Oscar Best Actress frontrunner Jessica Chastain, with her flowing red locks and pale complexion, has that stereotypical Irish look, and as it turns out she has some Irish in her background.

In an interview with The Irish Times last weekend, the 38-year-old star fondly recalled a college trip to Ireland that she took with her granny. 

“In my freshman year my grandmother and I went around Ireland for two weeks,” she said. “We researched our family in Trinity College and saw Galway and the Cliffs of Moher. We rented a lovely cottage in Kinsale.”

Chastain credits her rise to the top of the A-list to Al Pacino, who cast her in his play and film documentary Wilde Salome. Pacino is a huge fan of the late Irish author Oscar Wilde and has traveled to Ireland on several occasions to pursue his passion.

“Oh yeah, that was the big break,” she told the Times. “If you’re in the lead role of a play with Al Pacino, then everybody comes to see it because they want to see Al. And here’s this strange girl on stage with him! Then they were able to phone him for a reference. ‘It’s okay. She’s not crazy. She turns up on time.’ That changed everything.”

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