American actor Ted McGinley has played many recognizable roles in both film and television. He elaborated on his Christian faith and his newest film project entitled "Do You Believe?" in his latest interview.
The actor talked with Cortney O'Brien of Townhall about his Christian faith. He also has a business relationship with Pure Flix Entertainment films, a company dedicated to producing faith-based movies.
"Faith has always been a part of my life since I was a little kid," McGinley said. "This is one of those rare instances where you get to have a weird crossover. Hollywood isn't necessarily known for it."
McGinley, who describes himself as a Christian, told O'Brien that he wanted to prove that the success of the faith-based film "God's Not Dead" was not just a fluke. He plays Pastor Matthew in "Do You Believe?" a film that focuses on the importance of religious freedom.
"When you read a script and you see like four parts you'd like to play, you say, 'Wow this is a good script,'" McGinley said. "The idea of me playing the pastor, who starts the movie and ends the movie was sort of an exciting proposal."
The actor then shared with O'Brien on how sermons shaped his own Christian walk. The film starts out with a powerful sermon by McGinley's character.
"As a young kid, probably up until my sophomore year in high school, I wanted to be a minister or a priest. What I realized for me, that wasn't going to be my calling," McGinley said. "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."
McGinley had an objective in mind while he prepared to memorize his parts in the film's script. O'Brien reported that the film's sermon, which lasts for 20 minutes, required the actor to remember six pages of dialogue.
"I remember thinking my objective is, if there is someone in the audience, if one of the extras in the audience was sitting there and listening to that, could I bring them, could I get them in?" McGinley asked. "That was my entire objective. Really open myself to them and the cross to them."
According to O'Brien, the film takes on the same premise on intertwined lives as portrayed in the Christmas film "Love Actually." The difference is that the characters faced real struggles and try to focus on their relationship with Jesus Christ.
"In this film, there are so many different issues," McGinley said. "I think that as a viewer, you will see yourself or someone you know or aspects of people or the tribulations or trials they're going through in their lives, in this film and you will absolutely connect with the truth of their pain."
McGinley added that it was "an honest film" that hopes to tackle "the most difficult questions asked upon Christians or believers" by the world. He acknowledged to O'Brien that the film had moments "that are very raw and very real."
"Let [the world] see unapologetically what those questions are and see where faith intersects with those difficulties and show how faith can be a lifeboat," McGinley said.
Given the negative reputation and quality of faith-based films hoisted on by Hollywood and the mainstream media, McGinley hoped that his latest film will see success at the U.S. box office.
"They cannot believe this is such a huge well of opportunity for them that they can't get to," McGinley said of Pure Flix's success. "Pure Flix does it because they want to get a message out and money is a secondary thought. In Hollywood, it's about money first and then if there's a message fine. It's driving Hollywood crazy - they can't do it."
McGinley made his pitch to O'Brien on why people from all backgrounds should watch "Do You Believe?" in movie theaters.
"This movie is every bit as good as 'God's Not Dead,'" McGinley said. "It's got everything you would see in a good, non-faith based film, except it has this amazing element of faith, trust and belief and the power to pull people out of the worst spots of their life."
If the film is successful at the box office, McGinley told O'Brien that more "faith-encouraging films" could be made with higher standards.
"If this movie does well, you will start to see better movies," McGinley said. "You'll start to see better writing, better film making, better acting, everything will improve because they know it's a great audience and people will come out of the woodwork."
"Do You Believe?" will play in select U.S. theaters on March 20, according to O'Brien.