Hollywood power couple Mark Burnett and Roma Downey have said their new football film "Woodlawn" will "bring the country together" thanks to its themes of racial reconciliation, love, and hope.
In a promotional video for the film titled "Who Is Going to Stand Up for Jesus," Burnett, the mastermind behind Shark Tank, Son of God, and The Bible series, said his previous faith-based shows opened the door for films like "Woodlawn".
"The entertainment world around faith is undeniable. I'd like to think we had little to do with that, with the 'Bible' series being so prevalent in 100 million households. And we said at that time we thought it was a door opener. It opened the door for others to make faith films as long as they were made well. 'Woodlawn' is such a movie. This is brilliantly made," said Burnett.
Both Downey and Burnett worked as executive producers on the film under their LightWorkers Media banner. The film follows the true story of the Woodlawn High School football team members in Birmingham, Alabama, who surrendered their lives to Christ during desegregation in the 1970s, impacting not only the school, but the entire town.
The film stars newcomer Caleb Castille, veteran actor Jon Voight and "Lord of the Rings" actor Sean Astin, among others. In the film, Astin plays Hank, a chaplain that encouages the team to accept Jesus Christ.
"We have a scene in Woodlawn where the chaplain says, 'Who's going to stand up for Jesus?' And they all stand up. I was watching the scene in my bedroom and I wanted to just stand up on the bed and say, 'I want to be counted! I want to follow you,'" Downey said of the scene. "I follow this message of love and forgiveness, this one message of unity, and you see the potential of this. If it's seen around the country it will bring people together."
In a separate press release, the former "Touched By An Angel" star reiterated that the film's themes of revival and reconciliation will offer hope for overcoming the racial crises facing America today as well as spread the Gospel even further.
"The goal of all of our faith-based projects has been to spotlight the power and goodness of God," Downey explained. ""Woodlawn" fits that bill perfectly: It's an exciting and emotional look at how faith changes the fortunes and hearts of a football team, a high school and an entire city. This story is an important reminder of what faith in action looks like."
"Woodlawn" is directed by Jon and Andy Erwin the film and produced by Kevin Downes. The film is rated PG and is set to release in theaters nationwide on Oct. 16. To learn more about the movie, visit www.woodlawnmovie.com.