Erwin Bros., Lionsgate to release film 'Jesus Revolution' based on 1970s spiritual awakening

Andy Erwin speaks at the launch of Kingdom Studios at the National Religious Broadcasters Convention in Anaheim, California on March 27, 2019.
Andy Erwin speaks at the launch of Kingdom Studios at the National Religious Broadcasters Convention in Anaheim, California on March 27, 2019. | NRB

Lionsgate and Kingdom Story Company are teaming up to make a film about a spiritual awakening in Southern California in the early 1970s known as the Jesus movement. 

According to reports, actors Jim Gaffigan and Joel Courtney have been selected to play the lead roles in the faith-based film, which will be titled “Jesus Revolution.” 

The Christian company Kingdom Story was founded alongside Kevin Downes and The Erwin Brothers are in partnership with media giant Lionsgate. The team recently released Jeremy Camp’s biopic “I Still Believe,” which was the No. 1 film in theaters on its opening night.

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“Jesus Revolution” was written by Jon Erwin and Jon Gunn. Courtney (“Super 8”) will play Greg Laurie, senior pastor of Harvest Christian Fellowship, who was a counterculture teenager in the late 1960s. At the time, Laurie was seeking meaning and purpose, and it led him to join the Jesus movement in Southern California where the spiritual awakening was commonly known for being spearheaded by a community of teenaged hippies.

Gaffigan will portray Pastor Chuck Smith of Calvary Chapel in Costa Mesa, Laurie’s mentor. The minister famously opened his church to all who were seeking and was instrumental in launching the most recent spiritual revival in the United States.

“This is a distinctly American story of rebirth,” Emmy winner Gaffigan told Deadline. “The late 1960s and early 1970s were a time when spirituality was on the wane, leaving a lot of people searching for answers in other places. I’m excited to play a pastor who helped make a home for the people most desperate for those answers and built a congregation — a coming together of people — to make something greater than themselves.”

“When I read the script, I was very drawn to the idea of portraying a man who is completely lost within himself and seeks to find a path and purpose during a time of national turmoil,” Courtney said.

Jon Gunn, who co-wrote the film, also serves as director of the upcoming faith feature.

“I love this era,” said Gunn. “The defiant search for truth, the fight against oppression, the hope for a better future in the midst of social turmoil. In that way, it’s not unlike our world today. And I couldn’t be more excited to work with Jim and Joel to tell this honest, captivating story that will serve as a powerful reminder that radical love really can change the world.”

Andrew and Jon Erwin, the Erwin Brothers, said the film’s content is very timely today.  

“This is a fascinating true story about how young people gravitated toward a spiritual movement that erupted during a time that our country was being torn apart and couldn’t be more divided,” added the Erwin Brothers. “Its themes are just as timely and topical today as they were in the late ’60s.”

Follow Jeannie Law on Twitter: @jlawcpFollow Jeannie Law on Facebook: JeannieOMusic

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