Jessica Chastain, Drag Race queen Ginger Minj on how Tammy Faye's love 'saved lives' of gay people
EW's exclusive interview between the drag superstar — who previously played the legendary televangelist on the Snatch Game celebrity impersonation challenge — and the Oscar-nominated Eyes of Tammy Faye star sees the pair expressing mutual adoration for the late religious figure's devotion to uplifting people with HIV and AIDS throughout the 1980s.
"When everybody in the world was kind of against the LGBTQIA+ community, particularly people who were living with HIV and AIDS, Tammy did the very unpopular thing at the time and embraced our community and tried to heal and make everybody feel heard and love," Minj says in the clip above.
Chastain attributes Faye's openness to the queer community to her own experience of being "exiled" from the church, expressing that she aimed to love instead of fear those who were considered social outcasts — like Steve Pieters, a gay man living with AIDS whom Faye interviewed on her Tammy's House Party program in 1985.
"That interview with him and Tammy, I'm convinced [it] saved lives, because not only did she say we as moms and dads need to love through anything and that's the way of Jesus, she's telling everyone watching her on TV, 'If your children are different from you, you put your arms around them and you love them,'" Chastain explains. "She also said if someone is struggling with AIDS, we wrap our arms around them and we tell them that we care. That was a radical thing to do, especially [amid] the likes of Jerry Falwell, who had so much power, saying the exact opposite at the time."
Chastain also revealed that she first eyed playing Faye in what would eventually become the new Michael Showalter–directed biopic in 2012, when she saw the documentary about the TV personality's life, which was produced and directed by Drag Race creators Randy Barbato and Fenton Bailey, and narrated by RuPaul.
Watch EW's exclusive video with Ginger and Chastain above.
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