Sherwood Pictures 's Bio:
Kirk Cameron (Capt. Caleb Holt) is a Hollywood veteran known to millions as Mike Seaver from the long-running sitcom Growing Pains. Cameron met the Sherwood team after the release of FACING THE GIANTS. Watching a screening DVD with one of his sons on a cross-country flight, Cameron became a big fan. Little did he know he’d become part of the next production.
“They called me and said they’d like me to come down and audition for the lead role. They gave me nine scenes to read and all of them were pretty intense emotionally. I had to be angry, frustrated, and tense. I had to be weeping and crying, asking for forgiveness. I had to be strong and in command of a fire rescue scene. I really wanted to do this part … and God opened the door.
“This role is very different from anything else I’ve played. People will see me do things I’ve never done before. The range of emotions in this character has been very challenging.
“I wanted to feel like a fire captain. I began really working out, getting myself physically in the best shape. I called my brother in law, who played in the NHL, and told him I needed to bulk up. He put me on a program and I gained about 15 pounds. I worked with an acting coach. I worked on changing my everyday mannerisms. I wanted them to be Caleb’s, not mine.”
His heart for Sherwood’s moviemaking ministry played out in a tangible way.
“There was a spirit of unity and service on FACING THE GIANTS that came from people volunteering their time and talents. I wanted to be a part of that with this movie. They offered me a fee, but I said I’d rather you made a donation to a non-profit camp that my wife and I run in Georgia—Camp Firefly.
“So, Sherwood made a donation to the camp and I offered my time for free. It’s a camp we’ve been doing for 18 years for terminally and seriously ill children and their families can get away for a while and rejuvenate their family relationships and to meet other families.”
Kirk is looking forward to the impact that FIREPROOF will have when the film opens this fall.
“I’d like for people to say, ‘That’s our marriage; that’s me; that’s our problem.’ I want them to leave feeling convicted and hopeful. I want them to go out with a new resolve to get things right with God and put their marriages back at the top of their priorities,” he says. “FIREPROOF is a great story of how the power of God transforms two human beings. There’s really something here that people will respond to.”
Erin Bethea plays the role of Catherine Holt, a hospital public relations director. While a longtime member of Sherwood, Bethea now lives in Orlando, where she is an equity performer at Disney’s Magic Kingdom. She originally planned to read for a supporting role that would fit into her work schedule … until she read the screenplay.
“I never wanted to try out for the lead role in FIREPROOF. But when I read the script, I fell in love with Catherine as a character and the journey she goes on in the film. I went into the auditions fully believing I wouldn’t be in the role.”
When she was offered the role of Catherine, Bethea made the decision to take a leave from her job so that she could be in Albany for the duration of the filming. And, in the spirit of Sherwood Pictures, on days she was not scheduled to be on set, she served as a member of the makeup team.
“When I told people I work with that I was going to be in a movie, it felt like when you’re a little kid and you make up lies that are extravagant to impress your friends. It didn’t really sink in that I would be in the movie until the first day I was on the set.”
With filming done and the movie readying for release, Erin thinks that people like her that are single will be impacted by this marriage love story.
“I hope people leave the theatre with a new understanding of what love is, that husbands and wives will love each other better,” she says. “Love is a choice—especially on days I don’t feel that emotional high that love can be. The ultimate love is Jesus Christ. I hope that single people that see this film will understand that love is a choice when they get married.”
Ken Bevel plays the part of Lt. Michael Simmons, Caleb’s closest friend. Ken is a Captain in the United States Marine Corps who was able to use off days and schedule leave to fit the shooting schedule around his work. Ken, who has been in the Corps for 18 years, is making his movie debut.
“When they announced the movie, I prayed about it and asked my wife if I should audition. I read for the part and I knew that if it were the Lord’s will, I’d be in the movie.
“I’ve learned that acting is very challenging … but Marines are always up for a challenge! You always want to give God your very best. I want God to speak through me in this film. I know the Lord’s going to do great things with this film. I think it’s going to be very powerful … it will have an impact on people’s lives.
“The marriage storyline is so true for many marriages today. We start off strong as a couple deeply in love. After a few years of tests and trials, we tend to fall away, forget our vows and lose our focus. God did not create marriage to be like this. I believe His purpose for us as man and wife is to love each other unconditionally in order to demonstrate to the world the love He shows for us. That’s why this storyline is relevant for this time and season.”
Harris Malcom plays John Holt, and Phyllis Malcom plays Cheryl Holt. A longtime pastor in southern Georgia, Harris never envisioned he and his wife playing the parents of a well-known Hollywood actor in a movie.
