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The Eyes Of Tammy Faye - What We Know So Far

Tammy Faye Bakker was a fascinating woman. A televangelist who eventually became a talk show host and camp icon, she was well-known for her heavy mask of makeup — including her mascara-coated eyelashes, which would run as she sobbed and sang during episodes of "The PTL Club," a faith-based talk show hosted by Bakker and her husband Jim. The show made them part of a wave of televangelists who captured the public's imagination and wallets during the 1980s, and the Bakkers' success resulted in a theme park and their own broadcasting network.

But the walls eventually came tumbling down. Jim Bakker was accused of raping church secretary Jessica Hahn in 1987, according to a Larry King interview with Hahn which aired on CNN the same year; Bakker denied that allegation, but it later came out that Bakker allegedly mismanaged PTL funds to acquire $287,000 to silence Hahn. That led to a full investigation into the PTL Club's finances. In 1989, Jim Bakker was sentenced to 45 years in prison on 24 fraud and conspiracy counts, according to the Washington Post.

Actress Jessica Chastain bought the rights to Tammy Faye Bakker's life story in 2012, according to Variety, and the film that resulted, "The Eyes of Tammy Faye" (not to be confused with the 2000 documentary of the same name, upon which the movie is based) will arrive in September. People magazine has just shared the first exclusive publicity shots from the film. Who will star in it, and what will it be about?  Keep reading to find out.

Who stars in The Eyes of Tammy Faye?

According to Variety, Chastain will play the role of Tammy Faye Bakker, with Andrew Garfield portraying Jim Bakker. Deadline has announced that Cherry Jones will appear in the film as Tammy's mother, Rachel LaValley; Sam Jaeger will portray Tammy Bakker's second husband, Roe Messner; Chandler Head will portray Little Tammy Faye; Vincent D'Onofrio will portray fellow televangelist Jerry Falwell; Gabriel Olds will portray televangelist and politician Pat Robertson; Mark Wystrach will portray musician/actor Gary Paxton; Jay Huguley will portray preacher and televangelist Jimmy Swaggart, and Fredric Lehne will play Tammy Faye's stepfather, Fred.

Michael Showalter, who directed "The Big Sick" and most recently created "Search Party," is directing the film, with Abe Sylvia writing the script. Chastain and Kelly Carmichael are co-producing the movie through their Freckle Films production house and will be joined by Gigi Pritzker and Rachel Shane and their MWM Studios imprint. Jordana Mollick serves as executive producer.

What will The Eyes of Tammy Faye be about?

As you might have guessed from the title, the movie follows Tammy Faye Bakker as she and Jim Bakker rise to fame as co-hosts of their successful TV ministry, then follows her through her husband's scandalous fall from grace, which forces Tammy to reevaluate her life without Jim.

What happened to Tammy Faye after PTL fell apart? Tammy Faye divorced Jim Bakker in 1992, eventually marrying Roe Messner and becoming professionally known as Tammy Faye Messner. She produced two autobiographies, became an actress, co-hosted the talk show "Jim J. and Tammy Faye" with Jim J. Bullock, and appeared in the second season of the reality show "The Surreal Life." All the while, she remained fiercely loyal to the queer community.

"When I went — when we lost everything, it was the gay people that came to my rescue, and I will always love them for that," she said during a final interview with Larry King, broadcast on July 18, 2007.

Tammy Faye Messner succumbed to colon cancer on July 20, 2007 after an 11-year battle, according to The New York Times. She was 65. "The Eyes of Tammy Faye" will likely be a humorous but respectful tribute to her memory and truly bizarre life story.

When will The Eyes of Tammy Faye be released?

"The Eyes of Tammy Faye" was originally scheduled for a September 24, 2021 release, according to Deadline, but the film has recently been shifted forward to September 17. That means the movie will open a week earlier than anticipated, putting it in competition with the forthcoming children's book adaptation, "Clifford, The Big Red Dog," and two other movies — the arthouse releases "Blue Bayou" and "I'm Your Man." Since the film is already completed, and all movie theaters likely to be open by the fall as the pandemic recedes, there's little chance of the film missing its appointed release date.

A fall release always hints at possible awards season intentions, and with Jessica Chastain's eerie physical resemblance to Tammy Bakker on display via these People magazine shots (as well as Andrew Garfield's resemblance to Jim Bakker), it's quite possible the actress might capture an Oscar for her work. But that of course remains to be seen.