Jen Lilley is the star of the newly released film "The Book of Esther," which tells the tale of the Biblical Queen. The film is now out on DVD, and Lilley took the time to speak with The Christian Post about taking on such an important role and how Esther would fit into today's society.
Why did you choose to work on this project?
I've always loved the story of Esther; I feel like Esther is such an encouraging story to people for several reasons. She was so unqualified to become Queen (she was adopted) and she was just an unlikely candidate… you see that throughout the Bible. God used Moses, Joseph, and others that were probably not expected. The film, and Esther's story, really resonated with me because she was a woman; I think it's important for women to know that even though the Bible uses male language, God has a plan and purpose for women. Jeremiah 29:11 says, "I have a plan and a hope for you." It doesn't matter what your upbringing is… God has a purpose and plan for each and every one of us.
What was it like slipping into Queen Esther's sandals?
It was a little intimidating because there is not a lot of information about Esther, except for the Biblical information. I studied the Jewish and Persian cultures at the time, but that's mainly hearsay, people analyzing what/how people were in those times. I prayed every day on my way to set, "God, you know Esther, you created her… you ordained this whole thing… give me the spirit of Esther."
What did you learn from portraying such an icon?
It solidified the scripture (Matthew 10:16) that says, "Be wise as a serpent and gentle as a dove." I feel that Esther was so smart, had to pray about everything, including how to speak to the King. She really had to pick her moments, and in the best way, epitomizes that Scripture as it is meant to be interpreted.
How do you think Queen Esther would fit into today's society?
Sometimes, not to be presumptuous, I feel like Esther in the entertainment industry. I have a heart for it, but I thought I was going to be a teacher… In college, God told me to be an actress. I tested the spirit to make sure that it was God and not me; I gave myself seven years to see, and it's only been five-and-a-half. In the entertainment industry, even from the five years that I've been here, things have drastically changed. Nudity is now commonplace rather than frowned upon. I am not giving in to that. There are so many things in the entertainment industry that they expect you to compromise; you have to be wise with your responses because you don't want to offend them, but you need to be a light and respond with graciousness.
I'm going to be on "Days of Our Lives," and just began filming. That opportunity came from the Lord. I prayed and fasted to decide whether I would accept the role or not, but this is the one that I was to take. I had other offers, and they all fell through, so I'm grateful that I took the opportunity to be on "Days." At the time, I asked for certain things in my contract that people said would be impossible. But I stood on my faith, and against all odds, I got those things. I daily pray for God to help me be a peacekeeper and help me through my scenes; my character is so evil that it's just unlike me. And obviously there is a lot of sex on the show. When the time comes, I'm going to use it as an opportunity to show abstinence, which I fully believe in. I don't understand how my friends can do things in this industry without faith. I can't do things without prayer.
"The Book of Esther" is available in stores and online. For more information, click HERE.