HOLLYWOOD -- In the new movie "The Eyes of Tammy Faye," Jessica Chastain transforms herself into televangelist Tammy Faye Bakker. The story of the wife of Jim Bakker was a 10-year project for Chastain, who is also a producer on the film.
Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker earned fame, and a lot of money, through their religious broadcasting, until it all came tumbling down in a mess of scandals and fraud. Andrew Garfield plays Jim to Chastain's Tammy Faye. Both actors said they tapped into certain sympathies for the troubled preachers.
"She was hosting five hours of television every day," said Chastain. "She was struggling with drug addiction, she didn't even realize she was an addict because her doctor had prescribed everything to her. So I think for her she was just a shell of a human being when it all started to crumble down."
"We all suffer from a sense of 'not enoughness'," said Garfield. "We all suffer from this idea that we don't have enough, we're not doing enough... and we're never going to achieve our full measure in this life. And I think Jim was just a very, very plagued person in that regard. He was terrified of not being enough."
Tammy's approach to religion was welcoming to everyone, which puts her at odds with most of the evangelical community. She was the first televangelist to interview a person living with HIV/AIDS on a Christian network.
"I believe the two of them in that interview saved lives because this is a time when the U.S. government wasn't even really talking about.... the president wasn't even saying the word AIDS," said Chastain. "She was telling these people we love through anything and that's the way with Jesus. For me, I found it so incredibly important. She was a rebel 100%."