Michael W. Smith is swapping singing for acting in the upcoming "90 Minutes in Heaven," a film the singer says can offer moviegoers a much-needed sense of hope today.
Based on the best-selling true story of Don Piper's death in a car accident, his experience in heaven and his survival due to prayers of a pastor at the scene, "90 Minutes in Heaven" explores the aftermath of the miracle that forever changed Piper, his wife Eva, and their family. Smith, who is best known for songs such as "You Are Holy (Prince of Peace)" and "Open the Eyes of My Heart," is dusting off his acting skills in the role of Cliff McArdle in the film.
"I play a good friend of Don's, Cliff, and Don gave me information on their relationship. They were buds," Smith told The Christian Post during a visit to the set of "90 Minutes in Heaven" last month.
The singer made his acting debut back in 1994 but very seldom takes roles, opting only for scripts that hold significant meaning for him.
"I'm in the beginning of the movie and fairly crucial because Eva is in a state of emergency and I'm stabilizing factor in all that," Smith explained. "I've read scripts that I'm not interested in; I have no interest in being a movie star. You look for stuff that's intriguing and things you can sink deep into."
Smith stars in "90 Minutes in Heaven" opposite of Hayden Christensen and Kate Bosworth who portray Don and Eve Piper, respectively. The film is based on Piper's best-selling book "90 Minutes in Heaven," which has sold over six and a half million copies in 46 languages.
The Michael Polish-directed film just wrapped production in Atlanta this week, and Smith believes the film will provide a powerful message.
"I'm excited. This a story about hope, and people are looking for hope," said the singer. "I think this has the potential to be a really great film, I'm honored to be a part [of the movie]."
Further explaining the film's message, Smith referred to the number of miracles found in "90 Minutes in Heaven." The singer pointed out Don's return to life and the many months of grueling rehabilitation, as well as the friendships the Piper family grew during their time of need, including with his character.
"I think people are intrigued by stories that are true," Smith continued. "To me, there are so many miracles with this movie; it's not just that Don came back to life. Michael's [Polish] take on the script is the beginning of a community that's coming together, and we all need community. There's a lot of people in the church that choose to not be in a community, which I think is very dangerous 'cause when you have community, you open yourself up, and so Don, Eva and Cliff ... we were the beginning of a community, and what happens in this story and the people who came along to their side through this - what was a horrific situation - is a miracle. Now, 29 years later, they are sitting here together. It's amazing; it really is a miracle. People will need to see this movie."
Stay tuned to The Christian Post for more information from the set of "90 Minutes in Heaven," which is the first movie from Giving Films. The film is slated for a fall 2015 release.