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Mel Gibson is no stranger to making faith-based movie projects, even in the face of enormous controversy. “The Passion of the Christ” remains one of the most monumental movies he’s ever worked on. So Mark Wahlberg teaming up with Gibson to get his recent project, “Father Stu,” onto the big screen just made a lot of sense.
The “Braveheart” actor reflected to Fox News on what made him want to get involved. “You know, I had a pretty big experience with ‘The Passion,’” Gibson explained. “That was an interesting journey to understand that there’s a real thirst for this kind of content out there. People want it, and they respond well to it. So it’s a privilege to be a part of that delivery.”
“I think ‘Father Stu’ offers that,” the actor continued. “It’s a little different. I wouldn’t really call it a faith-based film, but I think it hits all those cravings that the community wants. But at the same time, it’s not preaching to the choir. It’s got F-bombs, so you do have to weather those things to get to the jewel.”
“Father Stu” tells the true story of an amateur boxer who suffered from a degenerative and incurable muscular disorder. He leaned on his faith during tough times and eventually, he became a priest, Father Stuart Long. Wahlberg was so inspired by the story that he chose to invest his own money to get the movie made. He also stars in it.
“The reason why [Father Stu] was so effective was because he was authentic,” Wahlberg said of the inspiration for the film. “He was speaking the truth from experience, and that’s invaluable … He’s such a remarkable man. It was an honor for me to portray him in the film and to tell his story.”
“People need to have faith and hope,” he said during an interview with Fox in February. “I just knew that I needed to make this movie, and this was my calling and this was my mission. And, now, it’s needed more than ever.”
“Hopefully, it will do some really important work and help a lot of people,” he continued. “It’s certainly a turning point for me in my life. … I need to stop focusing so much on Mark and start doing much more work for God and for people and for people that are less fortunate people.”
According to Fox, the Catholic church wasn’t fully on board with how often the “F-word” is used during the course of the movie. Wahlberg insisted that using that type of language was authentic to the real story, however. He said the script perfectly captured Long’s real journey from “self-destruction to redemption.”
“Father Stu” debuted in theaters on April 13.