After a big week in the film world thanks to the 2022 BAFTA nominations (more on those later), here is Backstage, Sky News’ film and TV entertainment review.
This week, we’ve been hobnobbing (Zoom counts as hobnobbing, right?) with A-listers incuding Andrew Garfield and Jessica Chastain, who joined us to chat about their new film The Eyes Of Tammy Faye, as well as Halle Berry, who’s back with new conspiracy theory film Moonfall.
Plus, we’ve had the return of BBC Three as a TV channel once again and of course those big awards nominations. First up, we start with The Eyes Of Tammy Faye.
In the 1970s, Tammy Faye Bakker was America’s most famous televangelist, legendary for her religious TV network, and her indelible eyelashes.
But scandal brought down her multimillion-dollar empire when her husband, Jim Bakker, was sent to prison for fraud.
Andrew Garfield, who plays him in The Eyes Of Tammy Faye, alongside Jessica Chastain in the titular role, told Sky News the film is a cautionary and surprisingly contemporary tale.
“They were the first reality television show family, Jim and Tammy. They created the concept of reality TV kind of inadvertently just because they were both performers and they both were, I suppose, hungry for attention, and they both felt a kind of calling towards doing it in the name of Christianity – but also in the name of their own self gain,” he said.
“Whether that was unconscious or conscious is not for me to judge, but it’s a very, very dangerous game to play when you are monetising your life.
“And I know that a lot of young people feel the pressure to do that now through social media, and there’s a direct line between Jim and Tammy and TikTok.”
Chastain also produced the film, having bought the rights before she even started her own production company to make it.
She told Sky News she was determined to show the world there was more to Tammy Faye than mascara – for all her faults, she was a pioneer and something of a gay icon.
“In 1985 she brought Steve Pieters on to her show, who was an openly gay minister with AIDS, and 1985 in the United States, it was a very homophobic time,” Chastain said.
“There was a lot of fear, people were afraid of even being in the same room with someone who had AIDS, it was really not a great time, and politicians weren’t even talking about the AIDS epidemic – it was kind of this secret, and people were dying and it wasn’t being acknowledged.
“And Tammy Faye brought Steve Pieters on to her show – went against her conservative evangelical community and colleagues, and she reminded Christians what it means to be Christian and that you love through everything, and it was such a radical act of love that had never been acknowledged.”
Chastain said she was “shocked” that it wasn’t something she’d been aware of previously. Almost unrecognisable in the role, the star nails the gaudy TV evangelist, having been consumed by the character for years. She says the character’s unique voice became hard to shake off.
“Everyone assumed that she was Southern because she worked in the South but the reality is what made her so folksy and gave her that really sweet quality was that Minnesota accent,” she said.
“I worked on it so much with the great dialect coach Liz Himelstein and once I felt like I was in the pocket and we were shooting, it wouldn’t leave me. Even when we wrapped I’d be talking to people and they’d be like, ‘Okay, Tammy Faye’ – I just loved being her so much it was hard to shed that.”
The Eyes Of Tammy Faye is out now in cinemas in the UK. Interviews by Backstage co-host Claire Gregory
New sci-fi disaster film Moonfall is about a mysterious force which knocks the moon from its orbit and hurls it on a collision course with Earth.
Oscar winner Halle Berry, known for films including Catwoman and X-Men, plays NASA executive and former astronaut Jocinda ‘Jo’ Fowler, the woman with an idea of how to save the planet.
Berry says she is not a “space nerd” – but told Sky News she believes there are other intelligent forms of life out there…
You can watch a clip from her interview below, and take a read of our arts and entertainment correspondent Katie Spencer’s story on conspiracy theories around the moon landings here.
Moonfall is out in the UK and Ireland now
BAFTA nominees 2022
It’s the biggest night in the British film calendar – get it in your diaries for Sunday 13 March.
The nominees were announced earlier this week, with sci-fi blockbuster Dune bagging the most nominations, followed by Netflix western The Power Of The Dog and Kenneth Branagh’s semi-autobiographical Belfast.
All three go up in the best film category, along with Adam McKay’s climate-comedy Don’t Look Up and Paul Thomas Anderson’s 1970s coming-of-age drama Licorice Pizza.
Read more: Sir Kenneth Branagh says ‘introspection’ of lockdown helped inspire Belfast
Read more: Lady Gaga on drawing from real-life trauma for House Of Gucci
Daniel Craig’s final outing as James Bond, No Time To Die, also received a number of nominations, notably for outstanding British film and cinematography. And in the acting categories, Lady Gaga, Leonardo DiCaprio and Will Smith are among the stars in the running.
So a big year for blockbusters then, a bit of a surprise as these ceremonies tend to favour more serious fare. You can read more about the nominations here, and here’s our arts and entertainment editor with her analysis.
Analysis: Nominating blockbusters is a shift in direction this awards season
By Amy Hitchcock, arts and entertainment editor
The post-pandemic BAFTA nominations list sums up all our moods I think. We couldn’t quite stomach the likes of Manchester by Sea or even Three Billboards this year could we?
Less of the dark art-house, bring on the blockbusters: Dune (leading the nominations with 11), and Bond and West Side Story (both with five).
Denis Villeneuve’s sci-fi Dune might be stunningly serious but it’s also – unusually for BAFTA – a blockbuster. I’m not sure No Time To Die would have picked up five nods in pre-pandemic, as the BAFTAs often overlook the box office hits.
And another welcome mood change on diversity, as three of the six up for best director are women, an unprecedented shift for the industry still dominated by white men (behind the scenes at least).
Jane Campion’s front-runner Power of the Dog – up for eight – is about toxic masculinity, a theme that continues to dog the film industry, and the parallels drawn between the film and the indie undeniable.
BAFTA last year was overshadowed by accusations of sexual misconduct against Noel Clarke – which he denies – but as accusations against Hollywood men continue, there’s still a very long way to go.
And where Steven Spielberg and Sir Kenneth Branagh are absent from the director category, a host of newbies are enjoying the spotlight a prestigious award nomination brings.
In acting 19 of the 24 nominees are first time BAFTA nominees, Ariana DeBose (West Side Story), Alana Haim (Licorice Pizza); 11-year-old Woody Norman (C’mon C’mon), Joanna Scanlan (After Love) and Will Smith (King Richard).
Ironically, the changes the industry has been so slow to address has amounted to a more popular list, perhaps making BAFTA more relevant than ever.
Read more: BAFTAs 2022: The full list of films and stars in the running
And finally… after a five year absence from traditional television, BBC Three returned to our screens on Tuesday as a fully fledged TV channel.
The youth-focused BBC channel was home to shows such as Gavin and Stacey and Torchwood before it was sent packing to the broadcaster’s streaming service – but has now been resurrected in an effort to reach more 18 to 35-year-olds.
Ofcom approved the channel’s return in 2021, saying it would help the BBC reach younger viewers outside of London and that 75% of its output had to be original programming.
As well as its existing shows, with hits such as Normal People and This Country, it will also have a raft of new programmes including Ru Paul’s Drag Race UK vs The World, sitcom Lazy Susan and cooking show Hungry For It – starring Stacey Dooley, who made her name making documentaries for the channel.
Read more here.
- You can listen to our interviews, hear our reviews and get our thoughts on the BAFTA nominations – what, no Kirsten Stewart for her portrayal of Princess Diana in Spencer? Shocking! etc – and more in this week’s Backstage podcast. Let us know what you’ve been watching via [email protected]