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Well-Known Actors and Directors Who Are Believers?


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Gary Sinise, who seems to be a Catholic convert, talks about his initial reaction to his wife Moira's decision to return to the Church, and how his own perspective began to change. There's also some info about Operation Iraqi Children, which Sinise co-founded.

“I write because I don’t know what I think until I read what I say.” — Flannery O'Connor

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Speaking of actors in biblical epics and Bible recordings, is Ben Kingsley on the record about his religious beliefs? In addition to the Moses and Joseph movies, I seem to remember he participated (along with Morgan Freeman, Kelly McGillis and some other big names) in a recording of Bible stories many years ago.

I don't know if this is news, but I just came across it:

Actress Kelly McGillis Reveals She's Gay; Says God OK with It

"What matters are movies, not awards; experiences, not celebrations; the subjective power of individual critical points of view, not the declamatory compromises of consensus." - Richard Brody, "Godard's Surprise Win Is a Victory for Independent Cinema," The New Yorker

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Christian wrote:

: Actress Kelly McGillis Reveals She's Gay; Says God OK with It

Kinda throws a wrench in (or sheds a whole new light on, take your pick) that Tarantino interpretation of Top Gun, doesn't it?:

It is a story about a man's struggle with his own homosexuality. It is! That is what Top Gun is about, man. You've got Maverick, all right? He's on the edge, man. . . . And you've got Iceman, and all his crew. They're gay, they represent the gay man, all right? And they're saying, go, go the gay way, go the gay way. He could go both ways. . . . Kelly McGillis, she's heterosexuality. She's saying: no, no, no, no, no, no, go the normal way, play by the rules, go the normal way. They're saying no, go the gay way, be the gay way, go for the gay way, all right? That is what's going on throughout that whole movie. . . . Next scene, next scene you see her, she's in the elevator, she is dressed like a guy. She's got the cap on, she's got the aviator glasses, she's wearing the same jacket that the Iceman wears. She is, okay, this is how I gotta get this guy, this guy's going towards the gay way, I gotta bring him back, I gotta bring him back from the gay way, so I'll do that through subterfuge, I'm gonna dress like a man. All right? That is how she approaches it.

And so on.

"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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  • 6 months later...

Kelsey Grammer talks to the New York Post:

NYP: You’ve had your share of cataclysms.

KG: I sure have. I’ve been through failed marriages, loss of people you love; those are pretty huge events. You pick yourself up and get through it.

NYP: How?

KG: Faith in God.

NYP: Go to church faith?

KG: I don’t go to church. I read the Bible a lot. I’m fine with the Book of Matthew because there’s a lot in there about working out your own salvation. There are road marks for me.

NYP: Give me an example of a Bible experience?

KG: Well one day I asked: How old am I going to be when I die? And I had the Bible in front of me so I just closed my eyes, opened it up to a page in the Book of Job, and I pointed. There was a reading that said when I die I am going to be 140 years old. And I like that.

[ snip ]

NYP: You had a lot of family tragedies that led to you drowning your grief in alcohol. What you would say to other people who have had similar kinds of tragedies?

KG: The easiest two words to describe it is: forgive yourself. There’s a million ways to act out because you’re weak, and I do think the one truest thing I’ve ever heard about addiction is that it is the result of unresolved grieving. You’re longing for something…this recreational thing turns into an addiction that helps you, basically, get through life.

NYP: What was the turning point?

KG: Certainly, it was getting cleaned, living in a very regimented way. But there was a pivotal moment of faith.

NYP: Describe the moment?

KG: It’s a very private thing, but it was soul-shaking. And it may sound corny and people maybe get uncomfortable.

NYP: Was this a religious experience?

KG: No, this was an experience. You know, I’ve gotten involved in a lot of after-life experiments. In producing “Medium,” I have met and have been flooded with a lot of information from that world, the after-life, and I have encountered some pretty mind-boggling events that have confirmed my faith, and so, several years ago that the true release came through one of these events.

NYP: And from that moment on you felt what?

KG: Lifted, like I was just lighter. And certainly having my heart attack cleaned up the whole mess…that was the final scrub, a little wax job at the car wash.

"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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Kelsey Grammer talks to the New York Post:

NYP: You’ve had your share of cataclysms.

KG: I sure have. I’ve been through failed marriages, loss of people you love; those are pretty huge events. You pick yourself up and get through it.

NYP: How?

KG: Faith in God.

NYP: Go to church faith?

