While follow-up film "God's Not Dead 2" is not launching in theaters until April 1, 2016, its official movie trailer already is attracting quite a bit of attention due to its sensitive topic of putting the "basic human right of faith" on trial in the U.S. judicial system. Former governor of Arkansas and current presidential candidate Mike Huckabee announced today he will make a cameo appearance in this upcoming flick, calling it a "true honor."
Pure Flix Entertainment was the Christian film production company behind 2014's hit "God's Not Dead," and managers there hope to repeat their wide affect.
Huckabee's statement about his involvement indicated: "God's Not Dead 2 is virtually ripped from the day's headlines by showing how people of faith are now being criminalized and taken to the courtroom. A few years ago, such a film would be fiction that could someday be true; now, God's Not Dead 2 is the story that has become true for believers across the nation. God's Not Dead 2 is a wake-up call."
The former Arkansas governor will play himself in the film, which once again takes place in the hometown of Hadleigh University, setting for the first movie.
The upcoming sequel stars Melissa Joan Hart as a school teacher who ends up in a lawsuit for answering a student's question about the similarities between Jesus' teachings to those of Martin Luther King and Mahatma Gandhi. The general topic being discussed in the classroom had been about non-violent approaches, and the student posed: "Isn't is a lot like what Jesus meant when He said, 'Love Your Enemies?'"
When a male student in the same classroom texted his parents because the teacher's response included the words of Jesus Christ, trouble brews, sides go at war and the ACLU is enlisted, whose representative decides to "prove that once and for all, God is dead." The ACLU attorney states to the lawyer representing the teacher: "I hate what your client stands for and what they are doing to our society."
The teacher's lawyer gets held in contempt of court because his answer was: "If we're going to insist that a Christian's right to believe is subordinate to all other rights, then it's not a right."
The student whose question prompted the controversy then has to decide which side she will take. Her answer: "I would rather stand with God and be judged by the world, then stand with the world and be judged by God."
This second film stars a bigger lineup than the first installment which was anchored by Kevin Sorbo. Ernie Hudson (Ghostbusters), Jesse Metcalfe (Dallas), PureFlix CEO David A.R. White (God's Not Dead), Hayley Orrantia (The Goldbergs), Sadie Robertson (Duck Dynasty), Robin Givens (Head of The Class), Maria Canals-Barrera (Cristela) and the late Fred Thompson (Law & Order) in one of his final film appearances star alongside cameos by Pat Boone and Ray Wise (Robocop).
The production team indicated they prayed on set every day, and asked people to pray along with them regarding the impact and the ministry this movie will have when it opens next spring.
The original film grossed $60.8 million, according to Deadline in Hollywood.
The first film also wound up in a lawsuit after John Sullivan and Brad Stine sued Pure Flix Entertainment and its CEO David A.R. White, seeking at least $10 million in damages and alleging that "God's Not Dead" was based on a "faith-based Dead Poets' Society" concept called "Proof" that they came up with back in 2009.