Actors have always loved going overboard to get into character, be it losing or gaining weight, like Robert De Niro or Christian Bale (or Jared Leto), or slathering themselves in makeup and prosthetics. But Jessica Chastain may have gone too far. The Oscar-nominee will soon be seen in the docudrama The Eyes of Tammy Faye, playing the recovered evangelist opposite Andrew Garfield’s disgraced Jim Bakker. She went all-in to look like Faye, and it worked: She does not look like Jessica Chastain. But now she’s worried it may have left lasting damage to her face.
In a new interview with The Los Angeles Times (as caught by The Hollywood Reporter), the It star says that it took an average of four hours to make her look like Faye, who was famously fond of makeup. The longest it ever took was seven hours. “I think for sure I’ve done some permanent damage to my skin on this,” she said.
One problem: Chastain says her eating habits are “very pure” and that she takes care of her skin. Faye’s makeup habits, which erred on the “heavy” side, did not gibe with her skin.
“When you’re wearing it all day every day — the weight of it on your body, it stretches your skin out,” she said, adding, “I finally took it off and I was like, ‘I look 50 years old!’”
Chastain was even worried that the makeup would hinder her performance. “People think it’s easier, but it’s not. You have to reach through the makeup — you can’t let the makeup be the performance,” she said. “She was so emotional, and I was afraid that I wouldn’t be able to get emotional with all this stuff all over me. Am I going to be able to see people and feel free? I just had to get used to it. So much for me is I have to trick my mind.”
And then there was the amount of time it took every time. “It was like going on a long-distance flight every day. Because if it takes seven and a half hours to put on, it’s going to take at least two hours to get off. It was concerning to me. I was worried about my circulation,” she said. “That’s the most prosthetics I’ve worn. Even the bronzer and the foundation are so much darker, the lashes are thicker. The makeup gets heavier as she gets older.”
Chastain ultimately said it was fine, “it’s for my art.” But sometimes art can be a giant pain in the butt. You can see the fruit of her labors when The Eyes of Tammy Faye comes out on September 17.