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Jessica Chastain Looks Unrecognizable as Tammy Faye Bakker in Her New Movie

The actor plays the televangelist in an upcoming biopic.

The trailer for Jessica Chastain's latest movie is here, but you may not be able to tell she's in it. Chastian stars as Tammy Faye Bakker in The Eyes of Tammy Faye, and a new trailer, which was released on June 9, shows the transformation—or really, multiple transformations—the actor had to go through to portray the televangelist. As you'll see, Chastain is totally unrecognizable as Tammy Faye in her later years.

At the beginning of the trailer, you can still recognize Chastain's face without her signature red hair, but as it goes on and we see more and more of Tammy Faye's life, the wigs, heavy makeup, and loud fashions come into play. Read on to see Chastian as Tammy Faye Baker and to learn more about the upcoming film.

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First, here's the real Tammy Faye Bakker.

Tammy Faye and Jim Bakker at an event to commemorate the bicentennial of the signing of the constitution in 1987
Bettmann / Contributor via Getty Images

Tammy Faye was a televangelist, who worked with her husband, Jim Bakker, on the evangelical TV Show The PTL Club in the 1970s and '80s. The Bakkers built an empire based on sharing their Christian beliefs—including building a Christian theme park—but it all came crashing down in the late '80s. Jim was accused of sexually assaulting a secretary, which he denied in his 1996 book I Was Wrong, saying the relationship was consensual, according to ABC News. A couple years later, in 1989, Jim was convicted of 24 counts of fraud and conspiracy and sentenced to 45 years in prison. His sentence was later reduced, and he was released on parole in 1994.

Tammy Faye filed for divorced once Jim was convicted; she was not indicted for any of the crimes. In 1993, she went on to marry church contractor Roe Messner, who she was married to until her death due to colon cancer in 2007.

Jessica Chastain had studied Tammy Faye Bakker for years in order to do the biopic.

Jessica Chastian as Tammy Faye Bakker in "The Eyes of Tammy Faye"
Searchlight Pictures/YouTube

The Eyes of Tammy Faye, which will be released on Sept. 17, is based on the 2000 documentary of the same name that told the story of the Bakkers rise and fall. (In the film, Jim is played by Andrew Garfield.)

Chastian, who is also a producer on the film, told People that she spent 10 years researching Tammy Faye with an interest in making the movie. "I just was so blown away by her and her story," she told the magazine. "The thing I loved the most about Tammy is her capacity to love. She knew what it felt like to not feel important, and she didn't want anyone to experience that."

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Chastain shows Tammy Faye's evolution, as the film follows her through many years and looks.

Jessica Chastain and Andrew Garfield in "The Eyes of Tammy Faye"
Searchlight Pictures/YouTube

Tammy Faye and Jim got married in 1961 and the conviction took place in 1989, so the movie will span at least 30 years. That means that we see Chastian as 19-year-old newlywed Tammy Faye with brown hair and a casual sense of style, through a bleached blonde bouffant phase, and then her short, curled hair and heavy, colorful makeup in the '80s.

Chastain's transformation into Tammy Faye took hours.

Jessica Chastain in heavy makeup in "The Eyes of Tammy Faye"
Searchlight Pictures/YouTube

Chastian also spoke to People about the process of becoming Tammy Faye. "Every moment, I had something on my face," she explained. "I have a dimple in my chin that she didn't have, so we would seal that up. Her face was more round than mine, so I would have things on my cheeks. [The makeup artists'] expertise just helped me so much with my confidence in playing her."

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Chastain was particularly inspired by one famous Tammy Faye moment.

Jessica Chastain in a blonde wig in "The Eyes of Tammy Faye"
Searchlight Pictures/YouTube

Tammy Faye made waves in the '80s when she interviewed Steven Pieters, a gay minister who had been diagnosed with AIDS, when talking about the subject was considered taboo. She also became a surprising supporter of the LGBTQ community.

"That's really why I wanted to make the movie," Chastain told People of the interview. "Because in a time when people were even afraid to say AIDS, we had this female televangelist. And she was a minister too in her own right. She wasn't just the preacher's wife, the singer. The interview is phenomenal. It's so beautiful and loving. And it's such a huge turning point in terms of what people could associate God's grace with, because I feel like she was filled with grace."

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Lia Beck
Lia Beck is a writer living in Richmond, Virginia. In addition to Best Life, she has written for Refinery29, Bustle, Hello Giggles, InStyle, and more. Read more
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