An Emmy-nominated actor who plays the lead role in the upcoming film Southern Gospel says his personal Christian faith grew during the project's filming and that he was even baptized on set.
Actor Max Ehrich portrays Samuel Allen, a 1960s rock star who is given a second chance in life and becomes a pastor after an arrest. The film is based on a true story.
Ehrich, best known for his roles in CBS' The Young and the Restless and Under the Dome, told Christian Headlines he embraced the plot of Southern Gospel. It releases in theaters on March 10.
"I cried when I read the script," Ehrich told Christian Headlines. "I really fought hard for this role because I knew deep in my soul – I was so drawn to it."
The plot impacted him, he said.
"In preparing for this role, I really was studying the Bible so much, and it really deepened my faith intensely to the point that when the character got baptized, I actually, in real life, decided to get baptized," Ehrich told Christian Headlines.
The film's director, Jeffrey Smith, baptized Ehrich. Smith also serves as senior pastor of City of Life Church in Florida.
"That's how deeply it impacted me," Ehrich said of his baptism. "... This movie never left me in a sense. I feel like my character and my faith will never be where it was before. ... It's so much stronger now that I've done this film – that I get to carry it out with my art, being able to spread not only my faith but also the gifts that God has given me."
The film follows Allen's path from rock star to pastor and focuses on his anger toward organized religion. Although Allen was raised in the church, he rejected it due to the actions of Christians around him.
The film includes themes of redemption and second chances, Ehrich said.
"I knew that a film like this was so needed," he said. "It's a film that has morals and spreads a lot of light."
The film, he said, "definitely does explore" themes and messages that "will be a good influence on society."
"It's really about forgiveness and grace," he said. "It's really about the grace of God."
Asked if he wants to do more projects like Southern Gospel, he said yes.
"100 percent," he said. "I would love to do roles that have great messages and are faith-based."
His faith, he said, is "definitely impacting the type of music I'm making – and just me having more awareness of the impact that art has on society and how we really can help."
Photo courtesy: ©Bridgestone Multimedia Group, used with permission.
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.