Portraying Pastor Chuck Smith in the new movie “Jesus Revolution” has had a profound effect on actor Kelsey Grammer. The movie also a strong showing in theaters over the weekend.
“It strikes me, you know, I probably have been preparing for this role all my life, honestly,” he told Fox News. “It was a pretty seamless transition into playing Chuck. I’m kind of a Bible guy. I’ve been reading the Bible all my life. I turn to it for prayer, for reflection, for information and I just always have. It’s just always been sort of at my fingertips throughout my life, ever since I was a boy. So I have a relationship with the word of God, as they call it, that it was probably akin to what Chuck Smith’s relationship was with it.”
Based on a true story, Smith makes friends with a hippie preacher making waves in the 70s counterculture movement, much to the dismay of his aging congregation.
Released by Lionsgate, the movie earned $4.6M at the box office Saturday, up 26% on its Friday showing. With Sunday ticket sales, the film will come in a strong second or third place against some Hollywood blockbusters.
Grammer wept last week during an interview with Kelly Ripa and Ryan Seacrest as he discussed his role in the movie. The touching video went viral and observers called it one of the most authentic displays of emotion on national television in recent history.
“I lived it. I lived in that same time,” Grammer said. “I lived throughout that period in the 70s and stuff and what he accomplished. I saw on some of the faces that I met in my life. I didn’t know it was, you know, his footsteps, but I was walking alongside him in many things. When this role came along, it was just … slipping into a nice suit.”
He hopes audiences will be able to receive a few messages from the movie.
“There might be something to it, might be something to this movement that happened then, and maybe it’s worthwhile to think about the way we’re positioned in terms of faith and society,” he said. “A great society can embrace a great faith, and probably enhance both. That’s what I’d like to see happen.”
Grammer noted that he was raised a Christian Scientist and paraphrased a passage: “Do not become a sluggard in the race. Don’t falter. Get back up. Stand up. Keep fighting. Because that’s where your reward is. Your reward is in the doing of it. Do not be weary. That’s it. That’s why I still believe that.”
His faith has been tested more times than many. When Grammer was 13, his father was shot and killed by a man trespassing on his property. Seven years later, his younger sister, Karen, was kidnapped and brutally murdered. One of her convicted murderers is still on death row in Colorado. His half-brothers, Billy and Stephen, died five years later while scuba diving in a suspected shark attack. Grammer also struggled for years with alcohol and drug addictions.
“Well, honestly, there were times when I lost it,” he said. “ I mean, there were times when I didn’t hold up so well. I’m writing a book about that right now, about my sister and how to sort of navigate that kind of shock in your life, that kind of horror that so many encounter and they lose their faith and don’t know what to do, and to climb back out is very hard.”
–Alan Goforth | Metro Voice