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The Crazy Sacrifice Jessica Chastain Made To Play Tammy Faye Bakker

Actors have been known to go to extreme lengths to transform themselves into their characters, whether that means gaining or losing huge amounts of weight or utilizing prosthetics to seriously alter their appearance. These transformations often lead to Oscar nominations or wins, as was the case with Eddie Redmayne's portrayal of Stephen Hawking in 2014's "The Theory of Everything" or Cate Blanchett's take on Katharine Hepburn in 2004's "The Aviator," but strictly speaking drastic transformations aren't always entirely ... healthy.

With the upcoming film, "The Eyes of Tammy Faye" from director Michael Showalter, Jessica Chastain adds herself to the list of actors who have suffered for their transformations. Chastain plays the titular Tammy Faye Bakker, the infamous and controversial televangelist who rose to prominence in the mid '70s, alongside her husband Jim Bakker (Andrew Garfield). They created and hosted a Christian TV program called "The PTL Club" (or "Praise the Lord" club) that ushered in an age of televangelism and Christian media that's still bearing (lucrative) fruit to this day. The two gained even more attention when, in 1989, Jim was charged with over 20 criminal counts, including fraud (via Distractify). 

"The Eyes of Tammy Faye" is set to premiere on September 17, 2021. In an interview with the Los Angeles Times to promote the film, Chastain opened up about the process of becoming Tammy Faye — including a crazy sacrifice she had to make.

Chastain is worried about 'permanent damage' to her skin

Tammy Faye Bakker's intense makeup was an iconic piece of her public persona, which means that Chastain had to duplicate the regimen in order to effectively portray her. The actress revealed that the makeup process lasted anywhere from four to seven-and-a-half hours, and resulted in her having a very specific worry about the weight of the makeup.

She explained, "I think for sure I've done some permanent damage to my skin on this. Listen, I eat very pure and I take very good care of my skin and I stay out of the sun and all that stuff. But it's heavy. And when you're wearing it all day every day — the weight of it on your body, it stretches your skin out. I finally took it off and I was like, 'I look 50 years old!' No, I'm kidding. But it's fine. It's for my art."

Chastain also revealed that while the film stays accurate to the amount of makeup Tammy Faye wore, they never try to explain it. She told the L.A. Times, "This was a conversation we had, all of us as a group, the studio and everything — up until the final moment: Do we need to explain why she wears so much makeup? And for me, no. It's nobody's business ... women get judged on our appearance, unlike men ... Everyone just needs to shut up about how a woman is presenting themselves in the world."