For Jay Bakker, ‘The Eyes of Tammy Faye’ Is Both Loving and Traumatic

When Jay Bakker heard that Hollywood is another movie about his parents, Tammy Faye Messner and Jim Bakker– the former first couple of teleangelangelism, who built a commercial empire around their ministry only to break it up and burn it into sex and money scandals – he called a therapist.

“I was always in therapy, but I said, ‘I think it’s time to overcome these things once again and prepare myself to get out of it,'” Jay says. The eyes of Tammy Faye, the biopic opening Friday the stars Jessica Chastain in the Andrew Garfield like his parents. “Because a lot of trauma happened.”

Jay, who is a pastor and co-founder of Inclusive Revolution Church, says he also changed his social media settings before Friday’s premiere, making some accounts private and turning off comments on others. If there was a silver lining for his family’s scandals in the ’80s – which were so rabidly covered at the time that Jay remembers tabloid reporters offering him money for gossip as a child – it was that there was no social media at the time were.

The eyes of Tammy Faye is well treated and well thought out. Chastain was inspired to produce the film after seeing the documentary 2000 The eyes of Tammy Faye and realize how unfairly the Messner was treated by the media. But to make that point, the movie, written by Abe Sylvia and led by Michael Showalter, should also regain the family spirit that began when Jay was 11 years old.

© Searchlight Pictures / Everett Collection.

That year, it was revealed that Jim had an affair with a former church secretary and paid her $ 265,000 to keep her quiet. Jim was fired from his ministerial credentials. Then, in the following years, when Tammy Faye was fighting an addiction against Ativan, Jim was convicted of federal charges that he had bribed his followers out of $ 158 million, and was sent to prison. (Originally sentenced to 45 years, Jim’s sentence was reduced and he was sentenced to almost five years in prison.)

So while Jay believed Chastain, he says, “At the same time, I was like, ‘Here we go again. This thing never stops. My parents lost everything. My father went to prison. My parents are divorced.’ I dealt with that in high school. After an addiction, he adds, “Nothing surprises me. I had a really weird life. “

In 1990, Kevin Spacey in the Bernadette Peters played Jay’s parents in a TV movie Case of Grace, that was “awful … really, really bad,” Jay says. He recalls that Peters essentially defended Tammy Faye against television interviewers who still intended to characterize his mother as a “clown” and his father as a “criminal.”

Chastain has Years to prepare to play Tammy Faye – do extensive research and have conversations with Jay and his sister Tammy Sue about her late mother, who died in 2007. When it was time for Jay to see the last movie, Chastain was in such a Tammy Faye headspace that she gave Jay a motherly warning about various sex scenes. In one sequence, Chastain’s Tammy Faye — while pregnant with Jay Ass — meets an affair with Grammy-winning gospel singer and eccentric Gary Paxton.

“I think she was worried about me seeing that,” Jay says, pointing out that the film needs to meet the actual timeline. (In fact, Jay was born in 1975, a few years before Tammy Faye grew closer to Paxton, according to Jay.) But Jay, who preaches the same forgiveness and acceptance as his mother, was not worried. His parents have been making such ridiculous shares and / or criminals of the media for decades that for him, images of his mother and father as sexual philanders are an improvement. “Actually, my parents are portrayed as human beings and sexual beings, I thought, Well, that’s great. People are sexual,” Jay says. “I thought it would be very humanizing in a way.”


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