammy’

Jessica Chastain Felt ‘Personally Offended’ Performing Tammy Wynette Hit for ‘George & Tammy’

by Caitlin Berard
(Photo by Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images)

December 4 marked the long-awaited premiere of George & Tammy, a six-part biopic series chronicling the careers and marriage of George Jones (Michael Shannon) and Tammy Wynette (Jessica Chastain).

At the start of the project, Chastain was already a fan of Tammy Wynette and her iconic discography. And as filming progressed, her love only deepened. Showrunner Abe Sylvia had such passion for the couple’s story that it “put [her] down the rabbit hole of who they were, and then [she] became obsessed with them as well.”

As with any project, however, there were snags along the way. For Jessica Chastain, one of the biggest was performing Wynette’s 1970 hit “Run, Woman, Run.”

While the song was, and remains to this day, a massive success, Chastain couldn’t help but find its contents disturbing. In an interview with The Guardian, she explained that she felt “personally offended” while singing the lyrics, in which Wynette urges her fellow young women not to be too quick in giving up potentially successful relationships.

That’s not how Jessica Chastain sees it, though. To her, it’s a country music anthem telling young women everywhere, “Basically, you’re not going to find someone else, so go back to your man.”

Standing on the stage, looking out at the crowd of young extras, Chastain felt compelled to warn them against what she feels is a hypocritical message. “I looked out at all these sweet, young faces staring up at me and said, ‘Girls: I do not want you to listen to the lyrics of this song. Please. I love Tammy, but she did not believe this. She was married five times, so do not take any of this as gospel,'” Chastain recalled.

Jessica Chastain Gushes Over ‘George & Tammy’ Costar Michael Shannon

While Jessica Chastain is far from a fan of “Run, Woman, Run,” she couldn’t be fonder of the rest of the project, including her costar, Michael Shannon.

“I’m very protective of [George and Tammy],” Chastain told The Hollywood Reporter. “And I can’t imagine anyone else playing her, and I couldn’t imagine anyone else playing George, which was why I called Mike. I know how protective Mike is of the characters he plays so it just felt like the right recipe for a working environment.”

Chastain and Shannon have been friends for over a decade since costarring in Take Shelter. And though Michael Shannon admits to not being familiar with George Jones prior to playing him, he’s happy to be working with Jessica Chastain again. “I like working with Jessica and I like singing so it was a perfect combo.”

Even showrunner Abe Sylvia was mesmerized by their instant chemistry on stage. “I was like, ‘This is going to work,’ he remembered. “It’s a big swing to take on these icons. They have incredible chemistry as friends and actors and amazing trust. So they go to some very dark places and some very joyful places together.”

“If they didn’t have that longstanding friendship and trust and sense of play, the show wouldn’t have worked,” he continued. “The show is dancing on the needle of their chemistry.”