Award-winning contemporary Christian music legend Michael W. Smith’s makes his on-screen debut with the opening of The Second Chance, a film about racial and social class barriers within the church.
In the film Smith plays Ethan Jenkins, a wealthy associate pastor at a splendid suburban mega-church called The Rock, who, after challenging the church’s status quo, is sent to get his "wings clipped" at Second Chance Community Church - The Rock’s financially struggling "sister church" headed by Pastor Jake Sanders (introducing Jeff Obafemi Carr) and stationed in the middle of a beleaguered inner-city neighborhood.
Sparks fly as Sanders, resentful of The Rock’s hesitancy to "cross the tracks" despite its financial generosity, and Jenkins struggle to find common ground and overcome their own misconceptions and prejudices.
Co-written and directed by early Steve Taylor, a former Christian musician from the early 90’s, The Second Chance is at its core a movie about "transformation and reconciliation," according to Carr, who was particularly moved by a scene that involved local homeless people as extras.
"This film transformed me in a big way," Carr told the Tennessean. "This film transformed me in a big way," says carr. "I ran into this one cat (filming the soup kitchen scenes) that I used to look up to when I was in college, and he was there homeless with his son. I'll tell you what, I may have been catching up on the mortgage, but at least I had a mortgage to catch up on. And I may have been eating beans and rice, but at least I had some beans and rice to eat. Moments like that throughout the process just made me assess where I was not only in my life in a financial way, but also in my life in a calling kind of way — it was an affirmation that I should hold on through the dark times."
For Smith, making the film was reportedly "life-changing."
"I'm not like Ethan, because I feel like I have a heart for the poor and I really care what goes on in Africa and there's all these things I'm involved in," Smith told the Tennessean, "but I got on the set and I found out, 'Golly, man, I can do better.' It's easy to write a check. It's a completely different story to get your hands dirty and get in the thick of it."
Both actors hope that audiences will have similar experiences.
"What happens with this film is everybody leaves with something else," Carr told the Tennessean. "Sometimes they agree on things and sometimes they still debate. We've shown it to audiences all over the place and invariably there are people who land on different sides of the issues raised in the film — whether that's experiential learning, cultural differences, communication or the nature of service. And I love a good debate, because a debate is like a workout to a body builder. It's painful but it's going to grow some muscle."
The Second Chance is rated PG-13 and opens today in select theaters. For locations and other information, visit www.thesecondchancemovie.com.