Actor Zachary Levi stars in the new film, American Underdog: The Kurt Warner Story, portraying the famous football player who started out stocking supermarket shelves and wound up becoming a NFL legend.
With the support of his wife, Brenda (played by Anna Paquin), and the encouragement of his family, coaches and teammates, Warner pressed ahead with his dream of playing professional football.
CBN's Studio 5 recently spoke with Levi about his portrayal of Warner and how he responds when people say he was "born" for the role.
"I say thank you ... that's what I would say. In some ways, I agree with them because when this all happened it felt very fated. It felt very much like God's fingerprints were all over it," Levi told CBN. "If this is all part of my journey since being born, then yes, I was born for this role.
"I was also very blessed to have this job. There are lots of other actors in Hollywood," he noted. "There's lots of other people who have talent and even more football experience than I had and it just happened that I got to be the guy in the place, in the position with the relationship with the Erwin's. They knew me, they knew my talent, that I looked like Kurt and we shared similar faith and it all came together."
Levi explained that even though the movie focuses on football, much of it centers around faith and family.
"Most of it's about real life and who is your core community and how are you supporting each other and what does that look like?" Levi said. "Where are you putting your value and where are you finding your identity? The trials and tribulations and the really deep faith that one has to have in God, yes, but also in oneself and each other."
He added, "There's so many layers to it. It gives all of that incredible Cinderella story that we all know, so much more depth and context."
Levi described a defining moment during the film where Warner's relationship with God shifts.
"Kurt came up in a more liturgic type of religious background. In those cases, oftentimes, you don't feel like a freedom to just communicate with God. All of the sudden, Kurt is now forced to really ask himself 'what is my faith ultimately and how do I communicate with my Creator," he told CBN News.
"I think in that moment, where something very tragic has happened in their lives and he's tucking young Zach back into bed and he just has this private moment where he starts breaking down because he doesn't know what to do with his sorrow. He doesn't know how to get beyond this loss, this pain. You see him very quietly but very crying out to God," Levi explained.
"To me, that's an incredible turning point for the growth that he then experiences from that point forward. Not just in his faith, but as a man, as a quarterback ... all that stuff," he added.
Passionate about his own faith, Levi praises God for pushing him to pursue his dreams of acting.
During a recent interview with Relevant Magazine, the actor said he heard a calling from God to be an actor back when he was a child.
"I knew that God was like, 'You're going to be an actor one day.' I was like, 'OK, I'm going to go do this thing,'" Levi told Relevant. "And I am, but it was also partly because tenaciously I never gave up on it because I really, really believed in that. I believed in that promise or that feeling, or whatever that vision or whatever that dream is."
He continued, "I believed that I had those talents. I could sense them in myself and they were validated to me every time I would do a play, or a musical, or do something. I would have people come to me and say, 'You've got a talent for this.' And I knew that it was always… God talking to somebody else, encouraging me along the way."
Levi has been outspoken about his beliefs on social media, sharing in a tweet that he believes in God's "immeasurable love."
I don’t believe in Christianity as a religion. I believe in the immeasurable love of a god that is in and thru all things. A god that IS all things. The creator and master of all that is. The beginning and the end of all that is. I believe in “I Am”, because god IS. https://t.co/zUHEkqnitM
— Zachary Levi (@ZacharyLevi) June 13, 2020
American Underdog premieres in theatres on Christmas Day. To find out more about the film, click here.
EDITOR'S NOTE: In reporting about steps that high-profile individuals may be taking to seek God or start a relationship with Him, CBN does not endorse past or current behavior that may not line up with the Word of God. As we report positive developments in celebrities' spiritual journeys, we encourage our readers to pray for anyone and everyone in the news, that the fruit of God would grow in all of our lives.