Jessica Chastain has been close to an Academy Award now on several occasions in the past, but you have to imagine that the actress’ eyes probably lit up when she saw the script for The Eyes of Tammy Faye slide across her desk. There are few more reliable ways in Hollywood to earn oneself another Oscar nod than the tried and true “biopic of an eccentric individual that requires heavy makeup and prosthetics,” and this new film looks to be a prime example for both Chastain and co-star Andrew Garfield.
The duo are playing Tammy Faye Bakker and Jim Bakker, real-life televangelists who built a sprawling media empire and massive fortune primarily through their program The PTL Club from 1974-1989. Known for her not-subtle makeup and warbling singing style, Tammy Faye was one of the most recognizable faces of TV Christianity in her day. The marriage finally dissolved in the early 1990s following Jim Bakker being convicted of numerous counts of fraud and conspiracy. Ever the charlatan, Bakker has continued as a huckster to this day, as the 81-year-old was selling silver supplements during the pandemic as a potential treatment for COVID-19. The film’s official synopsis is as follows:
THE EYES OF TAMMY FAYE 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, 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.
Looking at the trailer below, it certainly shows no shortage of style, poking quite a bit of fun at the trappings of the 1970s and 1980s. Chastain in particular is practically unrecognizable at times, with costuming and makeup that changes so drastically from shot to shot that it’s impossible to form a consistent idea of what Tammy Faye Bakker really looks like. The Eyes of Tammy Faye should possess a certain satirical edge, having been directed by The Big Sick’s Michael Showalter, the veteran comedic presence of Wet Hot American Summer and many others. The tone here looks like American Hustle meets The Righteous Gemstones.
Check out the first full trailer for The Eyes of Tammy Faye below, and don’t be surprised if you see Chastain’s name called as an Oscar nominee next year. The film is scheduled for release on Sept. 17, 2021, by Searchlight Pictures.