Jessica Chastain addresses US gun control debate as she was honoured at hand and footprint ceremony in Hollywood

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Actress Jessica Chastain has said she is in favour of "responsible gun usage" rather than confiscating firearms to help tackle gun violence in America.

The Oscar nominee, who had her hand and footprints immortalised in cement in Hollywood, spoke out after playing a gun control lobbyist in her latest film Miss Sloane.

Jessica, 39, revealed she prepared for her role by speaking to an anti-gun violence organisation run by Gabrielle Giffords, the former US congresswoman who survived an assassination attempt in 2011.

Jessica Chastain
Jessica Chastain (Chris Pizzello/AP)

She told the Press Association: "I learnt a lot about the second amendment debate that I didn't know before.

"I talked to Gabby Giffords' organisation. I found even things like - try not to use the phrase 'gun control', try to say 'gun safety' or 'gun violence prevention' because Gabby Giffords and her husband are gun owners.

"It's not about confiscations, it's about responsible gun usage."

Jessica Chastain
Jessica Chastain (Chris Pizzello/AP)

The Zero Dark Thirty star fought back tears as she was honoured in the traditional hand and footprint ceremony outside the TCL Chinese Theatre, where she was joined by Oscar-winning director Kathryn Bigelow.

"Having my handprints next to those of women like Elizabeth Taylor and Bette Davis, it's really unimaginable," Jessica said on stage..

"Working in this industry, often at times, it can be a lonely path. That's when I really thank God for my collaborators, the people who are there for me, who have my back, on and off camera. I have an incredible support system and they remind me everyday that I'm not alone on this journey."

Jessica Chastain's hand and footprints
Jessica Chastain's hand and footprints (Chris Pizzello/AP)

Jessica was nominated for a best actress Oscar in 2013 for her role as a CIA agent hunting Osama Bin Laden in Zero Dark Thirty, which earned Bigelow her Academy Award.

She had previously received a best supporting actress Oscar nomination in 2012 for her breakthrough role in drama The Help, and has gone on to land starring roles in Christopher Nolan's sci-fi film Interstellar, The Martian and The Huntsman: Winter's War.

"I consider it one of the greatest gifts of my life that I get to walk in other people's shoes for a living," Jessica said.

"In this particular moment in time, when the other is often talked about as something to be fearful of, I think it's important that we remember to be empathetic and compassionate."

Miss Sloane is due to be released in UK cinemas in February.