The squad who turned Jessica Chastain right into a televangelist famous person go deep on the prosthetics, the wigs, and the discontinued make-up.
Photograph: Searchlight Footage

For a lot of, Tammy Faye Bakker is synonymous along with her meticulous sense of fashion and the contaminated legacy of PTL, the scandal-prone Christian broadcasting community she co-founded and ran along with her then-husband Jim Bakker by means of the late Eighties. Her picture was all the time over-the-top, assembled with head-to-toe aptitude and diligence: large hair, matchy-matchy pastel colours and sequins, and dense, shimmery make-up atop sturdy cheekbones and tattooed lips and eyebrows.

It was a picture usually caricatured within the media after the Bakkers’ downfall. However when Jessica Chastain first watched The Eyes of Tammy Faye (2000), administrators Fenton Bailey and Randy Barbato’s documentary in regards to the famed televangelist, she noticed a extra complicated and compassionate individual than the one represented in sensationalized information tales. She determined to inform Tammy’s full life story on her phrases — and so remodeled into Tammy Faye herself in a brand new movie of the identical title, directed by Michael Showalter.

Among the many squad of magicians who turned Chastain into Tammy Faye are the movie’s make-up division head Linda Dowds, chief hairstylist Stephanie Ingram, prosthetic-makeup designer Justin Raleigh, and costume designer Mitchell Travers. The quartet labored with the actor and with each other to keep away from the clichéd, runny-mascara picture of Bakker and to remain true to her model throughout the a long time. Right here’s how they did it.

The Hair: Particular

Photograph: Searchlight Footage

Changing Chastain’s signature flaming locks into Tammy Faye’s ever-changing and generally wild hair was an enormous enterprise. Ingram addressed the problem by breaking down Tammy’s hair colours and kinds into decade-based segments, from the ’50s all the best way into the ’90s. For the character’s earlier days, she reached for brief and candy brunette wigs, becoming voluminous blonde ’dos (with {custom} frost and tip, true to Tammy’s precise hair) and ultimately crimson toupees later in life.

On the entire, the designer used 11 wigs, two of which she custom-built for Chastain for scenes that demanded particular hair-related motion. An particularly difficult state of affairs got here when Chastain stated she wished to have the ability to take her wig off to disclose Faye’s quick, spiky reduce. That naturally needed to be one other wig, one that might expose the getting older Tammy’s thinning hair. “That night I went home, I could see [the finished thing] in my head, but I could not figure out how to sew it on,” Ingram remembers. She left it alone for a couple of minutes, then all of the sudden “got up and started making it. I was like, ‘Oh my goodness, it’s ready!’”

Photograph: Daniel McFadden

For Ingram, working hand in hand with costumer Travers was particularly vital, partly to ensure that her hair designs and the necks of Tammy’s attire weren’t getting unintentionally tangled. She needed to be versatile, ready, and well-researched. “So if one thing didn’t work, I had something else to rely on,” she explains. “Especially with Jessica … I knew how specific she wanted to be.”

The Make-up: Unapologetic

Photograph: Searchlight Footage

For Dowds, capturing Faye’s boisterous philosophy on make-up was essential: Tammy didn’t put on make-up as a masks or to cover her actual self. “It just made her happy,” Dowds says. “I do believe she felt pretty. It’s just who she was.”

That turned Dowds’s start line in shaping Faye’s progressively intensifying make-up, ranging from her bright-faced Bible School days, the place make-up was a taboo, by means of her PTL years and past, up till the early ’90s, when she obtained her lip liner and eyebrow line tattooed. “She took her cue from other TV personalities in the Evangelical world. There was a lot of big hair, big makeup.”

Dowds went from frosty blues and mauves within the ’70s and a part of the ’80s into plums, purples, and burgundies, including extra taupe to her palette later. She ceaselessly embraced pink, Tammy’s favourite shade. To attain the permanence of her tattooed lips and eyebrows, she opted for waterproof pencils. “I added another eyeliner on top of it and sometimes a little bit of shadow just to embellish. There are these incredible eyebrow stencils. They allowed us to go very deliberately and heavier with the waterproof pencil.”

