‘Star Wars’ director reveals he was a ‘youth group kid,’ names favorite Christian artists

Rian Johnson
Director Rian Johnson reacts after accepting the award for "Best Sci-Fi Movie" for movie "Looper." |

Rian Johnson, the director of “Star Wars: The Last Jedi,” recently revealed that he was once a “youth group kid.” 

In Johnson's latest film “Knives Out,” which was released over the Christmas holidays, the director includes the faith-based rock song “Righteous Rocker.” On Monday, a curious viewer named Scott Reynolds tweeted a question to the noted Hollywood director asking why he chose to include the trailblazing 1970s Larry Norman Christian song in the movie. 

“Hey @rianjohnson — tell me the story about how Righteous Rocker by Larry Norman got on @KnivesOut (Man I loved Knives Out.)” Reynolds tweeted.

 Johnson replied, “I had grown up listening to Christian rock but never heard of him, then someone on here tweeted an article about him (I thought it was @alissamarie but can’t find it now?) and I got really into his music. That song felt appropriate.”

The California native was then pressed to reveal more details about the type of music he listened to as a teenager and Johnson actually continued the conversation. He disclosed that Christian artists Amy Grant and Michael W. Smith were two artists he listened to and then he transitioned to indie California bands such as The Prayer Chain and Black and White World.

“When I was a kid it was stuff like Amy Grant and Michael W Smith, but then as a teen local bands like the prayer chain and black and white world,” he wrote on Twitter

“Was very much a youth group kid,” Johnson admitted.

Despite his Christian upbringing, Johnson no longer subscribes to the faith of his childhood. In an interview published in November, he said Christianity still informs his understanding of the world but he no longer sees God as a “cosmic entity” outside himself.

Johnson pegged his understanding of God as “a structure that’s within my own psyche.” He continued, “All of that stuff is as real as anything. It’s just interior as opposed to exterior.”

The filmmaker believes there is “a raw power” in his internal conflict with faith and religion, which he said was once “a true source of power in my life.”

“You have to reconcile that in some way,” he said. “I guess I’m still trying to.”

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