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Christian Living

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God's Not Dead 2: Melissa Joan Hart's 'Grace under Fire'

Movie Info
 

RATING:

PG for some thematic elements

GENRES:

Drama

RELEASE:

April 1, 2016

STARRING:

Jesse Metcalfe, Melissa Joan Hart, David A.R. White, Ray Wise, Robin Givens, Ernie Hudson, Pat Boone, Hayley Orrantia

DIRECTOR:

Harold Cronk

DISTRIBUTOR:

Pure Flix Entertainment

More on this movie at IMDb.com

Chris Carpenter - Director of Internet Programming

Actress Melissa Joan Hart has had a long and productive career as a television and screen actress. Beginning with a national commercial for bathtub toys at the age of four, Hart has gone on to chart television hits with Sabrina, the Teenage Witch during her formative years and most recently as the star of the recently concluded Melissa and Joey.

But after 30 years of bouncing from one acting assignment to another, Hart was ready to settle down and finally become a full-time mother to her three young sons.  However, there was only one problem. The phone rang. It was Pure Flix Entertainment calling to see if she would be interested in taking the lead part in the sequel to the 2014 smash hit movie, God’s Not Dead. Hart was tempted to say no but quickly realized this was a project that was bigger than her, one that could change the way people treat faith in the public square.

I recently sat down with Hart to discuss why she sees her role in God’s Not Dead 2 as her mission, her desire to be an example of what Christ taught us, and the importance of planting mustard seeds of faith in the hearts and minds of skeptics.

This movie, God’s Not Dead 2, is your debut into Christian film. Tell me about what attracted you to this role?

Melissa Joan Hart: For me, the script had to be good.  I wanted to make sure the movie stood on its own. Then I had to come to the realization or turn my family on to the fact that I was going to do this movie.  As far as it being a Christian film, I was very called to do it.  I felt like it was an important story to tell.  I loved my character.  I also felt a little bit of resistance to go and do this movie away from my family.  I promised them I would be home.  I had just finished six years of Melissa and Joey.  This was my time to be home and be a mom. Now, I was feeling like I was picking up and leaving again. Making this movie was just a joy in every way. I was just really drawn to do this movie for a lot of reasons.  I’m not someone to shy away from controversy.  I actually enjoy taking it head on. What we are trying to do here is to break down any boundaries and really show Christ’s mission of bringing love and tolerance to the world.  I think that a lot of people when they hear you are a Christian; they tend to think that you are going to judge them. And really it should be the opposite.  We should not be judging.  We should try to be an example of what Christ taught us to be, which is to be tolerant of all people and helpful to those who need us the most.

In preparing for our conversation today, I read a quote from you where you said it was your “mission” to be a part of this film. Why?

Hart: Once I read the script I felt like I had to do everything I could to be part of this.  That meant telling my little boys that I was leaving for another month.  It wasn’t easy.  The amount of stress it caused in my life wasn’t easy.  It was one of the hardest decisions I ever made to take this film.  I struggled with that. I had a lot of late nights with no sleep arguments and whatnot.  I just felt very called to do it because I felt like this is a story that needed to be told.  Those people who loved the first movie are going to enjoy this one even more.  And I think people will come to this movie and it can really give glory to God because it is just a beautiful movie.  It’s infused with this Christian foundation. I’m so proud of this film. Being there almost every day for the filming it’s sometimes hard to put some things together and not realize what the end product is going to be like.  I went into see it thinking I knew what kind of movie we were making and then I walked out realizing it was more than I could have imagined.

A few years ago, a movie like God’s Not Dead 2 seemed like fiction that someday might come true. However, we have recently seen that it is becoming very true for many people across the nation who find themselves defending their legal rights in religious liberties cases.  Do you see God’s Not Dead 2 as a “wake-up call” type of movie?

Hart: I do. I think my co-star Jesse Metcalfe puts it really well.  He says, ‘The first movie (God’s Not Dead) had sort of typical stereotypes.  There was a lot of anger, a lot of black and white.  You knew who the protagonists and antagonists were.  In this movie, there are a lot of people walking the line.’  I think that’s great because you can’t put people in a box.  Evil comes in all forms from all directions.  What is interesting in this movie is that you can call out a few antagonists but a lot of these people are really just playing in the gray.  They are really playing around in all the shades in between, as we do as humans.  I think it does open it up as a more human experience.  I think this film is more relatable than the first.

Pure Flix founder Michael Scott has said that this movie is ‘not only a film, but a movement.’ That’s a pretty bold statement.  What are your thoughts on that?

Hart: I think it already became a movement with God’s Not Dead.  That is what is so very special about being able to come into a film like this. Not only do I feel like we are spreading a great message, not only do I feel like I was part of a great movie, it was and is a movement.  The fans are just all-loving, very loyal, and just thirsting for someone to relate to them, someone to put them at the forefront of these films and tell their story.  That’s what we are trying to do, to represent them.  The Christian youth of America is rallying behind it and the social media is enormous.  It truly is a movement, a very powerful movement.  I think it is something that can’t be ignored.  I’m hoping that when this movie hits it will take everything to a new dimension and give glory to God.  I just want it to be able to plant these mustard seeds.  I just want people to come and see the movie and share it with their friends.  Hopefully, these mustard seeds will then be planted to help their faith and develop their walk with God.  I hope this movie will help people to stand for what they believe in.

What is your greatest hope for God's Not Dead 2?

Hart: Very simple. I hope this movie spreads like wildfire and ignites a passion around this country and this world to come a little closer to Christ. 

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