KG: I don’t go to church. I read the Bible a lot. I’m fine with the Book of Matthew because there’s a lot in there about working out your own salvation. There are road marks for me.

NYP: Give me an example of a Bible experience?

KG: Well one day I asked: How old am I going to be when I die? And I had the Bible in front of me so I just closed my eyes, opened it up to a page in the Book of Job, and I pointed. There was a reading that said when I die I am going to be 140 years old. And I like that.

[ snip ]

NYP: You had a lot of family tragedies that led to you drowning your grief in alcohol. What you would say to other people who have had similar kinds of tragedies?

KG: The easiest two words to describe it is: forgive yourself. There’s a million ways to act out because you’re weak, and I do think the one truest thing I’ve ever heard about addiction is that it is the result of unresolved grieving. You’re longing for something…this recreational thing turns into an addiction that helps you, basically, get through life.

NYP: What was the turning point?

KG: Certainly, it was getting cleaned, living in a very regimented way. But there was a pivotal moment of faith.

NYP: Describe the moment?

KG: It’s a very private thing, but it was soul-shaking. And it may sound corny and people maybe get uncomfortable.

NYP: Was this a religious experience?

KG: No, this was an experience. You know, I’ve gotten involved in a lot of after-life experiments. In producing “Medium,” I have met and have been flooded with a lot of information from that world, the after-life, and I have encountered some pretty mind-boggling events that have confirmed my faith, and so, several years ago that the true release came through one of these events.

NYP: And from that moment on you felt what?

KG: Lifted, like I was just lighter. And certainly having my heart attack cleaned up the whole mess…that was the final scrub, a little wax job at the car wash.

Talk about coincidence. My wife is reading a true crime book called Hello Charlie, about the investigation into serial murderer Charlie Hess. Last night she read to me a portion of the book detailing the background of one of the lead investigators of Charlie Hess. This investigator made a name for himself by tracking down three would-be robbers of a Colorado Red Lobster. The robbery went awry, but the three men kidnapped, raped and tortured a young woman who was sitting in the parking lot, and whom they were afraid could identify them to police. They later stabbed this young woman in the throat. She was able to crawl the length of a city block in search for help, before dying. That young woman was Karen Alicia Grammer, Kelsey Grammer's younger sister. This came not too long after the murder of their father. It's easy to see why Grammer has had his struggles with alcohol, and a testament to his faith that he has been able to overcome many of the demon's that have plagued him. I pray for his continued success.

Formerly Baal_T'shuvah

"Everyone has the right to make an ass out of themselves. You just can't let the world judge you too much." - Maude 
Harold and Maude
 

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  • 2 months later...

Zachary Levi, star of Chuck and Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel.

And no sooner does Relevant magazine underline Levi's faith, than Us magazine comes along, announcing that Levi and his girlfriend have split up, and quoting one of the ex-girlfriend's friends as saying, "He told her it was bad timing and if God brings them together in the future it's meant to be." And before Levi and his girlfriend broke up, there was a photo of them on Facebook that "foreshadowed" the split: "In the photo, he's drinking beer, and she's reading The Shack."

Sorry about all that. I honestly wasn't looking for any gossip; I just Googled Levi's name to check his movie credits, and stumbled upon this late-breaking story... and it just happened to include one or two data points that kind of connected to the "actors who are believers" angle. Make of it all what you will.

Edited by Peter T Chattaway

"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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  • 1 month later...

Not quite what this thread is about, but...

"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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  • 1 month later...

TheWrap.com talks to Nicholas Sparks (writer of Message in a Bottle, A Walk to Remember, The Notebook, Nights in Rodanthe, Dear John and The Last Song):

I know you’re a Christian but I don’t see any proselytizing in your movies.

No.

As a Christian, do you get angry with the way your faith has been co-opted for political purposes among the right?

Yeah, I’m kind of centered in the belief that I’m not smart enough to presume to understand the will of God. I don’t know who’s going to heaven, who’s going to hell.

My sister died of cancer in her 30s. She was a nice lady. She was 33 years old. She had two kids, never said a mean word to anyone. Why did she die? I can’t make heads or tails of it. So if I can’t answer these kinds of questions, I certainly can’t pass judgment.

You’ve said you don’t write about kids having premarital sex, but looking at the young couple in “The Last Song” their body language says it all.

You can have passion without going all the way. I certainly didn’t do it in the novel, and it wasn’t written into the screenplay in any shape, matter or form.