Photograph: Daniel McFadden

Noting that Tammy purchased make-up at accessible locations like drugstores, Goal, and swap meets, Dowds researched the period’s precise merchandise, even supplying a few of Tammy’s authentic go-tos from eBay (together with a long-discontinued L’Oréal mascara). “But we couldn’t actually use those. They have a certain shelf life.” She matched them to the closest modern merchandise as an alternative, usually consulting her “Revlon Bible” that allowed her to find actual interval colours that also exist underneath new names right this moment. She additionally purchased false lashes from Ardell and lash glue from Duo, two of Tammy’s go-to manufacturers. At instances, Dowds let issues get somewhat messy. “There’s a scene in the bedroom where she’s in her lovely, fluffy nightie and robe. She’s got an eyelash that has fallen down. We just let those things happen because they would happen in her world.”

The Prosthetics: Excessive

Photograph: Daniel McFadden

In terms of re-creating a historic determine, Raleigh emphasizes the significance of balancing the hallmark components of the real-life character and using the actor taking part in them. His workforce did quite a lot of early assessments to search out that good amalgamation, beginning with an excessive look that they progressively dialed down. Raleigh ultimately landed on three levels of prosthetics. Stage one was younger Tammy of the ’60s, ’70s, and early ’80s, a section that required cheek and chin prosthetics and somewhat translucent tape to drag Chastain’s nostrils up.

Stage two started within the mid-’80s: a full neck wrap and bigger cheeks to convey weight acquire. Raleigh additionally decreased Chastain’s lip line to begin the getting older course of. “Stage three [was] the same format,” he explains. “Larger cheeks and chin, [and] lip prosthetics to age her. We also did a little eye-dye work to give her the age.” Nonetheless, the chief component was all the time the cheeks. “She has a very specific shape. That was really the number one component [through which] we transformed Jessica enough. So as long as we had the cheeks properly placed and anatomically correct, we could limit prosthetics [elsewhere].”

Due to the difficult dance between make-up and prosthetics — the previous ought to by no means stain the latter — Dowds was amongst Raleigh’s essential collaborators. “In the latter stages, [Jessica] would actually start with Linda. There’s so much makeup. You can get a lot of fallout of eye shadow. If that happens with prosthetics, it’s a disaster to try and clean it up.” Raleigh’s workforce additionally created Tammy’s entire pores and skin basis, with Tammy’s complexion deepening and darkening over time. “It’s always magical. You start with the person you recognize. By the end of this multi-hour process between departments, it’s truly transformative. It’s a strange psychological transformation for the actors. Looking at yourself in the mirror and not being able to truly recognize yourself is challenging. It helps them get into the performance, but takes a little getting used to.”

The Closet: Aggravating

Photograph: Searchlight Footage

“It’s called The Eyes of Tammy Faye, so we always wanted to see things from her perspective,” says costume designer Travers on his considerate method to Tammy’s wardrobe, which he broke down into a long time like the remainder of the artisans. “In my mind, the good days were the most colorful with her favorite palette: pinks, greens, blues. And [leopard, because] Tammy famously said that her favorite color was leopard. [Later], the wall started to come down a little. So I used a really aggravated color palette: slashes of crimson red, cobalt blue, and some black that started to feel aggressive.”

It was very important for Travers to search out the early-in-life fact of Tammy, somebody with restricted means however quite a lot of ambition. From there, it was only a matter of evolving that fact. “We watch her flourish as she finds strength, recognition, and celebrity. It was important that it always felt like the same person, just expressing themselves more flamboyantly.” Fortunately, images of Tammy have been straightforward to accumulate from the archives in addition to her family and friends, a group Travers studiously become a design bible.

Photograph: Searchlight Footage

To acquire the number of appropriate classic clothes and materials — polka dots, shimmery textiles, elaborations, and gaudy getups — Travers tapped high-end designers, on-line retailers, and property gross sales. One serendipitous discover got here from a consignment retailer, an ideal crimson skirt go well with to re-create one among Tammy’s well-known appears to be like on the steps of a courthouse. “It was this little divine moment where I got exactly what I needed.”

As a result of Tammy was “a full-look” girl (“She would have been a fantastic costume designer,” Travers says), he wished all her items to be harmonized. So he labored intently with all departments, matching Dowds’s eye shadows to his personal colours whereas navigating shoulder pads, large hair, and Tammy’s altering physique form. One fortunate incident of collaboration got here when he stumbled upon a bundle of pristine, unopened press-on nails from the ’70s in a tiny store. “I ran to Linda, who then of course transformed them. There were a few of those [lucky] moments. I felt like [Tammy] was looking out for me, [making] sure that we got her looking the way she should.”


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