WE: Women’s Entertainment has teamed with vet nonfiction producers World of Wonder to produce an original 90-minute documentary on former televangelist Tammy Faye Messner’s battle with cancer.
World of Wonder principals Fenton Bailey and Randy Barbato, who produced the award-winning doc “The Eyes of Tammy Faye” in 2000, will exec produce WE’s “Tammy Faye: Death Defying.” Doc is slated to premiere in July.
“Tammy Faye’s style, faith and humor offer a uniquely dramatic perspective on a difficult topic,” said WE director of production Roseanne Lopopolo. “She will provide our viewers with firsthand insight into facing the toughest fight imaginable.”
Bailey and Barbato approached Messner, 62, last year about filming her fight against cancer. She had been diagnosed with colon cancer but had been in remission for eight years. In December doctors informed her that the cancer was active and had spread to her lung.
“I never planned to document it. It’s private and I wasn’t feeling good to boot,” she said. “But I just felt like it might help some people. I know it already has. I’ve gotten thousands of encouraging emails.”
Project, which is still in production, chronicles Messner through her first chemotherapy treatment to last week, when she was told that her tumor was gone. Doc captures Messner’s doctor visits, sickness, visits from friends and family and time with husband Roe Messner.
Having worked with World of Wonder before, Messner said she trusted Bailey and Barbato to be “truthful and honest. And they are. They show it like it is — the good, the bad and the ugly.”
“My only condition was that they couldn’t shoot me without my eyelashes,” Faye joked. “They fell out (during treatment). So I’d always say ‘One minute, boys’ and put my falsies in.”
In addition, doc will also feature Faye as she researches optional remedies from holistic medicine to traditional therapies.
“Our film ‘The Eyes of Tammy Faye’ revealed the misunderstood person behind the mascara,” Barbato said. “It’s an honor and a pleasure to work with Tammy again and try to ease the fear and loathing surrounding cancer.”
Messner appeared on the second edition of celebrity reality show “The Surreal Life.”
World of Wonder’s recent credits include “Inside Deep Throat,” Bravo’s “Showbiz Moms and Dads” and Court TV’s “House of Clues.”