As the film rolled to an end, the audience at the Princess of Wales Theatre, Toronto rose to their feet and greeted Hollywood star Jessica Chastain with rapturous applause for her role in the film “The Eyes of Tammy Faye.”
The movie which saw her portray Tammy Faye, embattled wife of controversial televangelist Jim Bakker, made the rounds at several film festivals including its recent premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival.
Chastain took on the lead role and masterminded the production of the enthralling film. She has since found herself in the spotlight once again.
The actress is no stranger to stardom and fame as she became quite renowned early in her career. However, she never desired the label that came with the glitz and glamour.
Keep reading below to find out more information.
The ‘It Girl’ label Made Chastain Anxious
During a press conference at the film fest, the actress revealed how achieving fame in her early acting years made her anxious.
“It’s wonderful to look back at it now because at the time I felt so much anxiety. I was getting so much attention, so soon. Immediately my life changed. There was no slow gradual entry for me,” Chastain said.
She further explained that as she shot into the limelight with the trio of movies she featured in 2011 (The Help, The Tree of Life, and Take Shelter,) she was unhappy with being branded as the “It Girl” then.
“Every time someone said that I thought, ‘oh no,’ because you have such a short life. That’s your death sentence as an actress,” Chastain added.
Since then, she has outgrown her initial anxiety and embraced her new role as an actor and a producer.
How She Shot Into Limelight
After initially struggling for a breakthrough in the movie industry, Chastain was cast in critical roles in 2011 and garnered critical acclaim for several of them.
The first of the roles was as the wife of Michael Shannon’s character, in Jeff Nichols’ “Take Shelter.”
In the next film, she was cast alongside Brad Pitt and Sean Penn, as the loving mother of three children in Terrence Malick’s drama “The Tree of Life,” which was shot in 2008.
However, her role in “The Help” gained her the most international acclaim. She got an Academy Award nomination for the Best Supporting Actress and was later listed in Time’s 100 Most Influential People in the World, in 2012.
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She has also starred in other commercial successes like “Interstellar,” “It Chapter Two,” and “The Martian” among many others. Her recent role in “The Eyes of Tammy Faye” has been touted as an Oscar-worthy performance.
Background Story Of ‘The Eyes Of Tammy Faye’
The storyline of the film revolved around the lives of a televangelist couple, Tammy Faye and Jim Bakker. It focused on their early days climbing up in the religious business.
They built a multimillion-dollar empire, including a theme park labeled the “Christian version of Disneyland,” and PTL Satellite Network and television program “The PTL Club” in the 1970s and 1980s.
Their life of affluence was however cut short due to sex scandals, fraud investigations, and Bakker bagging a prison sentence for the multiple fraud charges.
The duo divorced while Bakker was in prison. Faye re-married but died of colon cancer in 2007. Meanwhile, Jim can still be seen working as a televangelist on The Jim Bakker Show.
More On Chastain
She is known for playing roles with strong feminist themes throughout her career and has added another feather to her cap with the portrayal of famous televangelist Tammy Faye Bakker.
“She [Faye] was never tried or convicted for any crime. Her husband [Jim Bakker] was, but she wasn’t,” Chastain said in a press release at the film festival.
“In society throughout history, women for some reason have been guilty of their husband’s crimes and so she was labeled with that.”
Chastain also disclosed she spent almost a Decade developing the movie, “The Eyes of Tammy Faye.”
The Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) runs until Sept. 18 while “The Eyes of Tammy Faye” will be released in theatres on Friday, September 17, 2021.