Actor K.J. Apa says he believes God “anointed” the new faith-based romantic film I Still Believe, which stars Apa and Britt Robertson and is based on a true story.
“The story itself is so powerful,” Apa told ABC’s The View.
The movie is based on the romance between Christian singer Jeremy Camp and his first wife, Melissa, who was diagnosed with ovarian cancer shortly after they met. Apa and Robertson play Jeremy and Melissa.
It was co-directed by Jon and Andrew Erwin, who also co-directed I Can Only Imagine and Woodlawn.
I Still Believe, which opens in theaters this week, is rated PG.
“It’s a story about, ultimately, love – two people who love each other so dearly and are willing to go through everything with each other, no matter what that it is or what that looks like,” Apa said. “… As soon as I read that first script and I spoke to the Erwin Brothers about it, I was pretty terrified of the story just because it was a huge responsibility to play a real-life person. I wanted to get it right and honor everyone in the film.
“But I feel like God really anointed this film, and I’ve never been so proud of anything in my entire life.”
Apa plays the guitar and sings in the film.
“Why I was kind of hesitant to play the character is because I’m not the most confident singer, but I feel confident with a guitar in my hand,” Apa said.
.@kj_apa shares what connected him to his “powerful” new film #IStillBelieve based on a true story: “I feel like God really anointed this film, and I have never been so proud of anything in my entire life.” https://t.co/lIaY00iMbN pic.twitter.com/xYFiWSi9je— The View (@TheView) March 9, 2020
Apa has appeared on several other well-known TV programs promoting the film, including The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon. Apa told Fallon the story is a “powerful message for everyone.”
Andrew Erwin told Christian Headlines Apa is a natural “music artist.”
“He’s a great guitarist … but vocals is something that was really new to him,” Erwin told Christian Headlines. “He was really scared of it, and so I called in some friends from the music industry.”
The team worked with Apa on his singing voice. The filmmakers also recorded Mike Donehey of Tenth Avenue North – who has a “similar” voice to Apa’s – singing the lyrics to the songs in the movie, Erwin said. Donehey helped train Apa.
An estimated 80-85 percent of the vocals in the film are from Apa, Erwin said.
“K.J. said, ‘I can't hit the high stuff.’ And Mike said, ‘No, you're afraid to hit the high stuff. You can do it.’”
Eventually, Apa hit the high notes.
“Something snapped in him,” Erwin said. “... I was just like, ‘I would buy that song.’ It turned out really beautiful. I'm really proud of him taking a risk on something he didn't know he could do.”
Photo courtesy: ©Lionsgate
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.