Jessica Chastain looks set to make a third nomination for Oscar glory when she returns to the big screen as Tammy Faye Bakker in September.
This week’s audiences got their first glimpse of “Tammy Faye’s Eyes” with the release of the film’s trailer. Directed by Michael Showalter, the biopic follows the rise and fall of televangelists Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker, played by Andrew Garfield and Chastain.
In 1974, the Bakkers founded the hugely popular Christian television program “The PTL Club”, with “PTL” standing for “Praise the Lord”. They expanded their ministry by establishing the PTL Television Network and Heritage USA, a Disneyland-style Christian-themed amusement park in South Carolina that, at its peak, attracted more than six million visitors a year.
At the same time, Tammy Faye has become an unlikely figure in pop culture, known for her blonde bouffant and blue eyeshadow.
The couple’s multi-million dollar empire, however, was rocked by scandal in 1987 when Jim was accused of sexual assault by church secretary Jessica Hahn. It was also reported that the Bakker Ministry paid Hahn more than $ 200,000 in secret money. A year later, Jim was charged with eight counts of mail fraud, 15 counts of wire fraud and one count of conspiracy following a federal financial review of PTL Television Network. The Bakkers divorced in 1992, and Tammy Faye married entrepreneur Roe Messner the following year. In 2007, she died of cancer at the age of 65.
“The Eyes of Tammy Faye” takes its name from a 2000 documentary aimed at redeeming the image of Tammy Faye. Narrated by RuPaul, the documentary highlighted Tammy Faye’s outspoken support for the LGBTQ community, as well as people living with HIV / AIDS.
In an interview with People published Wednesday, Chastain said she spent nearly a decade researching Tammy Faye’s life in preparation for the role.
“I was so blown away by her and her story,” said the actor, who received Oscar nominations for “The Help” in 2011 and “Zero Dark Thirty” in 2012. “What I have the most loved about Tammy is her ability to love. She knew what it was like not to feel important and she didn’t want anyone to experience it.
“Tammy Faye’s Eyes” hits theaters on September 17th.
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