When seasoned actors are given a faith-based movie script about an unlikely medical miracle, they’re inclined to approach it with a healthy scepticism.
That was the case for both Jennifer Garner, who told CBN News that she “didn’t know if she could believe the story” at first, and Martin Henderson, who told Hope 103.2’s Laura Bennett that he was initially “a little cynical” .
The pair play the lead roles in Miracles from Heaven, a movie that tells the true story of a Christian family, their daughter’s near-death experience, and her miraculous healing from a digestive illness. It’s based on the book of the same name, written by the mother in the story, Christy Beam.
Both actors say that once they delved into the story, they were deeply moved by the story of Christy and Kevin Beam and their daughter Anna, and were “all in” on the project.
On Monday night Hope 103.2 hosted a screening of the film.
Drawn To The Emotion Of The Story
Martin Henderson, who plays Kevin Beam, told Laura that it was the emotion of the story that drew him into the script.
“I was surprised with how much it affected me emotionally when I first read it,” he said. I confess I was a little cynical about the subject matter. I felt like I have only made kids movies over the years and I was suspicious as to how this was any different or better.
“But as I read it, I just got so emotionally involved with the story and the characters and what this family was going through, and it had such a really profound emotional effect on me and I cried, I admit.
“I just thought it was a very powerful story, irregardless of your religious beliefs. It’s a true story.
“The characters are Christian and I was curious about how that would go in a wider audience, but I felt the story was so moving and compelling and ultimately so uplifting and so affirming, no matter what your faith, I was thrilled to be putting something like that out in the world.”
Jennifer Garner Gave The Role Her All
Likewise, Jennifer Garner became very engaged with the story.
“It was very important to me that I brought to screen what I saw in real life, which was the enormous love between this family,” she told CBN News.
The real-life Christy Beam, who met with Garner on the set and talked to her about her experiences, told CBN that it warmed her heart to see the way the celebrity gave her all to the role.
“She had my book and she was poring over the pages,” she continued. “She had highlighted some things. She had questions for me about things. She completely engulfed herself in it.”
Miracles Both Big And Small
Martin Henderson told Hope 103.2 that the movie presents miracles not just as extraordinary, mind-boggling occurrences, but as small, everyday happenings too.
“It opens up the conversation about what a miracle is—to not just be about those massive, inexplicable, shocking mysteries,” he said.
“It really makes me think about all the tiny little miracles that happen every single day of my life.”
“It points to all the tiny little things that were done around these characters that they weren’t even aware of. It really makes me think about all the tiny little miracles that happen every single day of my life. When a story like this shows that, you can’t help but have more appreciation for how those miracles are happening around us all the time.”
In his chat with Laura he said that the “real life Kevin”, who he met while making the film, is an “anomaly” – a combination of strength, virtue and great faith, as well as human frailty.
Movie Reignited Jennifer Garner’s Interest In Faith
Jennifer Garner told USA Today that after filming the movie and befriending Christy Beam that she was inspired to start teaching her children about faith.
“I think I had become complacent in raising my children, almost as though (I thought) they were going to receive the ground beneath their feet that heaven had given me, through osmosis,” she said. She went home and talked to her three children, who she and Ben Affleck baptized in Garner’s childhood church, and they said to her, ‘We want to go to church.'”
Garner, pictured above with the real-life Annabell Beam in a Facebook post this week, said she “was floored” by her chidlren’s enthusiasm to learn about God.
“I immediately looked up the local United Methodist church,” she said. “We went there next Sunday, and it turned out to be the perfect environment. We’ve gotten so much from it; it’s like a gift Christy gave me.”
Universal Themes Of Faith And Love
Martin Henderson said he hopes the film will speak to audiences of all beliefs, about the universal themes of love and family, and about living in faith instead of fear.
“I think the film would open everybody’s hearts up a little bit and realise what they have to be grateful for,” he said.
Jennifer Garner told CBN that she hopes audiences will come away from the movie feeling hopeful.
“I want people come away and feel like they are surrounded by miracles and they are surrounded by love,” she said. “Sometimes you may have to dig them out. It is worth digging them out. It is worth taking the time to look around you and really find…the joy that already exists in your life.”