After appearing in a TheatreWorks production of Romeo & Juliet in California, Chastain auditioned for the Juilliard School in New York City.
"The actor I was working with who was playing Romeo got into Juilliard," she recalled. "It felt like this faraway place that you had to be this insanely amazing person [to get in]. And of course the guy playing Romeo was amazing, but I thought, well, we’re acting opposite each other, so maybe I could audition?"
Chastain was accepted, and earned a scholarship paid for by Juilliard alumnus Robin Williams.