First Trailer: Jessica Chastain & Andrew Garfield in ‘The Eyes of Tammy Faye’
It’s hard to imagine now, in this post-truth, post-moral landscape where alleged pedophiles almost win elections, and someone can admit to sexually assaulting women and still become president – but back in the 1980’s scandals had consequences.
And the scandal of all scandals belonged to preposterous televangelists Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker, the husband and wife team who built a house-of-cards fortune on floods of donations from the truest of believers. And a new film, The Eyes of Tammy Faye (based on the book of the same name) is set to bring their spectacular, ludicrous rise-and-fall story to the big screen this September. Starring Academy Award nominees Andrew Garfield and Jessica Chastain as the headline-stealing pair, the first trailer has just been released by Searchlight Pictures, and it looks every bit as outrageously and deliciously fun as it should.
The story goes that the kookily charismatic couple constructed an Evangelical empire called The PTL Club (Praise The Lord), that eventually included a television network and even a Christian theme park in South Carolina called Heritage USA. It all came crashing down due to a sex scandal involving a secretary named Jessica Hahn, and later it was discovered that the ministry was drowning in debt, and that Jim had allegedly also had affairs with other men (kind of a no-no in Evangelical circles).
In the trailer we see a young Tammy Faye laying the groundwork by insisting, “God has a plan for us.” To which her exasperated mother (played by Cherry Jones) replies, “What did he tell you to do this time?”
“Jim will preach, and I’ll sing!”
Then Jim spells out the entire Televangelist manifesto in one sentence: “God does not want us to be poor!” Uh huh.
But Chastain’s Tammy Faye does get off one really good zinger when Jerry Fallwell (Vincent D’Onofrio) insists to her that God himself is fighting the liberal/homosexual agenda, and she counters, “Faith isn’t political!” Haha. But of course it is.
Ultimately Tammy says to Jim, “We’re not doing anything wrong though…” – and he tellingly replies, “Is that a question?” Then, as it did in real life, it all just unravels from there; and there’s every indication that this film is going to be nothing less than an utterly scandalous delight, and the absolute the guiltiest of guilty pleasures.
The Eyes of Tammy Faye arrives in theaters September 17. Don’t expect to see Joel Osteen in the seat next to you.