The actor who starred in the hit film Jesus Revolution and in the Steven Spielberg blockbuster Super 8 says he has a passion for faith-based projects and wants others to experience the joy he has received from his relationship with Christ.
Joel Courtney portrays Greg Laurie in Jesus Revolution, which has grossed more than $50 million and tells the story of the hippie-led Jesus Movement of the 60s/70s.
Courtney says he wanted the role as soon as he read the script.
“I just connected with it immediately,” Courtney said recently during a Zoom “prayer call” involving cast and crew from the movie. “... First off, anything with the gospel in it, I'm immediately passionate about. There's a joy in my faith that I long for others to experience.”
Courtney starred in the 2011 blockbuster Super 8, which was directed by Steven Spielberg and ranked No. 1 on opening weekend. He later starred in Netflix’s Kissing Booth series.
Jesus Revolution, he said, correctly portrays Christianity.
“[It] pulls no punches. It confronts sin, and it confronts hardships and character,” he said.
The film shows that “once you become a Christian, life doesn't just get easy.”
“And I really appreciated all of that,” he said.
Courtney was cast for the film in early 2020, although filming did not begin until after the pandemic.
He recently showed the movie to a group of students from his church at a local theater.
“We did a little Q&A at the end. And I prayed for them,” he said. “And it was just a profound time getting to experience them watching the film. And knowing like they are on the brink of adulthood, or young adulthood, and it's such a turbulent and difficult time to traverse. And I just think that this movie shows a beautiful path and a hope. ... Hope is everything. If you don't have hope and love, you don't really have anything.”
Courtney and his wife live in Tennessee. They landed in what he calls an “incredible church.”
“It's been a huge blessing in our lives, frankly, [with] really powerful preaching,” he said.
Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/Emma McIntyre/Staff
Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.