PROVO, Utah — Kristoffer Polaha, star of the upcoming sci-fi action film “The Shift,” believes it’s time for Hollywood to create content that will inspire people to do good in the world instead of evil.
Throughout his many years in the industry, Polaha, 46, has seen a noticeable change in the content being produced in film and TV. As a man of faith, he believes it’s time for Hollywood to create more entertainment with messages of "integrity" and "faith."
"I think it is inspiring and ennobling to see someone have integrity, and to see someone fight for love, and to see somebody who's true and true-hearted and what does that look like? We need role models,” Polaha shared in a recent interview with The Christian Post.
"'I'm in Hollywood, and I love Hollywood, and I think that Hollywood is doing its best job to be as representative as it can, and sometimes it feels heavy-handed and it misses the mark, he added.
"It's almost like we're telling so many stories that we're forgetting to tell the stories that are sort of a basic, fundamental.”
Set to be released in January 2024, "The Shift" follows a man named Kevin, played by Polaha, who lives in a dystopian world where he is confronted by a mysterious person called "The Benefactor" (played by Neal McDonough), who gives him challenges as he travels the multiverse trying to return to the woman he is in love with.
“‘The Shift' deals with, very simply put, at its core, as we all are, we all have the potential to be sort of broken and rotten. If I gave you a hall pass to do anything that you wanted to do, would you do it? It's a very simple question. There's no repercussions, legally you're fine, morally you're fine, here's a hall pass, do whatever you want to do. So that's what my character is given,” he explained.
The main character is a power broker, and in all but one of the multiverses he is in, he “represents an agent of chaos.”
“He kills people. He shakes things up. He destroys things. But in this one version, Kevin's truth is that he is a man of integrity. He's fighting to be good, and he's a man of faith and he’s [trying to get back to the love of his life, his wife],” Polaha detailed. "And so what you see is this guy, literally trying to go to the ends of every universe trying to find this girl.”
Polaha’s character is tempted in every universe he shifts into by a character that represents the devil. Polaha said that, for many years, entertainment has enticed people to “dance with the enemy” because it was such an opposite representation of reality.
“I think that, as a Christian, when you read the Bible, you know there's the devil. What was fascinating to me is that Jesus did two things: He healed the sick, and He cast out demons,” the actor and author said.
"As a Christian, we're not given authority over other people, but we're given authority over the principalities in the spiritual realm, and even Shakespeare acknowledges 'there are so many things that are seen and unseen, that cannot be conceived by the mind of man,'" Polaha continued.
"We acknowledge mediums. We acknowledge ghosts. We acknowledge aliens. We acknowledge all of these things that we can't see, even Sasquatch. So, we're allowed to believe all of these things and I think where Hollywood has really sunk its teeth into human nature in the way that Jesus was talking about the world.”
Polaha acknowledged spiritual warfare in leading the infection of evil in the world, but he also maintained the lure of the flesh.
“The world is broken and I think left to our own devices, if you take the hall pass and do what you want, it becomes very easy to start to feed your own nature because we are full of pride, we are full of lust, we are full of greed,” he noted.
Polaha cited actors Marlon Brando and James Dean, popular stars known for playing sympathetic bad boys, as examples of Hollywood having "loved to embrace that fleshy, raw and even Satanic element" of life.
"There's a pretty clear line of this idea of good and evil and this idea of dancing with the devil," he said to CP. "There's this weird appeal and there's this weird fantasy element of like, 'Well, I'm doing so good on my own, but I do want to see that little window."
"I think now the world is caught up, life has imitated art,” he added. “I think we've arrived in culture, where, really, our real life is far more egregious than anything we will ever be allowed to put on screen. When you think about sex trafficking, mass shootings, we can go as dark as we want to go. You can't write the things that are happening in the world.”
Polaha said Hollywood now has the responsibility to show what it would be like if the world was good, saying that he felt it was "Hollywood's job to start showing the fantasy of what it looks like to have integrity, the fantasy of what it looks like to have faith, the fantasy of it looks like to be a good man and a good woman."
"You can tell all the stories still and you can still represent everybody. Everybody can be represented by that,” Polaha concluded.
“Let's start showing people what it looks like to be tested and still have faith, and still be true to your faith, and still have integrity, and still have honesty, what does that look like?”
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