“When they were starting to do auditions,” Harris said, “my wife and I wanted to sign up to pray for the production. But we ended up auditioning. It’s been a great experience. It’s been fun working with Kirk. He’s been great about putting me at ease. He’s very encouraging.”
Married for 35 years, father of three grown daughters, and a pastor for a quarter-century, Harris Malcom knows the importance of God-honoring, healthy marriages.
“We live in a society today that doesn’t tend to value marriage,” he said. “For a church to be able to make a movie about the importance of marriage is great.”
Jason McLeod, who plays rookie firefighter Eric Harmon, will be immediately recognized by FACING THE GIANTS fans. Jason played Brock Kelly, the player asked to give it his all in the death crawl scene. Needless to say, that movie changed this college student’s life.
“I’m overwhelmed by the opportunities God has given me because of that film. The year after the movie came out was the craziest, most fun, most energizing year of my life. A couple of weeks after the movie came out, people started calling the church and asking me to speak. I remember the first time they scheduled me to speak … it was to 1,200 kids in Spartanburg.”
For someone that played sports in high school and at the start of his college career, Jason never imagined acting in one motion picture, let alone two.
“With FACING THE GIANTS, I was a football player playing a football player. This is different. But when I was a little kid, I always wanted to be a firefighter. After I got the part and they told me I got to do live fire training, I was so excited. Getting big-time close to the fire—it was an adrenaline rush. I would be a firefighter for a living if I could. I have no idea where God wants me, but for this season, I’ll take full advantage of the opportunities like this that He gives me. I just want to be a part of what God’s doing with this film.”
Stephen Dervan, a youth pastor at a church near Atlanta, plays firefighter Wayne Floyd, the driver of the fire engine … and the film’s comic foil. While the humor was not a stretch, acting was more than Stephen bargained for.
“I’ve never done any acting. It’s probably the most difficult thing I’ve ever done.”
Stephen’s role touched close to home; his father was a driver for the Albany Fire Department when Stephen was growing up. As glad as he was to be back around his friends and family in Albany, he knows that’s nothing compared to the excitement of the students in his youth ministry at First Baptist Church in Alpharetta, Georgia.
“The kids there are real excited that I’m going to be in a movie. I’m trying not to make a big deal out of it. But they can’t wait until it comes out. When it does, I’m praying that this movie will strengthen marriages that already exist. And I’m praying it will help people have a better start for marriage.”
Eric Young, who plays Terrell Sanders, was a real-life Albany firefighter in the early 1990s. He and his wife Daffaney now run their own service business. Being back in the turnouts was a full-circle journey for the father of four.
“I was working in the Albany Fire Department 15 years ago. After I met my wife, my mind started switching gears … it wasn’t about me anymore. I worked for about three years as a firefighter. But it was tough making the acting seem believable. I have so much more respect for actors now. I had no idea how hard it is.
“It was great to see guys I came into the department with who are now the captains and lieutenants. It meant a lot to me to have God being glorified in the same fire station where I used to work. That was the most awesome thing for me.”
Eric believes the story of FIREPROOF will provide hope to struggling marriages. He knows he could have used an encouraging tale early on.
“Our first eight years of marriage were extremely difficult. It was kind of like what Caleb and Catherine are going through in the movie,” he says. “Someone finally sat us down and said we needed to be doing things God’s way. We both committed to loving each other the way God wants us to. The past six years of marriage have been awesome. Each year has been better than the one before!”
Sisters Dwan Williams and Renata Williams play nurses Deidra Harris and Latasha Brown. Dwan is a research lab technician and Renata is a caseworker with child support services. While neither intended to be actors in the movie, they enjoyed the process, especially since they were able to work together.
“It was fun having my sister in it with me; it helped me out a lot,” Renata says. “We live together, so we rehearsed our scenes together. We’d ask our mother how we were doing and she’d tell us we were crazy!
“My son is very excited about it. I really don’t think it’s registered for him that it’s a real movie. It hasn’t really hit me yet either. I understand that the whole world has a chance to see it, but that hasn’t hit me yet. A lot of my coworkers are really excited for me.”
Adds Dwan: “It’s been an excellent experience … definitely a God thing. I’m privileged to be a part of this. It’s a great opportunity. Everyone at work has been so supportive. They think it’s great that I’m going to be in a movie.
“As a single person, I see a lot of value in what the movie says about marriage. Stephen Kendrick taught a marriage series in our Sunday school class that’s provided me with a detailed understanding of what a marriage based in Christ is all about. It’s given me a different outlook.”
FACING THE GIANTS fans will recognize a number of other FIREPROOF cast members who have smaller roles or cameos in the film, including: Alex Kendrick, Jim McBride, Ray Wood, Bill Butler, Bailey Cave, and Tommy McBride.