American actor Ted McGinley recently shared what inspired him to play a pastor in the upcoming faith-based film, "Do You Believe?" and what he hopes viewers will take away from his character's message.
"Do You Believe," which comes from the team behind the major box-office success, "God's Not Dead," focuses on multiple different lives that intersect on the streets of Chicago, including a pastor who re-examining his faith, a veteran suffering from posttraumatic stress disorder, and a gang member who is fighting against belief. The characters' stories connect in a way that reveals the "redemptive power of the cross."
McGinley, who formerly starred in the sitcom, "Happy Days," plays Pastor Matthew in the film, a pastor struggling to care for both his family and large congregation--a relatable dilemma for pastors worldwide.
"The congregation has so many needs..and pastors often have to take care of everyone outside their homes, and that can be an issue within their homes," McGinley told Fox and Friends on Thursday. "You're not exempt from it just because you're a pastor."
The film, which hits theaters March 20, starts out with a powerful sermon by Pastor Matthew, which required McGinley to remember nearly six pages of dialogue. However, the actor said he was excited to deliver the 20 minute monologue, because he had a specific goal in mind.
"My goal was...through this speech, through this sermon--if there was someone who was lost, who was looking for a way, that through this speech and through this sermon, that they would come around," he recalled.
He added that playing a pastor fulfilled a lifelong dream, as he hoped to be a minister or priest throughout his childhood.
" I [had a] very good relationship with my minister growing up, and he set a great example for me," McGinley said. "So, I do the best I can, I try to live up to everything I can."
"As a young kid, probably up until my sophomore year in high school, I wanted to be a minister or a priest," he explained in a previous interview with Town Hall. "What I realized for me, that wasn't going to be my calling. I think what I was attracted to is that these great sermons have a drama to them, the ones that really stick in your head are a little theatrical or it was so well told that you couldn't help be slapped in the face with the message."
Other actors starring in "Do You Believe?" include Cybill Shepherd, Lee Majors, UFC Champion Mavrick Von Haug, and Delroy Lindo.
"'God's Not Dead' resonated with audiences because it explored and validated the existence of God," "Do You Believe?" producer and actor David A.R. White said. "'Do You Believe?' takes Christianity to another level...the power of the cross."
"It is our hope that the film's compassionate and convicting message will create the same passion and conviction that 'God's Not Dead' did for audiences," White added."We Believe," the hit song by Christian rock band The Newsboys is also featured in the film.
"Do You Believe?" is the first film released by the faith-based film production company Pure Flix since "God's Not Dead" became the highest-grossing independent faith film of 2013, taking in a whopping $60 million domestically and $50 million more internationally.
"We are humbled and grateful for the support of audiences, pastors, church leaders and those who saw the greater message of 'God's Not Dead,'" producer Michael Scott said in a press release. "The making of this film has been an incredible and poignant journey, and the success has been an even greater surprise."
White has said that after 'Do You Believe' hits theaters, producers will likely work on a sequel to "God's Not Dead."
"We're in early talks about the sequel to that film," he said. "We definitely believe that it will go on.
"A lot of the feedback that we received from the first one [centers on the questions], 'Where do these characters go on to?' 'What happens to them after?' We're taking all that into consideration."
You can see the trailer for "Do You Believe" here.