Jessica Chastain: It ‘takes a lot of energy’ to get your makeup done for hours


Jessica Chastain is looking to double-up on Golden Globe nominations next year, if the Golden Globes are still a thing (and they probably are not). She’s currently promoting The Eyes of Tammy Faye, which could totally score Chastain several big awards nominations, and Scenes from a Marriage. Jessica covers the latest issue of DuJour to promote both projects. I don’t think I realized before now that Jessica was the one who put the Tammy Faye film together, and she was the one who bought the rights to the documentary of the same name. You can read the full piece here. Some highlights:

Getting the rights to the documentary: “I knew about Tammy from what I’d seen on Saturday Night Live, but I actually had never seen her give an interview until I watched the documentary. My impression from sketch television was that she cried all the time, she was a crook and always had mascara running down her face.” But Chastain found herself particularly moved by the film and Messner’s message that “everyone is deserving of love,” she explains. So she called her agent and manager and bought the narrative feature film rights to the documentary herself.

She likes to change the industry: “But I have these ideas that we have to push against an old-fashioned way the film industry has worked….[But] creating [film and television] is a lot of work. There are so many headaches on the producing side. It’s so much easier when someone sends you a script. But I’ve never been the person who says to go with the status quo. I’d studied the industry for a long time. If I’ve been given this golden ticket, I understand how lucky I am to do what I do. For me not to use my platform to do something positive for others just feels irresponsible.”

The hours she spent in makeup to become Tammy Faye: “I just wanted to cry. People don’t understand that [that kind of makeup] takes a lot of energy, but I used that time to listen to her voice. I just rewatched and rewatched her on video. I’ve seen every video she’s ever done.”

Having to sing as Tammy Faye: She’s sung on films before “but I’ve never sung like Tammy Faye. To be honest, I was supposed to pre-record [a few tracks] and I was so scared. I drank whiskey and Throat Coat [tea]. With Tammy Faye, it always sounds like she’s hollering to heaven.”

She was terrified the whole time: “There were so many parts of making this movie that terrified me. On the first day of shooting, I started shaking before the first take. That’s never happened to me on a movie, and it was so embarrassing. But I thought, If I’m going to throw myself off this cliff, I’m going to jump off the deep end. People might really make fun of me. But Tammy Faye probably thought that every day, and she did it anyway.”

Making Tammy Faye: It was “the most difficult thing I’ve ever done and the scariest thing I’ve ever done. But I did it because it needed to be told. I’m not very good at toeing the line and keeping the status quo. I’ve never been good at that.”

[From DeJour]

Something that occurred to me, bizarrely, as I read this piece was that Tammy Faye probably did her own makeup for a big chunk of her life, right? Maybe she had makeup artists when she and Jim Bakker were on television constantly and the money was rolling in. But even then, I bet Tammy Faye probably preferred to “put on her face” like always. I wonder if Jessica ever considered doing it that way, and applying the makeup herself? That would have taken up even more energy, I guess, and she found it so exhausting to… sit in a makeup chair. Plus, Jessica wears facial prosthetics to make her face more square and Tammy-esque, and it’s not like she can do that herself.

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Cover courtesy of DuJour.

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17 Responses to “Jessica Chastain: It ‘takes a lot of energy’ to get your makeup done for hours”

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  1. JennyJazzhands says:

    Wow. I’m a dancer/stage performer and I find that time in the makeup chair relaxing before going on stage. I’d never thought that it might be too much for others. I get stressed when I’m doing my own makeup lol

  2. Mac says:

    Jessica needs to get a grip. Health care and front line workers have been through hell for a year and a half. They would love to get paid for sitting in a make up chair.

    • Kath says:

      Of course some jobs are extremely more demanding than others but I don’t see how their experience invalidate hers.

      • AlpineWitch says:

        I think she expressed it in the wrong way. I understand it takes patience and it’s boring but how can someone say it takes a lot of energy to sit on a chair for hours?

