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Jessica, is that you? Chastain turns heads with ‘Eyes of Tammy Faye’ trailer

A man and a woman smiling on a TV screen
Andrew Garfield as Jim Bakker and Jessica Chastain as Tammy Faye Bakker in “The Eyes of Tammy Faye.”
(Searchlight Pictures)

Televangelists Jim Bakker and Tammy Faye Bakker have returned to the screen — sort of.

Searchlight Pictures released the flashy trailer Wednesday for “The Eyes of Tammy Faye,” an upcoming biopic from director Michael Showalter. The film will chronicle the glittering and turbulent journey of its late titular celebrity Christian, played by an often unrecognizable Jessica Chastain.

“It’s all part of our mission to help people,” Chastain’s Tammy Faye says at the top of the highly saturated preview. “Anyone who’s hurting, or they feel like they’ve been left out. God has a plan for us.”

Starring opposite Chastain in the period drama is fellow Oscar nominee Andrew Garfield as Jim Bakker, whose noble Christian values inevitably begin to wane as he becomes increasingly motivated by power and greed — much to his idealistic wife’s inner turmoil.

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“We’re not doing anything wrong, though,” Chastain’s Tammy Faye muses while wringing her hands inside their opulent bedroom.

“Is that a question?” Garfield’s Jim replies.

Throughout the trailer, Tammy Faye wrestles with her husband’s heavily publicized downfall while desperately clinging to her moral principles — even when other prominent members of her faith disagree.

“Faith isn’t political,” she remarks in response to pastor Jerry Falwell’s (Vincent D’Onofrio) homophobic views. Before she died in 2007 from cancer, Tammy Faye was considered an LGBTQ ally and raised awareness of the HIV/AIDS crisis.

“Some people, they’re just hurting so bad, and we just need to love them,” she says, her face coated in her signature thick mascara, eye shadow, lipstick and bronzer. “I won’t go forward looking in the rearview mirror of my life. This is who I am.”

Tammy Faye Messner, the mascara-laden former wife of televangelist Jim Bakker, the charismatic TV preacher with the choir-boy face with whom she appeared on their popular Christian talk-variety show until his downfall amid scandal in the late 1980s, has died.

The dramatic preview also teases the legal fallout from the couple’s religious exploits, which resulted in Jim Bakker being sentenced to 45 years in prison after he was arrested on several counts of fraud and conspiracy tied to his and Tammy Faye’s popular TV program, “The PTL Club.”

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“I built you an empire,” Jim barks at his wife mid-spiral.

“You built you an empire,” Tammy Faye fires back.

Also featured in the biopic’s ensemble cast are Sam Jaeger, Cherry Jones and Randy Havens. “The Eyes of Tammy Faye,” which shares the title of a 2000 documentary narrated by RuPaul, hits theaters Sept. 17.


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