Rapper Ja Rule will be starring in upcoming faith-based film "I'm in Love with a Church Girl" about an ex-convict who is now a pastor.
The movie also stars popular actress and musician Adrienne Bailon (member of the now disbanded Cheetah Girls), born-again Christian Stephen Baldwin and renowned music artist TobyMac.
"I'm in Love with a Church Girl" was written by Pastor Galley Molina himself while still in his prison cell. He tells the story of how he was at the top of a major drug trafficking ring in the mid-1990s and how he turned his life around after someone engages him to rethink about his faith.
He is now the youth pastor at Evergreen Valley Church in San Jose, Calif.
"In 1996, I was sentenced to five years in prison," he said. "During that time, even before I was arrested I was already attending church. It's not like I went away and then found God. God and I were already having some time together. God used this; that's why we tagline the movie 'God sometimes uses extreme measures to deal with extreme circumstances.'"
While he was pitching the film idea, studios wanted to make it into a street movie about gangs and violence, he said. But he refused to use the glamor of the rap world. He commented, "You probably rarely hear any hip hop in the movie; it's all big-boy string orchestra and beautiful worship songs."
Molina is proud to announce that he did the all the casting himself. He stated that he chose both Baldwin and Bailon for their strong Christian background and for their talents, and he knew Ja Rule from his music days.
"Ja Rule has been ministered to. He's a dear friend. We've been praying for him a lot. He's been open; he's been so [receptive] to the word," said Molina.
Molina also founded his own independent production company, Reverence Gospel Media, from which he hopes to release two faith-based films a year. "I'm in Love with a Church Girl" is his debut film for the company.
The youth pastor had originally intended to recount his story in a book but decided to go with a film. He noted that the movie would appeal to both the urban and Christian audiences.
A street guy, he said, would say "Yo, this is really hot, I like it, it's such a cool story," while a Christian would say "Hallelujah God, this is a great story, this is inspiring."
"I realized you can't draw the line. God's people are God's people," he noted.
The movie is slated for release in 2011.