Much has been made about Jessica Chastain’s makeup and prosthetics-driven transformation into Tammy Faye Bakker for her new movie The Eyes Of Tammy Faye. But how did Chastain use all of those eyelashes and that fake tan to really become her character?
As she told The A.V. Club in a recent video chat, “The very first time I did the makeup test, I had a complete panic attack. It was so much.” Chastain says she thought, “I don’t know how to act through it. [Bakker was] so open and vulnerable... Am I going to be able to push my energy through the makeup?,” only to subsequently realize that the costume actually helped her create her performance. As she explained, “What it does is when you feel like something is pushing against you, you have to push against it. It creates an energy. And so it created so much energy in me that I had to act through it.”
The Eyes Of Tammy Faye is inspired by the 2000 documentary of the same name directed by Randy Barbaro and Fenton Bailey, who later went on to create RuPaul’s Drag Race alongside their documentary’s narrator, RuPaul. While Chastain’s Eyes co-star Andrew Garfield has graced the Drag Race judging panel in the U.K., Chastain hasn’t been asked to sit on the panel yet. That doesn’t mean she’s not willing to do it, though. As she told us, “I would love to do whatever I could just to be in that proximity because Ru is just beyond. I won’t have the social presence that Andrew Garfield had on the show, but I will do literally anything. I’m there because I just want to be in that aura.”
The Eyes Of Tammy Faye hits theaters this weekend. You can read our review of the movie—which we gave a B—right here.