Jerry Sokoloski, one of the tallest men in North America and star of the upcoming Bible-based film, "David and Goliath," recently opened up about how he prepared for the role of "Goliath" and what he hopes Christians will take away from the movie.
"The moment I was told by my agent that I got the part, the production forced me to train like crazy. I had to lose 40 pounds, work out with a fight coach, a sword coach, and an acting coach," the the 7'8, 31 year old Canadian native recalled.
"David and Goliath," which will hit theaters April 3rd, is based on the well-loved Biblical account in which a shepherd boy named David (played by U.K. actor Miles Sloman) defeats a Philistine warrior with just a sling and stone.
Finding an actor to play Goliath was difficult for the casting team, as the giant stood at a shocking nine feet tall, according to the story documented in 2nd Samuel. However, director Tim Chey revealed in a previous interview that the production team was determined to get a real-life giant to play the part of Goliath rather than use special effects.
"We didn't want to create a CGI imitation like 'The Incredible Hulk' and so our casting directors set out to find the biggest guy and he's very big," Chey said in a statement.
"Jerry was a tremendous blessing."
To prepare for the role Goliath, Sokoloski worked tirelessly with fight coordinators and acting coaches.
"It was a massive challenge, especially filming in the hot desert in North Africa," Sokolosky said, "But God brought me through it. He's always been there for me. I also give huge props to [Chey] who stood by me, an unknown actor. He's a very gifted and talented director."
According to the actor's website, he was drafted at an early age to the NBA, and then became a professional wrestler before embarking on his acting career. Shortly thereafter, he became a Christian.
"God is the source of everything and I'm so blessed to know Him. There were some low points in my life where only God got me through it," he recalled.
"It was a true blessing from the Lord to be in this epic film," Sokoloski added. "I hope this movie really inspires everyone to have the incredible and profound faith that David showed. If every Christian had his courage and faith, our world would be a different place."
Because of the powerful nature of the story, "David and Goliath" is expected to achieve the same kind of box-office success other Bible-themed films experienced in 2014. "Heaven is For Real" earned 22.5 shortly after its release, "Noah" made an astounding 301.3 million, and Roma Downey's "Son of God" scored $26 million its opening weekend.
However, unlike other films promoted as being Bible-based (Noah, Exodus), Chey insists that "David and Goliath" does not diverge from the Biblical account.
"It will be biblically correct in every way," he said. "But I want to show more of the cruelty of who the Philistines were and who Goliath was through historical data. Also, I want to flesh out the powerful fear Goliath instilled on Saul's army."
You can watch the trailer for "David and Goliath" here.