Actors have shown they’re willing to go to great lengths for their art, whether that’s gaining or losing massive amounts of weight or changing elements of their appearance. For Jessica Chastain, she had to go to similar extremes with her work in Michael Showalter’s upcoming biopic “The Eyes of Tammy Faye.”
The process of getting Chastain into character took between four and seven hours a day. In an interview with The Los Angeles Times, Chastain talked about how the weight of the makeup left her feeling like she looked 50 years old. “I think for sure I’ve done some permanent damage to my skin on this,” she said. “When you’re wearing it all day every day — the weight of it on your body, it stretches your skin out.”
The actress also worried that, because of how extravagant the makeup was, it could hinder how she emoted as an actress. “People think it’s easier, but it’s not. You have to reach through the makeup — you can’t let the makeup be the performance,” she said. “She was so emotional, and I was afraid that I wouldn’t be able to get emotional with all this stuff all over me. Am I going to be able to see people and feel free? I just had to get used to it. So much for me is I have to trick my mind.”
Even though the process was a nightmare, Chastain has talked regularly about her excitement playing Bakker on-screen. “I just was so blown away by her and her story,” Chastain told People magazine back in June about joining the project. “The thing I loved the most about Tammy is her capacity to love. She knew what it felt like to not feel important, and she didn’t want anyone to experience that.”
The official synopsis for “The Eyes of Tammy Faye” from Searchlight Pictures reads: “[The film] is an intimate look at the extraordinary rise, fall, and redemption of televangelist Tammy Faye Bakker. In the 1970s and ’80s, Tammy Faye and her husband, Jim Bakker (Garfield), rose from humble beginnings to create the world’s largest religious broadcasting network and theme park, and were revered for their message of love, acceptance, and prosperity. Tammy Faye was legendary for her indelible eyelashes, her idiosyncratic singing, and her eagerness to embrace people from all walks of life. However, it wasn’t long before financial improprieties, scheming rivals, and scandal toppled their carefully constructed empire.”
“The Eyes of Tammy Faye” hits theaters September 17.