'The Gospel' Coming To Theaters Everywhere

New Rob Hardy film features a star-studded cast of actors and musicians
( [email protected] ) Jul 04, 2005 10:59 PM EDT

Principal photography wrapped up on Wednesday for The Gospel, a, ¡°contemporary spiritual drama,¡± from Georgia-based Rainforest Films, according to the film¡¯s website.

Shot entirely on location in Atlanta, the film stars Boris Kodjoe (Showtime¡¯s Soul Food, Love & Basketball as a hot R&B recording artist who¡¯s at the top of his career, yet estranged from his family who are southern Christian leaders in his hometown church. When Kodjoe¡¯s character, David, learns that his father (Clifton Powell), the Bishop of their church is ill and near death, he returns home, only to discover that his childhood rival (Idris Elba) is poised to become his father¡¯s successor at the church and has married his cousin (Nona Gaye) as well. While being met with hostility from family members, David also discovers disloyalty within the music empire he is building ¨C all while struggling to make peace with his family, God and himself.

¡°I came from such a different background and such different experiences,¡± says Kodjoe (who was born in Vienna) regarding his participation in the film. ¡°Germans don¡¯t have that sort of fiery mentality of expression, they don¡¯t have that religious experience that people here have in terms of feeling the Holy Ghost or just dancing and singing along in Church, I never saw that until I came over here. So that to me represented a great opportunity to sort of tap into something that I hadn¡¯t known before, and do research, and watch people and performances, so it¡¯s been an incredible ride for me.¡±

Co-starring alongside Kodjoe in The Gospel are Tamyra (American Idol, Boston Public), Omar Gooding (Baby Boy), Keisha Knight Pulliam (The Cosby Show), and gospel superstars Donnie McClurkin and Hezekiah Walker.

The Gospel also features original music by performer/producer Kirk Franklin, with performances by Yolanda Adams, Martha Munizzi, and Delores ¡°Mom¡± Winans. The soundtrack is scheduled to release in the fall.

¡°We were able to assemble this amazing cast because our actors and heavyweights in the gospel industry like Kirk Franklin, Donnie McClurkin and Yolanda Adams read the story and said it felt genuine to them ¨C that it was a drama about faith that they could relate to,¡± says writer/director Rob Hardy, who likens The Gospel to the Biblical story of the prodigal son, with elements loosely based on his own life.

Fellow producer, Will Packer, a longtime collaborator and friend of Hardy¡¯s says the two of them, together with the film¡¯s executive producers Holly Davis-Carter and Fred Hammond, shared the desire to bring a dramatic, faith-based film to the screen.

¡°This is a labor of love for us because we believe in the values espoused in this film,¡± says Packer, a southerner who was raised in a church with predominantly African Americans. ¡°Because no matter what trials and tribulations you go through, with faith you can overcome them if you lean on that higher power.¡±

And its¡¯ that message, says Davis-Carter, a veteran Hollywood talent manager turned producer, that motivated her to help them get this film made.

¡°We believe there¡¯s a need for more stories about morality, redemption, faith, hope and recovery,¡± she says. ¡°Those values are what this film¡¯s all about and what people will respond to very deeply.¡±

The Gospel is scheduled to hit theaters in October.

For more information, go to www.gospelmovie.com.