One of the key selling points for The Eyes Of Tammy Faye, the upcoming biopic about televangelist and eyelash icon (eye-con?) Tammy Faye Bakker (not to be confused with the 2000 documentary of the same name), is the makeup. Among other things, Bakker’s look set her apart from the 700 Clubs of the world, and much like when people went gaga for Steve Carrell’s nose in Foxcatcher, The Eyes Of Tammy Faye promises some of that uncanny charm.
Speaking with People, the film’s titular Bakker, Jessica Chastain, did her homework. After spending 10 years researching the televangelist, she also committed to spending more than four hours a day in the makeup chair. As teens like to say, “She always understands the assignment” and is a “total vibe.”
“Every moment, I had something on my face,” Chastain told People. “I have a dimple in my chin that she didn’t have, so we would seal that up. Her face was more round than mine, so I would have things on my cheeks. [Makeup artists Linda Dowds, Stephanie Ingram, and Justin Raleigh’s] expertise just helped me so much with my confidence in playing her.”
Chastain’s interest in Bakker runs deeper than the makeup, though. In addition to exploring Bakker’s support for the LGBTQ community during the AIDS crisis. “In a time when people were even afraid to say AIDS, we had this female televangelist. And she was a minister too in her own right.”
But like I, Tonya before it, Chastain aims to show another side of Bakker, who became a maligned media personality. “Even the thing about the mascara running down her face,” she said. “There is not one picture of her with mascara running down her face in reality. But people were always making her into a clown and punishing her for the mistakes of her husband, which all throughout history women have been the victim of, atoning for the sins of men.”
In her research, Chastain says she also found sympathy for Jessica Hahn, with whom Bakker’s ex-husband had an affair. “I found an article where Jessica was interviewed and she basically said she was re-traumatized over and over again, by people talking about the incident and about her and that she wanted to be left alone.”
The Eyes Of Tammy Faye hits theaters on September 21.