“I wanted to thank her for the amazing things she did”, said Jessica chastain while discussing his critically acclaimed rendition of Tammy Faye Bakker in “The Eyes of Tammy Faye” from Searchlight Pictures. “It’s different from anything I’ve done. In a sense, it’s easier to do full nudity. There was something so revealing about it. Watch the exclusive video interview above.
“The Eyes of Tammy Faye” chronicles the rise, fall and redemption of the controversial televangelist as well as her difficult marriage to Jim bakker (Andrew Garfield). The film directed by Michael showalter earned Chastain a Critics Choice Film Award nomination for Best Actress. The Oscar-nominated star of “The Help” (2011) and “Zero Dark Thirty” (2012) is also this year’s recipient of the Desert Palm Achievement Award at the Palm Springs International Film Festival.
While on a press tour for “Zero Dark Thirty,” Chastain was resting in his hotel room when she first stumbled upon the Bakker documentary. “Why did no one make this movie?” », She explains. “I remember being a kid, when she was on the cover of the tabloids, and knowing her just being that ridiculous figure and people laughing at her for her makeup and her voice. The documentary showed the amazing things she did. So I just wanted to tell the story. I wanted to celebrate it.
Chastain co-produced the film and admits his initial instinct was to limit the script to Bakker’s life after the scandal destroyed the televangelist’s media empire. “I just wanted to explore it after the fall,” she explains. “It was my initial impetus. But working with a team of people and collaborators, that changes. Also, once Andrew Garfield arrived it was clear we had to show him because he’s a great actor. We actually created more scenes between Jim and Tammy when Andrew arrived because it was such an exciting prospect. So, in the seven years from the purchase of the rights to the staging, it was constantly evolving. As a producer, it’s exciting.
The physical transformation Chastain underwent to become Bakker helped the actress step into character, but she admits the process is “complicated.” “I find that sometimes, with actresses, it is not as welcome as with actors,” she reveals. “So, with actresses, the currency is how we look. So changing that, especially drastically, can be a shocking thing. There are so many times that I’ve come on a set and a studio says to me: “Can we just keep your hair red? There’s been a lot of talk about the fear that I’m different than what the public is used to seeing me.”
TO PREDICT Oscar nominees 2022 until February 8
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