About The Movie:
Everything can change in an instant … and take a lifetime to unravel.
When Mac McDonald loses his son in an accident, the ensuing 17 years of bitterness and pain erodes his love for his family and leaves him angry with God … and just about everyone else.
Mac’s (Michael Joiner) rage stonewalls his career in the police department and makes for a combustible situation when he’s partnered with Sam Wright (Michael Higgenbottom), a rising star on the force—who happens to be a part-time pastor and a loving family man.
Mac’s home life is as frightening as anything he encounters on the streets of Memphis. Money is tight and emotions run high as he constantly argues with his wife and his surviving son Blake, who is hanging with the wrong crowd and in danger of flunking out of school.
Sam Wright also never expected to be a police officer. He has a calling—to be a minister like his Grandpa George. But leading a small, start-up church doesn’t always put enough food on the table for a young family, so Sam doubles as a police officer. With his new promotion to Sergeant, Sam starts questioning if his real calling might actually be police work rather than the pastorate.
Can Mac and Sam somehow join forces to help one another when it’s impossible for either of them to look past their differences—especially the most obvious one?
THE GRACE CARD is the first movie from Memphis-based Graceworks Pictures in conjunction with Calvary Pictures. Inspired by and modeled after Sherwood Pictures, the moviemaking ministry that created Fireproof, this next generation of faith-based film brings together Church and Hollywood—Memphis’ Calvary Church working alongside veteran screenwriter Howard Klausner (Space Cowboys) and Academy Award-winning actor Louis Gossett Jr (Granpa George). Graceworks is the vision of Dr. David Evans, an optometrist in Memphis, who directed and serves as the executive producer of THE GRACE CARD. Calvary Pictures is a ministry of Calvary, a Church of the Nazarene led by Pastor Lynn Holmes in Cordova, Tenn.
Every day, we have the opportunity to rebuild relationships and heal deep wounds by extending and receiving God’s grace. Offer THE GRACE CARD … and never underestimate the power of God’s love.
Interview With Directer David Evans:
David, you’re a medical professional, a left-brain career if ever there was one. You’re a 15-year-plus veteran of directing large-scale musical productions. Now you’re a film writer and director—right-brained activities. What’s up with that?
I definitely feel called to be an eye doctor, but if you ask my wife, my true passion is acting and producing. First in high school and college, then creating the passion plays. Most people want to make a difference somehow. I want to make a difference as a Christian. True joy comes with seeing what the passion plays or this move will do to change lives, to show hope, to show people a new door to peace. Or in the case of THE GRACE CARD, to find forgiveness.
Where did THE GRACE CARD story originate?
As a doctor, you’re also a counselor of sorts. People share stories. I’ve got patients who are on the Memphis police force, and I learned things that informed the story. They helped me see their world, and I wanted to take that and maybe help people see the world as it really is—a world where grace exists.
What inspired you to write this particular story?
I like to do things to grab people by the heart. My father was a minister, and I actually knew a man who was a police officer and a pastor. It occurred to me, “Wouldn’t it be great to show this real life struggle in this real place? To show faith at work in family life, race issues, work issues?”
Is Memphis a character in this film?
It really is. I couldn’t imagine the story set anywhere else, as so many Civil Rights-related incidents have occurred in Memphis. And I’ve always been around that, having grown up in the South. That’s where my heart is. There are so many landmarks, the Pyramid, the river. Even the score has a bluesy feel to it.
Many people associated with THE GRACE CARD say the story drew them to the project. More than one said one look at your script and they knew they wanted to be a part of it. What is it about this story?
Nothing in this story makes you feel that it’s all just bright colors, a pretty portrait that couldn’t really happen. This is real, gritty, true. It’s a realistic portrayal of everyday life. Everyone—regardless of background, income, social status, beliefs—deals every day with problems. Every day. Everyone. That’s part of the power behind THE GRACE CARD.
Who will enjoy THE GRACE CARD? What age groups? What ranges of interest?
That’s just it, everyone will—from pre-teen to adults. I have to say again, it’s a real-life story with action, conflict, and faith in the midst of challenges everyone can relate to.
Academy Award winner Louis Gossett Jr. plays the role of a wise mentor in THE GRACE CARD. Take us through your emotions when you got your script in an Oscar-winner’s hand and got a “Yes” back from him in days.
I was encouraged by some other faith-based filmmakers who said, “You really need to get a name actor in your movie.” Most roles were filled, but not the mentor role. Lou Gossett came to mind. Then I looked at his web site and discovered his commitment to using his position to end racism. I thought, “This has be a God thing.” I tracked down his agent in 24 hours and, initially, there was no interest. But I asked him to at least look at the screenplay because I thought it hit at the center of what Lou is trying to do with his life. Two days later the agent called back and said, “I think he’s going to like this.” And I can truly say about Lou’s performance, he nailed it.
Let’s talk about your cast and crew. You’ve got a wonderful team, ranging from Hollywood professionals to local volunteers.
I truly believe we have a new level of acting in faith-based films. We reached out to every church in Memphis, whoever wanted to send people in to audition. More than 50 churches sent people in. We opened up the door to any Christian who wanted to be a part of the project. Plus, we had over 300 volunteers from Calvary Church who had helped on the passion plays and joined us on THE GRACE CARD.
It has been a long time when a movie has brought me to such tears that I had to stop watching, compose myself and continue on. But this is exactly what happened while watching The Grace Card. Twice I needed to do this. What a powerful reminder of how important forgiveness is and how powerful its effects truly are.
The actors performances were so real, that I felt like I was a fly on the wall, eavesdropping on their lives. Wow, so powerful. I loved all the characters, and was especially thrilled with the supporting role of Louis Gossett Jr., one of my favorite actors.
This is a movie that will change your life, if you let it. If ever you needed a reminder of what grace and forgiveness truly are in this world, The Grace Card is it.
With a strong story line, and some surprising twists and turns throughout the movie, it is one that portrays life as sometimes messy, and not the fairy tale seen in many mainstream movies. I like that I can relate so much of the emotion and experiences portrayed in The Grace Card. No, I have not had a child die, but have had to release myself from the past in order to have God work healing, reconciliation, and forgiveness into my life so I can be the best that He desires for my life.
The Grace Card will be released in theatres in February 2011, and I cannot wait to watch it again!
Check out the official website here, for more information.
***I received a complimentary screener copy of this DVD, courtesy of Lovell-Fairchild Communications, for the purpose of review on this blog. All opinions expressed are my own, and I have not been compensated in any other manner.