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Actress Grace Johnston's testimony

Michael Elliott

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Just received the following e-mail from the young actress Grace Johnston. Thought I'd post it here to see if it sparks a discussion. I've also invited her to visit the forum so she might personally contribute if the thread warrants it.



My name is Grace Johnston (22 years old) and I was chosen 5 years ago to costar in an upcoming HBO series titled "The Sopranos". My role was to play a character called Meadow Soprano. I had already read the script and was concerned with the direction my character may end up going. You see, I am a Christian. I didn't want to condone profanity nor promiscuity.

They had offered me a great deal of money per episode along with a renegotiation for more after a few episodes. The contracts were already being drawn when I voiced my concern. The producer (who is also the director & writer) said "well what if in the next episode we want you to tell your grandmother to go &@#$ herself?" I replied that this is the direction I kinda feared my charcater would be going. So he reluctantly said that "he didn't want his creative hands tied and maybe I could come on as Meadows "religious" friend".

The rest is history. The Sopranos went on to be the most successful cable television program ever and I stopped acting all together shortly after being offered that part. The "industry" didn't have parts that were condusive to Christain living.

I had grown up acting. I had been in Beaches, One Good Cop, Notes To My Daughter (where I was nominated for an Emmy award for best actress), Cosby Show, Kate and Alley, Equlaizer, Ghost Writer, 35 commercials, One More Mountain, Letting Go, Just Like Family, Go Fish as well as voice overs for cartoons. Please forgive me I do not want to seem like I'm here to promote myself or show my resume. My moral here is that it is a shame that in order for you demonstrate your God given talents you literally have to compromise your own morals! I wanted to tell everyone that is young and impressionable that it isn't worth it. Whether it be 15 minutes of fame or several years, it isn't worth your salvation. This life is so short in comparision to your salvation. Did I regret my decision? Absolutely not. Of course I sometimes fantasized about what it would have been like to have been so widely known or what I could have done with all the money that I would have made but it always paled in light of what I truly would have had to have done to get there. Serving God and trying to be "Christ"like is a challenge. You do need to sacrifice but it is no comparision to what Jesus Christ himself sacrificed for us. I was hoping to be an inspiration or hopefully a humble example to someone who was struggling with similar dilemmas. I wanted to tell them to keep their heads high and their morals in place. DO NOT COMPROMISE! You will be greatly rewarded in the end and if you really do want to act or model, CHANGE THINGS! Start the trend of making movies or spreads that are not so sex driven. Christains should stick together and really represent what we call ourselves (Christians). Please do not go out there proclaiming your Christianity only to give us all a black eye when you stoop down to play in very unchristian parts.

This is the 1st time I've decided to break my silence. I didn't want to talk about it or I didn't even care about it before but I think God laid it on my heart to tell this message. To let people know "it can be done, I did it". I'm really not sure the purpose but if you can use my story in anyway to promote God's love or ministry, please do.

Michael Elliott

Movie Parables



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It is indeed a shame that there are not more parts to play in which the characters have more conservative convictions.

However, I don't think it gives "us all" a "black eye" if a Christian plays the part of a non-Christian. Or someone who swears. Or whatever. If the part is any good, than the character will be human and flawed. Thus just about any character one can play will be, in some sense, a sinner. Swearing is no worse than stealing, or envying, or lusting, or being proud, or whatever. It always strikes me as odd that Christian actors often take a stand that they will not do a certain checklist of things in a role because it would be a bad testimony, and yet certain other sins within the context of the story are permissable. To me, I would look at the larger whole and decide if the behavior was being condoned or glorified rather than just portrayed.

So, as bold as she is making this statement, I beg to differ.



Takin' 'er easy for all you sinners at lookingcloser.org. Also abiding at Facebook and Twitter.


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Guest Russell Lucas

I watched the first few episodes of the show she turned down on DVD and didn't really take to it, but there's one moment that was really funny that I can imagine stuck out. In one of the first few episodes the family is planning a birthday party for the son, Grace's character's younger brother. Tony's--the dad's-- mom has taken ill and can't come. which means she won't be bringing her famous pasta. Tony and his wife are lamenting this while standing and talking with the family's priest. The brother sidles up, hears the news about his grandmother and says, "What? No f#$%ing ziti?" Tony and his wife are aghast at their son's profanity in front of the priest. Of course, later his wife and the priest skate dangerously close to an inappropriate relationship.

I can understand why a person of faith might have been discouraged by the sheer quantity of graphic violence and ugliness that is typical of an episode of The Sopranos.

I feel for her that there aren't many Mandy Moore-type roles out there, but I wonder how many of those there ever were. There's still plenty of television opportunities out there (The Hallmark Channel makes original programing) and there's theater and other ways to express oneself artistically. It appears she may have called it a day on her acting career prematurely. Without wanting to deny her the benefit of the doubt, I think it's too easy for us sometimes to say that the World turned us away because of our faith, or that God didn't want us to do so-and-so, and so we can be victorious by refusing to engage a certain arena, regardless of whether we have been given gifts to pursue such vocation or not.

And, uh, there's always Cloud Ten and its contemporaries.

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Russell Lucas wrote:

: I feel for her that there aren't many Mandy Moore-type roles out there,

: but I wonder how many of those there ever were.

By "Mandy Moore-type roles", I assume you mean Mandy Moore in A Walk to Remember, in which she plays the goody-goody pastor's daughter, and not Mandy Moore in Saved, the upcoming film in which she plays the queen bitch of the Christian high school.

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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  • 5 years later...

waitaminnit -- artsandfaith.com is a religious website!?

i'm outta here...

Edited by techne

I don't deny that there should be priests to remind men that they will one day die. I only say it is necessary to have another kind of priests, called poets, to remind men that they are not dead yet. - G. K. Chesterton

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