    • Sankay says:

      I agree with this sentiment. She really shouldn’t complain about sitting in a chair having make up applied to her. I recall the hours it took for make-up on Eddie Murphy, Robert DeNiro, and Jim Carrey in different roles. I also recall the makeup artists saying they would work for Eddie anytime because he just laid back and relaxed during application where Jim Carrey whined and complained the entire time (hours). Never a good look.

    • Veronika says:

      To me it sounds like she’s copying the Anne Hathaway Oscar campaign strategy….talking about how the physical transformation for the role was the hardest thing she’s everrrrrrr gone through & it was the most challenging character to portray everrrrr & omg she almost died for her art.

      • Grant says:

        This appears to be so much more than just changing herself cosmetically. Tammy Faye was a CHARACTER and her idiosyncrasies are not easy to recreate. Judging from the trailers (haven’t seen the film yet) it looks like Jessica really commits to both her speaking and singing voice so I’m very interested to see the final product. All reviews I’ve read have showered her performance with praise.

    • Nikki* says:

      OMG with the statement police! The woman said it’s hard for her to sit in a makeup chair for hours; there is nothing wrong with this! As Americans, we have a much better safety net for abject poverty than people in hellholes like Haiti or Niger. So don’t let me hear ONE of you ever complain about being tired, hungry, disappointed, uncomfortable, etc. ever again. Personally, I was planting a tree and several bushes in my yard today. A neighbor said, “That’s a lot of work!” and I said, “It’s like play for me; it’s housework I hate!” The woman is allowed to like and dislike stuff.

  3. faithmobile says:

    I’m guessing it was the prosthetics that took a long time and was exhausting. I’ve heard from Star Trek actors that it wasn’t fun.

  4. Yup, Me says:

    Tammy Fay Baker makeup is like the end stages of pregnancy – when you’re done and don’t think you can get any bigger, there’s still more to go.

    I can understand how that would be exhausting between the prosthetics and the makeup- that amount of touching and dabbing and brushing and and and.

  5. Noki says:

    This type of make up with the prosthetics makes sense to take a long time. But i have seen some KUWTK where they complain ‘omg i only have 2 hrs for make up’ and i am like WTF. And this is them sitting around just for casual filming. They once went on a ski trip and one of the rooms was for hair and make up,decked out with vanity mirrors etc

  6. STRIPE says:

    I think it may be “exhausting” in the same way that flying is exhausting. Yes you’re just sitting there for hours but for some reason you’re ready for a nap at the end.

  7. guilty pleasures says:

    It takes a whole lot of energy to do MOST FREAKING JOBS!! We could easily start of chain of what most of us do for a living that requires ACTUAL energy, such that sitting in a chair whilst being attended to would be a gift.
    Seriously, overpaid actors should really STFU. They are exhausting.
    Sorry for the yelling, I’m only on my first cup of coffee.

  8. daisyfly says:

    I almost certain it’s the prosthetics AND makeup that make for an exhausting time. At the very least, it’s an hour of skin prep and application of each prosthesis, followed by at least another hour of prep for makeup, then makeup application. The makeup artist will have a reference image that they’ll constantly look at to make sure that their application is exact. You’re not allowed to move around much — especially for non-generic/specified looks that require identical placement each and every single time (which is a requirement for prosthetics), so the shots can be cut together seamlessly in post. I’m sure that this is the case with Tammy Faye’s specific and recognizable signature look.

  9. SpankyB says:

    I understand the exhaustion. I can’t have my hair colored professionally, it just zaps me. Too much touching, too much sitting, and there’s a lot of motion going on around me by other customers and stylists. It’s one huge energy suck for me. I imagine having my face and hair touched all that time would be even worse.

  10. MarcelMarcel says:

    I can see how having prosthetics and makeup will be exhausting. Having my makeup done by a gifted makeup artist sounds relaxing. But glue and prosthetics just sounds uncomfortable.
    I had to simplify my makeup routine mostly so I could places on time. But there something so soothing and energising about doing makeup & skincare for me.