Actor Chris Massoglia, who portrays legendary Gospel Hall of Famer Pat Boone in the upcoming biopic “Reagan,” said even though it's not a faith-based film, it will showcase how faith influenced the late president's life.
The first full-length feature film on the 40th president of the United States is being prepped for an early 2023 theatrical release, with Dennis Quaid starring as Reagan.
Along with Quaid and Massoglia, the cast includes: Penelope Ann Miller as first lady Nancy Reagan; Mena Suvari as Reagan's first wife, Jane Wyman; Moriah Peters-Smallbone as legendary Cocoanut Grove singer Loyce Whiteman; Jon Voight as the KGB agent who tracked Reagan for decades, and many others.
The movie will showcase various moments of Reagan's life before he served as president from 1981 to 1989, including his work for Warner Bros. where he starred in the movies “Dark Victory,” “Knute Rockne, All American” and “Kings Row.”
It was during his time in Hollywood that he first met actor and gold recording artist Pat Boone.
In a recent interview with The Christian Post, Massoglia said it was an “honor and privilege” to not only play Boone in “Reagan," but “meeting and learning” from him as well.
“He’s an amazing man and, of course, a phenomenal singer. Elvis once opened for him. How cool is that?” Massoglia said.
Boone, who has his own star on the Hollywood walk of fame, shared stories about the times he was around Reagan to help Massoglia prepare for the role.
Those stories consisted of “his friendship and encounters with Reagan," Massoglia said.
"We walked through my lines and moments in the film. I’ve never played a historical figure where you could actually talk to the person and ask them directly, 'What was your thought process at this moment?' That was really fun for me, and it helped as an actor to be even more in the mindset of the character."
Boone, a professing Christian who often shares his faith, also offered some godly advice with Massoglia.
“One of the things I asked Pat was about marriage since he mentioned it as one of his greatest accomplishments,” Massoglia added. “He said his faith and commitment to his wife were often mocked by those around him. He would just laugh though and shrug it off and say, ‘Hey, it’s working out pretty well for me, isn’t it?’”
Boone's words were something Massoglia found “really admirable.”
“I am a born again, Spirit-filled, Bible-believing, Jesus follower,” Massoglia said. He maintained that Jesus “is the best friend you can have. He will always be there for you.”
Although “Reagan” is a historical biopic and not categorized as a faith-based film, “faith appears naturally in key moments, especially through his mother, Nelle, who was very devout,” Massoglia told CP.
“She gives her son a book called That Printer of Udell’s, and Reagan sees himself in the main character of that book, a young man who finds God and goes to Washington to become a congressman.”
The impact of that book “ends up shaping" Reagan's life, he added.
Joining producer Mark Joseph (“Space Cowboys”) at the helm of “Reagan” is director Sean McNamara and writer Howard Klausner. The pair also worked together on the inspiring film "Soul Surfer.”
The movie was filmed in Oklahoma and California but was halted for a time due to a COVID-19 outbreak among the crew.
The young actor said he grew to appreciate Reagan as he worked on the film.
“I wasn’t alive during his presidency but studying him and his impact, I have a great appreciation for Reagan and the America I inherited because of him,” he said. “This experience has given me a great appreciation for Reagan’s stand against communism and for the principles of freedom that he believed in.”
He ended the interview by lauding Quaid as being “so good as Reagan," adding, I can’t wait for everyone to see this film.”
“It’s an inspiring and realistic portrait of one of our most consequential presidents, and I was honored to be asked to be a part of this film,” Massoglia added. “I appreciate that it shows the ups and downs of his life, the setbacks and the successes. My generation is cynical, and we don’t trust stories in which the main character is perfect.”
For more information about "Reagan," visit the film's website.
Jeannie Ortega Law is a reporter for The Christian Post. Reach her at: firstname.lastname@example.org She's also the author of the book, What Is Happening to Me? How to Defeat Your Unseen Enemy Follow her on Twitter: @jlawcp Facebook: JeannieOMusic