Jessica Chastain criticised for working with director convicted of assault

Matthew Newton will write and direct the new action movie 'Eve'

Jessica Chastain has been criticised for working with a director who has been convicted of assault.

Matthew Newton is set to write and direct a new action movie titled Eve. Chastain will star in and co-produce the film through her production company Freckle Films.

The 41-year-old director was convicted of common assault against his then-girlfriend Brooke Satchell in 2007. The conviction was overturned after Newton’s psychiatrist said he was unlikely to re-offend.

In 2010, Rachael Taylor, who he was in a relationship with at the time, took out an apprehended violence order against him after claiming he had punched her in the face. He was charged with breaching the terms of the order in 2011 and was arrested multiple times in 2012 for trespassing and resisting officers.

The same year, Newton checked into the Betty Ford Centre for alcohol and drug addiction treatment, and also received treatment for bipolar disorder.

“This is extraordinarily disappointing on @jes_chastain‘s part,” wrote on Twitter user. “Do actors not even skim the Wikipedia pages of directors they agree to work with?”

“Jessica Chastain should know better than to support an abusive man like this,” added another.”

Chastain, who is a member of the Time’s Up movement, has previously said she considers any allegations made against someone before working with them.

In an interview earlier this year, Newton said he “utterly regret[ted]” the things he had done in the past. “I had a severe problem with substance and alcohol abuse then, and for almost six years now I have actively worked every single day, one day at a time, to remain sober and live a clean, upstanding life.”

After it was initially announced that Newton would direct Eve, Chastain and her partner Kelly Carmichael said: “Matthew is wonderfully adept at crafting complex and relatable characters. We’ve been fans of his work and are so thrilled to be partnering with him and Voltage on Eve.”

Last year, Chastain revealed a famous actor told her to “calm down” about the accusations made against Harvey Weinstein. “I was tweeting a lot at the time and actually got an email from a well-known actor that said, ‘Calm down,'” she told Graham Norton.