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Interview: Vincent D’Onofrio Discusses ‘The Eyes of Tammy Faye’ and Playing a Real Person

Vincent D'Onofrio poses for a portrait during the 2019 Television Critics Association Summer Press Tour at the Beverly Hilton, Saturday, July 27, 2019, in Beverly Hills, Calif. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)

Who doesn’t love the precision with which Vincent D’Onofrio essays a role? Whether it’s his introduction in Full Metal Jacket or his insanely disturbing part in The Cell, D’Onofrio is always on. Even with a supporting role like the one he has in The Eyes of Tammy Faye, he delivers the goods. Here, he plays the noted religious figure Jerry Fallwell, a part we’ve seen on screen before. However, we’ve never seen him played by someone as good as D’Onofrio. A while ago, I got the chance to speak with him about preparing to play Fallwell (the same day I interviewed Cherry Jones, which you can hear right here). Now, today brings you our quick but interesting chat.

Once again, my TIFF review of The Eyes of Tammy Faye, in case you’re curious, is here and includes this bit:

Watching a biopic about a controversial figure can often lend an edge to an otherwise fairly traditional genre. Especially if they could almost equally be portrayed in a sympathetic or villainous light, the possibilities exist for something that stands out from the pack. So, while The Eyes of Tammy Faye is an enjoyable biopic, one with a fantastic leading lady turn, it does play things almost too safe. Instead of choosing an avenue, it swerves in between, opting for the most mainstream approach possible. The result is enjoyable, no doubt, but does suggest a great movie is hidden within this only decently good one. 

Below, you can hear my interview with D’Onofrio. We talk mostly about The Eyes of Tammy Faye, and specifically, his tackling of the Fallwell character. It’s fascinating to listen to how he works through preparation for the role. Obviously, he’s such a skilled actor, you never doubt he’ll pull it off, but it’s still really interesting to hear from him…

Here now is my conversation with The Eyes of Tammy Faye co-star Vincent D’Onofrio. Enjoy:

The Eyes of Tammy Faye hits theaters this weekend!


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