If you’re 17 and even if you haven’t, for instance, gone all the way, you can still know what love is. And that’s really what you want to accomplish in a film like this -- that passion that the women in particular in the audience are looking for. They love that rush of falling in love. . . .

"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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To me, he'll always be the token Red Shirt in Star Trek: First Contact -- the bridge-crew officer who gets assimilated by the Borg during one of the film's best action sequences. In any case, Nikki Finke reports that Neal McDonough is not just a Catholic, but a Catholic like Jim Caviezel who refuses to do certain kinds of scenes:

Neal McDonough is a marvelous actor who elevates every role he plays, whether it's in Band of Brothers or Desperate Housewives. So when he was suddenly replaced with David James Elliott 3 days into the filming on ABC's new series Scoundrels earlier this week, there had to be a story behind the story. The move was officially explained as a casting change. But, in fact, McDonough was sacked because of his refusal to do some heated love scenes with babelicious star (and Botox pitchwoman) Virginia Madsen. The reason? He's a family man and a Catholic, and he's always made it clear that he won't do sex scenes. And ABC knew that. Because he also didn't get into action with Nicolette Sheridan on the network's Desperate Housewives when he played her psycho husband during Season 5. And he also didn't do love scenes with his on-air girlfriend in his previous series, NBC's Boomtown, or that network's Medical Investigation. "It has cost him jobs, but the man is sticking to his principles," a source explained to me. You can't help but admire McDonough for sticking to his beliefs, even if he's poised to lose as much as $1 million in paydays for Scoundrels, which is based on the New Zealand series Outrageous Fortune centering on the matriarch (Madsen) of a family of criminals who decides it's time for her brood to go straight after her husband (McDonough, now Elliott) is sentenced to a long prison term. ("I thought these things only happened to women in LA!," a source mused.)

"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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Miley Cyrus talks to Parade (via GetReligion.org):

Miley’s ease with talking about God points to another aspect of her life—her faith. Before her family moved to L.A. in 2005, she was baptized in a Southern Baptist church as a kind of spiritual insurance policy against big-city life. Yet she no longer frequents church these days.

“My faith is very important to me,” she says. “But I don’t necessarily define my faith by going to church every Sunday. Because now when I go to church, I feel like it’s a show. There are always cameras outside. I am very spiritual in my own way. Let me make it clear, though—I am a Christian. Jesus is who saved me. He’s what keeps me full and whole. But everyone is entitled to what they believe and what keeps them full. Hopefully, I can influence people and help them follow the same path I am on, but it is not my job to tell people what they are doing wrong.”

Is it hard being openly Christian in Hollywood?

“People are always looking for you to do something that is non-Christian,” she answers. “But it’s like, ‘Dude, Christians don’t live in the dark.’ I have to participate in life. If I wear something revealing, they go, ‘Well, that’s not Christian.’ And I’m like, ‘Yeah, I’m going to go to hell because I’m wearing a pair of really short white shorts.’ Suddenly I’m a slut. That’s so old-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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Mariska Hargitay & her husband, actor Peter Hermann:

But then [soon after Hargitay was cast on Law & Order,] along came Hermann, who befriended the actress in 2001 during long breaks on the set. “We would talk about God,” says Hargitay, who was raised Catholic and retained strong spiritual beliefs even as she drifted away from her own religion. For their first date, Hermann invited her to his Presbyterian church. “She floated over to my house afterwards with a big smile on her face,” McDermott recalls. “He’s very soulful, he’s very grounded, he’s the protector of her privacy.” Says Hargitay, “I don’t know if it was because I was older, but I thought, that’s my husband. I knew it.”

The couple married in 2004; August was born two years later. “The baby transformed her,” Meloni says. “He gave her a sense of calm, of peace, of satisfaction, of family life being solidified.” Hargitay talks longingly of her desire for another child, but at 46, she is a realist. “It’s in God’s hands,” she says. “But we’re always open to it.”

...

Asked how five years of marriage have changed their relationship, she looks at him, curious to hear his response. Hermann takes the question seriously, noting that in the Bible marriage is referred to as a “great mystery.” “It’s important to continually approach it with awe and reverence,” he says, then adds with a smile, “When you’re trying to get out the door, ‘Why haven’t you called the elevator; why did you forget your wallet again,’ you’re not really in awe.” They laugh. “If people are reading this article to see whether we’ve got it figured out,” he says, “the biggest gift you can give them is to say, ‘We so don’t!’ ”

Hargitay's Joyful Heart foundation helps victims of sexual & domestic violence & abuse; Hermann is also on the Board of Directors.

