In theaters now: “The Eyes of Tammy Faye” — a new movie based on an evangelist and LGBTQ+ ally from Charlotte

In theaters now: “The Eyes of Tammy Faye” — a new movie based on an evangelist and LGBTQ+ ally from Charlotte

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The complicated life of Tammy Faye Messner (formerly Bakker), an evangelist and LGBTQ+ ally, will be told through her point of view in a new movie called “The Eyes of Tammy Faye.” The movie premieres on Friday.

“The Eyes of Tammy Faye” trailer gives viewers a preview of Jessica Chastain as Tammy Faye. Chastain sports Tammy Faye’s signature makeup, along with her vibrant and sympathetic personality.

Tickets: Showings for the movie start Thursday evening and the official premiere is Friday, September 17. It’s playing in all major theaters and you can find showtimes and tickets here.

Why it matters: Tammy Faye and her former husband Jim Bakker, who rose to prominence while living in the Charlotte area, were known for prosperity gospel teachings and their Christian TV show filmed in Charlotte, The Praise the Lord (PTL) Club.

But the empire crumbled under Jim Bakker’s fraud charges, rape allegations and hush money. The Christian theme park they owned in Fort Mill, Heritage USA, went bankrupt.

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  • The History Channel reports that six million people visited the park in 1986, which put it behind only Disney World and Disneyland by attendance.

The movie promises to give viewers an intimate look at the “rise, fall and redemption” of Tammy Faye Bakker. The movie was filmed in and around Charlotte between September and December 2019, as the Observer reported.

  • For instance, filmmakers used a house on Lake Norman for the scenes set at the Bakkers’ 10,000-square foot home on Lake Wylie, per the Observer. The crew also re-created the PTL studio in an old warehouse in the Plaza Midwood area.
  • The film is based on a 2000 documentary of the same name that was narrated by RuPaul.

Of note: The reason they opted to film in North Carolina instead of South Carolina (Lake Wylie and Fort Mill, for instance) is because North Carolina’s film incentives program is more generous than South Carolina’s.

Tammy Faye, who later changed her name to Messner after divorcing Jim Bakker and remarrying, was known for being a Christian who advocated for the LGBTQ+ community and reached out to HIV/AIDs patients.

Editor’s note: This story was first published in June, and we updated it on September 15.

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