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Interview: Talking Casting and ‘The Eyes of Tammy Faye’ with Director Michael Showalter

Jessica Chastain, left, star of “The Eyes of Tammy Faye,” and director Michael Showalter pose together for a portrait during the 2021 Toronto International Film Festival, Sunday, Sept. 12, 2012, at the Royal Fairmont York in Toronto. (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello)

Michael Showalter is quickly becoming a go-to director for films that interestingly balance comedy and drama. Known for comedy, the comedian turned filmmaker has opted to helm things that perhaps would be seen as offbeat choices for him. My Name is Doris, The Big Sick, The Lovebirds, and now The Eyes of Tammy Faye are all mixes of comedy and either drama, or in one cast, action, and Showalter has proven deft at them. The Big Sick especially is an absolute gem. With The Eyes of Tammy Faye hitting theaters, I got the chance last week during the Toronto International Film Festival to chat with Showalter. Much like my talks with Vincent D’Onofrio (here) and Cherry Jones (here), I now present to you my discussion with him.

Below, you can hear my interview with Showalter. We talk a lot about casting here, which makes sense considering the project. I made sure to bring up The Big Sick a bit, though the focus is obviously on The Eyes of Tammy Faye. It’s an informative chat, to be sure, as Showalter is whip smart, in addition to being funny. Especially if you’ve enjoyed his films, this is one to definitely check out. Jessica Chastain alone is worth the price of admission.

One more time, 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. 

Here now is my conversation with The Eyes of Tammy Faye director Michael Showalter. Enjoy:

The Eyes of Tammy Faye hits theaters this weekend!

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Written by Joey Magidson

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