Andrew Garfield gets deep into character as televangelist Jim Bakker in “The Eyes of Tammy Faye” — and in an exclusive behind the scenes clip, his cast mates have nothing but praise.
“From the very beginning, when we were talking about this film, I was just thinking Andrew would be incredible,” Jessica Chastain, who plays Tammy Faye Bakker in the movie, said in the clip. “He is an actor who really puts everything that he has into what he’s doing.
Director Michael Showalter praised Garfield’s preparation style.
“He goes so deep into his character through research and through his own process of really embodying Jim Bakker and studying Jim Bakker and imagining who he is,” Showalter said.
Garfield discussed trying to get to the heart of his character.
“I think Jim is a complicated person. I think he has light as much as he has dark,” Garfield said.
The biopic, inspired by the documentary of the same name, tells the story of the infamous couple that hosted the television program “The PTL Club” and developed Heritage USA, a now-defunct Christian theme park in Fort Mill, South Carolina. Jim Bakker later was indicted, convicted and imprisoned on numerous counts of fraud and conspiracy. The couple divorced, and Tammy Faye married Roe Messner. She was then diagnosed with colon cancer in 1996 and died of the disease in 2007.
Directed by Showalter, the film stars Chastain and Garfield as Tammy Faye and Jim Bakker, who rose to prominence as America’s most popular televangelist couple. But in the ’80s, Faye found herself in the middle of a turbulent media frenzy between her husband’s conviction on fraud charges and her own bold decision to break from evangelical orthodoxy by supporting LGBT individuals and HIV/AIDS patients.
Critics were lukewarm on “The Eyes of Tammy Faye” but praised Chastain’s performance, giving the film a 65% Rotten Tomatoes score. Madison Wells Media and Freckle Films produced the biopic.
In his review of the film, The Wrap’s Robert Abele wrote, Garfield is queasily effective with Bakker’s boyishly manipulative use of his wife’s guilelessness and popularity as a vehicle for wealth, while ignoring the fissures that begin taking their toll on Tammy Faye. She turns toward the attentive glow of a handsome music producer (country singer Mark Wystrach), but the shame from that leads to a dependence on Ativan that, in a memorable scene — like many, re-enacted from the documentary’s archival treasure trove — that has Tammy Faye losing focus on the air.
The televangelist biopic is currently playing in movie theaters. It will be available on digital Nov. 2, and Blu-ray and VOD Nov. 16