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Separating Fact from Myth and Legend to Uncover the True Story of Saint Patrick

03-19-2020
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St. Patrick is portrayed in CBN's film "I Am Patrick"

People around the world will paint their towns green in celebration of St. Patrick's Day on March 17. But few of those celebrating the Patron Saint of Ireland know the true story of the young bishop who left his home in Britain to bring the Christian faith to the Emerald Isle.

CBN Films shares the amazing true story of Patrick in a new docu-drama, "I Am Patrick," which hits theaters on March 17 for two nights only. CBN News got a sneak peek behind the scenes of the making of the movie.

Jarrod Anderson is the film's writer and director. 

St. Patrick's Dramatic, Powerful Story – And It's All True

"You don't have to embellish the story of St. Patrick at all. I mean it's such a dramatic story, such a powerful story, it's just a delight to be able to have a story like that that is true," Anderson said.

The year was 433 A.D. when Patrick answered God's call and traveled to Ireland to deliver the Gospel to the pagan country. He endured great hardship there – and was even enslaved for a time.

You can get a copy of CBN's new movie "I Am Patrick" on DVD for a gift of $15 or more HERE on CBN.com, OR by texting Patrick to 71777. 

"People get a little lost with the legends and the myths about St. Patrick and the real man, the real St. Patrick, is far more fascinating than the legend to myth. And in fact, I think the more human Patrick that people don't really know about is really far more inspirational," Anderson said.

To tell that inspirational story, Anderson was tasked with casting three actors as Patrick. Robert McCormack plays young Patrick. Sean T. O'Meallaigh is middle-aged Patrick, and veteran actor John Rhys-Davies plays St. Patrick as an old man.

"When you're casting, it's like a casting nightmare to have three different people you're trying to cast," Anderson said. "But eye color, facial structure – they totally work." 
 
John Rhys-Davies is best known for his roles in "Lord of the Rings" and "Indiana Jones." He was initially only doing voice narration for the film.

John Rhys-Davies: The Actor Meant to Play Patrick

"We never planned on having John Rhys-Davies actually play old Patrick, but after the voice-over record, it had to be him," Anderson said.

And Rhys-Davies was happy to play the part of Patrick in the final years of his life. "I was drawn to this project because I love the character of Patrick. I think he's a fascinating modern," Rhys-Davies said.  

"Every time you come and look at that extraordinary life of his, you learn something else," Rhys-Davies went on. "You get more of the feel of the man. I know a little bit about Patrick and knew it before. But actually to shoot it in the sort of context that he knew and lived in is very remarkable."

Ireland in the Fifth Century: "It Was Coming to Hell"

Reflecting on the sacrifice Patrick made to journey to Ireland, Rhys-Davies remarked that it wasn't like visiting Ireland as a tourist. Ireland in the fifth century was a brutal place. "It was coming to Hell," he said. "Human sacrifice, idolatry of the worst sort, endless enslavement. It was the apotheosis of human misery. And it took a very brave and remarkable man to come back into the certain jaws of death to try and change it."

Patrick's brave and bold story is one everyone on set took lessons from. 

"From an actor's point of view, the internal struggle and the conflict is really interesting because, on one hand, Patrick believes that he's come here to spread God's message. But on the other hand, he's facing some very real and dangerous obstacles," Sean T. O'Meallaigh, who plays Patrick in mid-life, observed.

"It is true that not a lot of people know the story of Saint Patrick. Even myself, reading the script, I found out stuff that I didn't know before that is really, really interesting," said Robert McCormack, who plays Patrick as a young man.

The Real Star of the Film: Ireland Itself

And there's one more interesting star in this film, and that's the country itself.

"I think it's important to film in Ireland when you're doing a movie about St. Patrick because there's nowhere else that looks like Ireland," Anderson said. "Plus, you know, when you're reaching out to an audience about St. Patrick, to not film in Ireland is almost a slap in the face."

"We've had such a great crew, great cast, I would never have wanted to film this anywhere else."

"I Am Patrick" is in theaters for two nights only: March 17 and 18. To find where it's playing near you, and to buy tickets, click here.  

You can get a copy of CBN's new movie "I Am Patrick" on DVD for a gift of $15 or more HERE on CBN.com, OR by texting Patrick to 71777. 

i am patrick poster

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