THE EYES OF TAMMY FAYE follows the meteoric rise of Tammy Faye Bakker (Jessica Chastain) and her husband Jim (Andrew Garfield) as they go from leading a small town ministry to anchoring the most prominent religious broadcasting network in the world. With her ever-more exaggerated makeup and displays of emotion, Tammy Faye was a constant figure on television in the 1980s just as Jim Bakker became the face of televangelism. Jessica Chastain and Andrew Garfield bring the figures to the screen with astonishing depth.
We spoke with Chastain about her connection to the real-life character, and about her long journey to get this film made. "I have to credit the documentary THE EYES OF TAMMY FAYE for really inspiring me to want to make the film," she told us. "I thought it was time for the true story of her life to come out," Chastain continued, especially for this generation."
The star notes that Tammy Faye "had wrapped her arms around LQBTQ audiences, while at the same time her community of conservative evangelicals was, like, turning their backs on them. I wanted her to be acknowledged and celebrated for that."
Andrew Garfield rose to the challenge of playing Tammy Faye's husband, Jim Bakker. "One of the great gifts of being an actor and being a filmmaker is that you get to close the gap between yourself and the rest of humanity," he said. "I just relish in the opportunity to comprehend the world through somebody else’s eyes."
Chastain ended our conversation by expressing her thoughts on why Tammy Faye's life needs to be experienced on the big screen, saying, "A part of humankind is to be together, and to laugh together, and to cry together, and to have shared experiences. I don’t think anybody else believed this more so than Tammy Faye Bakker.” She added, "I think the only way to really see this film is to be in a room filled with strangers and to have the experience of being loved unconditionally for who you are."
Check out our full interview with Jessica Chastain and Andrew Garfield for THE EYES OF TAMMY FAYE:
THE EYES OF TAMMY FAYE is in theatres now!
All images courtesy of Searchlight Pictures.