Friday, January 27, 2006

End of the Spear has an openly gay actor

A neat Christianity Today story on how an openly gay actor was cast in a lead role in End of the Spear.
Chad Allen, who plays Nate Saint (one of the martyred missionaries) and the grown-up Steve Saint (Nate's son), is an outspoken homosexual actor who has lobbied for gay rights and gay marriage.
Chad Allen played dual roles of Nate and Steve Saint
Chad Allen played dual roles of Nate and Steve Saint

Allen told Christianity Today Movies that he didn't tell End of the Spear's filmmakers about his sexuality until after they had offered him the job in late 2003. The filmmakers also say they didn't know about Allen's lifestyle until after they offered him a contract, but they felt obliged to honor it even though it had not yet been signed.

"We found out Chad was gay after we offered him the parts," said executive producer Mart Green of Every Tribe Entertainment, the production company behind the movie. "We felt like when we offered him the contract, we were obligated to honor it."
"This is one of the most extraordinary stories of love and forgiveness that I've ever known," Allen said. "But I also realized the incredible responsibility of playing these two men, especially as I learned more about how important Nate Saint and Steve Saint are to people around the world. I really felt the weight of that."

Allen didn't meet Steve Saint until about three months after he was hired, when shooting began in January 2004 in Panama. When they finally met, Allen says he told Saint, "If you don't want me to do this movie, because I respect you and your family so much and I respect this story so much, I will walk away from this—contract or no contract, even if that means I'm liable for breaking the contract."

But Saint had already decided to keep Allen on board. He said he had been praying about it, and that God clearly revealed the answer in a dream.

In the dream, Saint says he was "being chased by a mob of Christians who were angry with me for having desecrated 'their story.' The answer to their hostility was easy: Just ask Chad to remove himself. But as quickly as this thought came to me, I found myself standing before God. His look was not as compassionate as I had expected. God said, 'Steve, you of all people should know that I love all of my children.With regard to Chad Allen, I went to great lengths to orchestrate an opportunity for him to see what it would be like for him to walk the trail that I marked for him. Why did you mess with my plans for him?'
Very encouraging story, about true dialogue. And yes, compassion and love. Would that more Christians would, indeed, love the sinner.

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