Televangelists Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker fell from grace nearly 35 years ago under a cloud of scandal that included fraud, infidelity, allegations by Jessica Hahn that Jim had assaulted her, and Tammy’s addiction to pills. The Eyes of Tammy Faye, a biopic starring Jessica Chastain and Andrew Garfield as the couple who created a Christian variety show, a theme park, and an empire is set for a September release. And the trailer is out now.
Jim ascribed to the same religious dogma as noted homophobes Jerry Falwell (Vincent D’Onofrio in the film) and Pat Robertson (Gabriel Olds), but Tammy Faye was known to be open-hearted and accepting of LGBTQ+ people. As is depicted in the film, and to her husband’s dismay, she once featured an AIDS patient, Steve Pieters, on their show. Chastain, who disappears into the role under the subject's infamous makeup, said that was the piece of Tammy Faye’s story that influenced her to take the role.
“That's really why I wanted to make the movie,” Chastain said in a release about watching Tammy Faye interview Pieters. “Because 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. She wasn't just the preacher's wife, the singer.”
“The interview is phenomenal. It's so beautiful and loving. And it's such a huge turning point in terms of what people could associate God's grace with, because I feel like she was filled with grace,” Chastain added.
The film is directed by Michael Showalter of Search Party and Wet Hot American Summer fame. While Abe Silvia, who’s written for Dead to Me, The Affair, and Nurse Jackie, penned the screenplay. The film costars Cherry Jones as Tammy Faye’s matter-of-fact, God-fearing mother, and Sam Jaeger as Roe Messner, who Tammy Faye married after her divorce from Jim.
Watch the trailer below.