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Banking On God: Famous Actors Who Have Starred In Faith-Based Films

By Tori Preston | Lists | February 15, 2018 |

By Tori Preston | Lists | February 15, 2018 |


So, true story: I was supposed to review Samson this week. You know, Samson, the biblical film set to go toe to toe against Black Panther this weekend? Yeah, I hadn’t heard about it either. But I looked it up and hey, it stars Billy Zane and Rutger Hauer! And, uh, Jackson Rathbone from Twilight! I mean, if that doesn’t sound like a great time, I don’t know what does.

But then Dustin decided to spare me TK’s cruelty and told me that I didn’t have to suffer through this one, so I’m sorry to report that I won’t be able to tell you of the majesty that is Billy Zane Cashing A Paycheck. I briefly considered reviewing other fine Billy Zane performances instead, out of sheer Zane-mania (“Zania”). Did you know he just played Hugh Jackman — I mean, P.T. Barnum — in an episode of Legends of Tomorrow? But for my money, he peaked with Tales from the Crypt: Demon Knight, one of the small pool of movies I’ve watched literally more times than I can recall. However, I trust that you lot already KNOW how brilliant Billy Fucking Zane is. So instead, let’s talk faith-based films… and the surprising faces you might see in them.

Now, these films typically are either period Biblical retellings, dramas “inspired by a true story”, or a straight-up piece of fiction (usually produced by Kirk Cameron). And in no particular order, here are a few of the biggest names who have joined the ranks of Zane, Hauer, and The Other, Other SparkleVamp:

1) Greg Kinnear, Heaven Is For Real (2014)

Kinnear plays a father whose son has a near-death experience and claims to have visited heaven. The film grossed over $100 million worldwide. I, uh, never saw it.

2) Jennifer Garner, Miracles From Heaven (2016)

Garner plays the mother of a girl who is somehow cured of an incurable disease. The film also stars Queen Latifah! I, uh, never saw it.

3) Octavia Spencer, The Shack (2017)

Spencer starred in the adaptation of the hit novel, about a grieving man who is invited to meet God. In… a shack? I think? I, uh, never saw it. But I think Spencer plays God, and the guy is played by Sam Worthinzzzzzzz

Wha?! Sorry, must have dozed off there. Where was I? Oh yeah.

4) Helen Hunt, Soul Surfer (2011)

Remember that movie about the girl who lost her arm to a shark attack and had to find the strength to get over her fear and get back on the surfboard? Like other films on this list, it was inspired by a true story. Helen Hunt played the mom. I, uh, never saw it. But apparently, Dennis Quaid was also in it? And so was Kevin Sorbo. To the surprise of no one.

5) Joseph Fiennes, Risen (2016)

Fiennes plays a Roman tasked with locating the missing body of Jesus after his crucifixion. It’s basically a retelling of the resurrection, but the best part is that Draco Malfoy (Tom Felton) also stars! I, uh, never saw it.

6) Oscar Isaac, The Nativity Story (2006)

I mean, it’s the story of the birth of Christ. Isaac played Joseph, in one of his earliest performances. So if you’re in the mood to drool over Jesus’s hot sorta-dad, this is the one for you! I assume. I, uh, never saw it.

7) Sean Astin, Do You Believe? (2015)

To be fair, Samwise Gamgee wasn’t the only one cashing a check in this flick. The ensemble cast also includes Delroy Lindo, Mira Sorvino, and Cybill Shepherd. Or so I gather. I, uh, never saw it.

8) Joaquin Phoenix and Rooney Mara, Mary Magdalene (2018)

OK, so this is a cheat. The movie isn’t out yet, and it’s more of an arthouse flick from the looks of things. But whatever, I wanted to end on a high note. Based on the trailer, it looks like Mary really likes Jesus. But, do you think she LIKE likes him? Chiwetel Ejiofor also stars!

Look, an actor’s gotta make a living, and since it’s a fact that faith-based films will make money regardless of their relative quality, it’s no surprise to find popular actors turning up in prayer pics. So who am I missing? Do you have any favorite actors who have turned to God to pay their mortgage?