Edited by BethR

There is this difference between the growth of some human beings and that of others: in the one case it is a continuous dying, in the other a continuous resurrection. (George MacDonald, The Princess and Curdie)

Isn't narrative structure enough of an ideology for art? (Greg Wright)

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  • 4 months later...
Nikki Finke reports that Neal McDonough is not just a Catholic, but a Catholic like Jim Caviezel who refuses to do certain kinds of scenes . . .

And now, she reports that McDonough is developing a TV series called Vigilante Priest, about an ex-cop turned priest who is cleaning up the streets of Los Angeles "one sinner at a time".

"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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  • 2 weeks later...

Over at his Facebook page, Roger Ebert just linked to this story about the "feud" between Gerard Depardieu and Juliette Binoche... and along the way, the article claims, in passing, that Binoche is "a committed Christian and unostentatious supporter of charitable and political causes".

I wasn't sure that I ever heard about that before -- the "committed Christian" bit, I mean -- but then I scanned this site and saw that mrmando started a thread on ' Juliette Binoche and Taize' back in January 2007. (The link there doesn't seem to work any more, though.)

"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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  • 2 weeks later...
CBN interviews Corbin Bernsen (L.A. Law, Major League) about the connection between his personal spiritual journey and the making of his new film Rust.

"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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CBN interviews Corbin Bernsen (L.A. Law, Major League)

And Psych! Don't forget Psych! B)

Speaking of, I don't think it was mentioned, but Bernsen's co-star on that show, Dule Hill, is a Christian. And I've noticed that this season Hill's character has been talking more and more about faith. I don't know why, but it's been fascinating to see and ponder.

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  • 2 weeks later...

An addendum to the earlier post about Corbin Bernsen: The other day, he told the National Catholic Register that he was raised Christian Scientist (as was Robert Duvall, incidentally). He doesn't specify where his own beliefs lie at the moment, though he does add a few more details about what motivated his recent spiritual rejuvenation and what some of the benefits have been.

"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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  • 3 months later...

Well, he probably isn't "well-known" in the sense intended by this thread, but for whatever it's worth:

- - -

Sony Pictures Exec/Preacher DeVon Franklin Writes Book On His Double Life

The last thing higher-ups from major studios want from their creative executives is for them to go public with their experiences in the trenches. The notable exception is DeVon Franklin, a Sony Pictures Entertainment exec who is writing a book about his journey that will be published next year by Simon & Schuster's Howard Books. The title, Produced By Faith: Navigating the Road to Success Without Compromising Your True Self, reveals that Franklin isn't your average Hollywood executive. He's leading a double life. Aside from his work as Sony overseeing such movies as The Pursuit of Happyness, the remake of The Karate Kid and Hancock, the 32-year old Franklin is also a Christian minister and motivational speaker who has been preaching the word of God since he was 16 years old. His book is designed to show readers how to honor their faith and still succeed in their careers.

Franklin is doing just that in Hollywood. It's not a coincidence that he gravitates to spiritually uplifting movie projects. Had he been given the script to an R-rated movie like The Hangover, he would likely have passed it to a colleague even though he thought the movie was quite funny. He also has managed to succeed in Hollywood while preaching at least one weekend a month at Wings of Love Maranatha Ministries in Oakland, where he's an ordained Elder. He also observes the Sabbath -- it's in the 10 Commandments and Jesus did it -- meaning that from sundown Friday to sundown Saturday, Franklin shuts off his phone. . . .

Mike Fleming, Deadline.com, December 16

Edited by Peter T Chattaway

"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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  • 2 months later...

And now ... Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson?:

[Lee Stanley's] life’s work is a personal testimony to his filmmaking choices. He said that while working on "Gridiron Gang," he never knew its star, Dwayne Johnson, was a Christian until a certain incident.

“Dwayne had a stomach ache or a stomach problem. He was in his trailer, it was one or two in the morning. It was cold. It was on the mountains and I went to him. And I said, 'hey how are you doing?' He said, 'Lee, you know I've wrestled most of my life. I haven't felt pain this uncomfortable.' And I said, 'Dwayne, we have some medics coming. What can I do for you? There is only one thing I can do for you. I have one offer. I believe in prayer and I'm a Christian.' Dwayne reached out his hand and grabbed and said, 'let's pray man.'”

