Jessica Chastain knew she wanted to make a movie about the life of Tammy Faye Baker when she was watching the documentary “The Ice of Tammy Faye” and in 1985 she saw a televangelist interview at The PTL Club with Steve Peters, a gay minister who diagnosed the disease.
“I was just like that, we were in a country where the government is not acknowledging the AIDS epidemic and here is a Christian woman from this community, a very conservative televangelist. [community], And he’s being rebellious, ”Chastain told me in this week’s episode of the“ Just for Variety ”podcast. “And he’s bringing Steve Peters. He is openly a gay minister. And not only is he talking to her about the experience of coming to his family, he is looking at the audience and saying, ‘As mothers and fathers we have to love through anything and that’s the way it is with Jesus.’ And he not only said that, but he also said, ‘As Christians we must put our hands around everyone and tell them that we care.’
Chesten admits he never knew about this aspect of Baker. “The only thing I really knew about Tammy Faye where I grew up was the comedy sketches and camouflage told me, the cover of magazines and tabloids. I really thought, oh, he must be a terrible person because that’s what I was fed,” he says.
Oscar-nominated Chastain starred in the Michael Schwalter-directed scripted feature “The Ice of Tammy Faye” and starred Tammy with Andrew Garfield as her first husband Jim Baker. The couple’s religious empire collapsed when Jim was sent to prison for mail and his fraud and conspiracy.
Tammy struggled with addiction and remarried before dying in 2007 at the age of 65 after an 11-year battle with cancer. The film is Chestain’s debut on the big screen. “She loved to survive and take place and sing loudly and wear makeup that everyone could see,” the actor said, adding, “Everything about her was so big.”
Chastain recalls wearing full makeup and attire and sending video messages from the set to friends Sebastian Stan and Daniel Brahl. “I used to send little videograms to my friends and they were,‘ What are you doing? ’” She says, laughing.
Chasten came to the boxers’ children Jim and Tammy Sue long before filming began. “We talked and texted on the phone many times. I think it took them a few times before they felt safe with me, ”Chestain said. “I want to think they feel safe with me now.” During the last credit of the film, Tammy Sue is heard singing her mother’s song “Don’t Give Up (On the Brink of a Miracle)”.
“I knew when we were making the film, I didn’t want to do anything that would create trauma and re-establish people,” Chesten said. “I wanted to let them know what my purpose was. He added, “If the kids, after this conversation, said, ‘Please, please don’t do this,’ I wouldn’t do it.”
You can listen to the full interview with Chastain above. Also available for “just for variety” Apple podcasts or wherever you find your favorite podcasts.