"I don't know why in Hollywood you have to be afraid to say you're a Christian, but there's a lot of bashing of Christians going on over the last decade."
Those are the words of actor and director Kevin Sorbo, who recently gave an interview to the Gospel Herald. Sorbo, 57, is a Christian and also known for roles of Professor Radisson in "God's Not Dead," Hercules in "Hercules: The Legendary Journeys," Captain Dylan Hunt in "Andromeda," and Kull in "Kull the Conqueror."
Sorbo is currently working on several projects, including "The Carpool Lane," which co-stars Dean Cain, and "Let There Be Light," a faith-based Christmas movie which will come out Christmas 2017. He discussed with Leah Marieann Klett of the Gospel Herald the current nature of faith-based films and what it's like to be a Christian actor in Hollywood.
GH: In the past, you've been critical about the production quality and content of faith-based films. In your opinion, what's the biggest problem with faith-based films? Is the faith-based film industry getting better?
KS: I think that most people would agree that faith-based movies back in the 70's, 80's, and even the 90's were very cheesy, poorly written, and poorly acted. A lot of people were turned off by them, because they were also too preachy. We live in a world where people don't want to be told what to believe in and what not to believe in. You have to walk a fine line to hold an audience - obviously, you've got the choir up there, but you don't want to just preach to the choir, you want to preach to the "independent voters" - someone who is searching for what to believe.
The biggest change in the faith-based film industry is that the writing has gotten so much better, and there is now talent on both sides of the camera. More people are coming out and not being afraid to say they're Christian; I don't know why in Hollywood you have to be afraid to say you're a Christian, but there's a lot of bashing of Christians going on over the last decade.
I think everybody has upped their game, they've gotten smarter and more efficient about promoting films. From what the Kendrick brothers do, to PureFlix, to Sony's "Affirm" division, faith-based films have really picked up. It's just getting better and better, which I think is great. Hollywood is slowly waking up - there's an audience out there, and the independent film world is well aware of it. You can see that they're filling a void for people, because there are so many things on primetime television that are so crass you don't want your children watching. People are looking for entertainment that can touch them and move them. I love to see what's going on right now, it's great...
GH: Do you think your faith has prevented you from opportunities in Hollywood?
KS: Oh, there's no question about it. If you could do an undercover video in Hollywood behind closed doors like those Planned Parenthood videos where those women discuss crushing baby's heads and pulling out body parts - trust me - I mean Ben Affleck one time came out and said, "I will never hire a conservative Republican to do a movie with me." I was like, "How immature is that?"
I don't have a problem who have a different point of view than me, whether it's political or religious. I don't have a problem with most Muslims, because I know most Muslims are good people. I don't have a problem with most Jews, because most of them are good people. I don't have a problem with most Christians, because most Christians are good people.
But my faith certainly hurt me in Hollywood. I did Hercules for 7 years, it was the most watched show for a good number of years. But then, for me to get called into read for anything - it just dropped drastically when I came out of that conservative Christian closet so to speak. I used to read for a lot of pilots and TV shows, and it's very rare now.
Thank God for the independent film world, because I still get called to read for movies all the time; I've shot 48 movies in the last ten years, and most people don't even shoot 4 movies in their entire career as an actor. So, I'm very fortunate and I know that. Hollywood doesn't owe me anything. If they want to be that way, they can be that way. I can't stop people from their immature hate. Talk about calling people racist - I'm in an industry that screams for tolerance, but they have no tolerance whatsoever. They'll fight for their freedom of speech, but only if it's for what they say, only if it's their point of view. These people don't want to debate, they want to shut you down.