Chastain said she didn't find success as an actress in Hollywood right away and "there were years of being discouraged."
"I was in casting rooms with beautiful, tall, tan, blond women; I kept being told I didn't look modern," she said. "But when I read the description for my character in 'Tree of Life,' it said, 'A woman who looks as though she's from another time.' I thought, 'Here we go!' "
That first big paycheck went toward the practical purchase of a couch, Parade magazine reported.
"I actually don't spend a lot of money on things. I still drive my 2006 Prius!" Chastain said.
The actress has most recently been nominated for a Golden Globe for her role as a CIA agent tracking Osama bin Laden in "Zero Dark Thirty." She said she's never met the real-life operative her character, Maya, is based upon.
"She's still working undercover, so no, I didn't [meet her]," Chastain said. "She gave everything to this mission. I find it so noble. This movie gives credit to someone who can't come out and say, 'This is what I did.'"