- (PHOTO: REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson)
William Baldwin is promoting a new faith-based movie called "Blind Faith," a film based on the true story of a high school senior who struggles to become the first blind person to play football.
The 48-year-old actor will play the blind football player's coach, whom Michael Chastain, the real-life athlete, accredits his success to.
"I happen to be at the right place at the right time, that just means I happen to be at a school with a coach that would give me that chance," Chastain told First Coast News. "Think about it. A totally blind kid playing a violent game like football."
At age five, Chastain lost his vision in his right eye after being hit by an arrow while playing with his uncle. Three years later, he began developing glaucoma in his left eye, which eventually left him completely blind by age 15.
Despite his loss of vision, during his junior and senior year at Troy High School in Michigan, he played middle guard on the football team and also wrestled at Central Michigan University for four years.
Inspired by the Chastain's story, Don Snellgrove, president of Sunrise Recording and Film Productions, took on the film, hoping to also relay elements of faith.
The movie synopsis highlights that Chastain will "through his faith and determination" find a way to fulfill his dream of joining his high school's football team.
"Putting his faith in God and finally learning to accept the help of his best friend ... Mike embarks on a journey that, in the end, provides him with the kind of spiritual vision that easily outshines its physical counterpart," the summary states.
"We're trying to create movies designed to reach the unsaved," Snellgrove shared.
Through the upcoming film and other Sunrise movies as well, including "Broken Faith," "Score One for Love" and "Morning Light," the president hopes to touch the hearts of nonbelievers, which his company was designed for.
"The company from day one has intended to use media resources to reach the nonbeliever with thrillers and action packed movies containing real life situations but also containing a message of the gospel woven within each film," Sunrise noted on its website.
"Don has always said, 'Planting seeds of faith and hope in Jesus Christ is our job, then it's God who will make the seed grow within a person.'"
Sunrise Production involves as many churches as possible to participate as host, congregation extras, church sites for scene shots and "any other way possible to enhance the kingdom's growth."
The founder is currently looking to bring "Blind Faith" to the big screen, recruiting Director Duwayne Dunham for that cause.
"I enjoy the script, I enjoy the story, I enjoy the struggle of someone who has been told over and over again I can't, I can't," Dunham explained to First Coast News. "I like a story of inspiration."
Dunham, Baldwin and the producers of the film are looking to secure financing for the five million dollar movie, a budget that is relatively small when compared to blockbuster films.
Baldwin believes that the impact, however, will be enough to stimulate the economy in Jacksonville, creating jobs as well.
"It is a win-win for everybody," said the "The Squid and the Whale" actor, whose brother Stephen Baldwin is known for his Christian faith.
"Blind Faith" will be shot in Jacksonville and will be one of the 15 movies Sunrise plans to film on the First Coast. Filming will most likely begin in the spring at the Trinity Baptist Church campus.
The company plans to release the movie in the fall, in conjunction with the start of the football season.
The inspirational film will also star Melissa Gilbert and Mike Chastain himself.
Chastain is now the general manager of a gym in South Florida and is an honorary member of the NFL Players Association.