"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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  • 1 year later...

Megan Fox has been speaking in tongues since she was 8 years old and still attends church regularly.

"I have seen magical, crazy things happen. I've seen people be healed," says the 26-year-old actress, mom to 3½-month-old Noah. "Even now, in the church I go to, during Praise and Worship I could feel that I was maybe getting ready to speak in tongues, and I'd have to shut it off because I don't know what that church would do if I started screaming out in tongues in the back."

...

"It feels like a lot of energy coming through the top of your head — I'm going to sound like such a lunatic — and then your whole body is filled with this electric current.

"And you just start speaking, but you're not thinking because you have no idea what you're saying. Words are coming out of your mouth, and you can't control it. The idea is that it's a language that only God understands. It's the language that's spoken in heaven. It's called 'getting the Holy Ghost.'"

It's the side effects that save us.
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Here's a story from last year about Zachary Levi and Adam Baldwin.

There is this difference between the growth of some human beings and that of others: in the one case it is a continuous dying, in the other a continuous resurrection. (George MacDonald, The Princess and Curdie)

Isn't narrative structure enough of an ideology for art? (Greg Wright)

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To me, he'll always be the token Red Shirt in Star Trek: First Contact -- the bridge-crew officer who gets assimilated by the Borg during one of the film's best action sequences. In any case, Nikki Finke reports that Neal McDonough is not just a Catholic, but a Catholic like Jim Caviezel who refuses to do certain kinds of scenes:

Neal McDonough is a marvelous actor who elevates every role he plays, whether it's in Band of Brothers or Desperate Housewives. So when he was suddenly replaced with David James Elliott 3 days into the filming on ABC's new series Scoundrels earlier this week, there had to be a story behind the story. The move was officially explained as a casting change. But, in fact, McDonough was sacked because of his refusal to do some heated love scenes with babelicious star (and Botox pitchwoman) Virginia Madsen. The reason? He's a family man and a Catholic, and he's always made it clear that he won't do sex scenes. And ABC knew that. Because he also didn't get into action with Nicolette Sheridan on the network's Desperate Housewives when he played her psycho husband during Season 5. And he also didn't do love scenes with his on-air girlfriend in his previous series, NBC's Boomtown, or that network's Medical Investigation. "It has cost him jobs, but the man is sticking to his principles," a source explained to me. You can't help but admire McDonough for sticking to his beliefs, even if he's poised to lose as much as $1 million in paydays for Scoundrels, which is based on the New Zealand series Outrageous Fortune centering on the matriarch (Madsen) of a family of criminals who decides it's time for her brood to go straight after her husband (McDonough, now Elliott) is sentenced to a long prison term. ("I thought these things only happened to women in LA!," a source mused.)

Let me acknowledge, first and foremost, that in both concept and execution this whole thread is fraught with all sorts of peril and potential occasions for growing smaller, rather than larger, in understanding and sharing the love of God. I think Neal McDonough is awesome, and when he's in something I tend to see it. He and I: Last Great Day: simpatico mofos. Surely some p.r. person crafted that little moralistic treatise. And, surely, there are lots of good reasons why actors should decline roles.

Nevertheless, if there's anyone who (1) read that statement and (2) saw Season 3 of Justified, or (2a) even just a few episodes of Season 3 of Justified, or (2b) even just that one scene in that one episode where Neal's coked-up naked self walks into a hotel bathroom to rape a teenage boy, well dot dot dot. Let's just say that if your mouth was filled with food or drink when you read the statement, it wouldn't be afterwards.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

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Um. Yes.

There is this difference between the growth of some human beings and that of others: in the one case it is a continuous dying, in the other a continuous resurrection. (George MacDonald, The Princess and Curdie)

Isn't narrative structure enough of an ideology for art? (Greg Wright)

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Russ, thanks for mentioning that. I've had Season 1 of Justified, but had to return it before watching it. I've been meaning to try again, but knowing where Season 3 begins gives me great pause.

"What matters are movies, not awards; experiences, not celebrations; the subjective power of individual critical points of view, not the declamatory compromises of consensus." - Richard Brody, "Godard's Surprise Win Is a Victory for Independent Cinema," The New Yorker

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I think its interesting to point out that on the website about Megan Fox there's a poll. 58% percent of the people who answered it saw tongues as a divine gift. That kind of blew me away, that so many people would respond positively to tongues on a secular (non pentecostal) site. Mind. The article itself kind of blew me away.

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