Tom Berenger Talks 'Lonesome Dove Church' and Preferring Charlton Heston's 'Ten Commandments' Over 'Exodus: Gods and Kings'

'Lonesome Dove Church' is available on DVD on March 24.
"Lonesome Dove Church" is available on DVD on March 24. | (Photo: Courtesy of Lionsgate Home Entertainment)

Oscar-nominated actor Tom Berenger recently voiced his opinion of some of today's faith films, including his latest project, "Lonesome Dove Church," just days before its March 24th release.

Unlike other faith-based films available today, "Lonesome Dove Church" is based on real events that led to the foundation of the church in the U.S. during the 1800's. Berenger, who is well-known for his roles in films such as "Inception" and the TV miniseries "Hatfields & McCoys," portrays an itinerant preacher, John Shepherd, who has dreams of building his own church in the stirring western.

"Lonesome Dove Church" joins the ranks of other faith-based releases today including "God's Not Dead," but offers a historically accurate depiction of Christians as well as the church in the U.S. Just ahead of the American Civil War, Shepherd is compelled to defend his only son Isaac against a cold-blooded killer while carefully navigating the western frontier. Furthermore, Berenger explained that his character puts his faith and his future on the line by taking an abolitionist stance and springing to defend Isaac against accusations of robbery and murder.

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"The opening scene is in a Missouri church during a sermon talking about slavery, and he's against it, but Missouri is a border state and you see some people in the audience nodding in agreement and others are like, 'I don't know about this,'" the actor told The Christian Post. "They are upset with him. And that's exactly what happened in the border states."

The actor went on to provide a special lens for "Lonesome Dove Church," citing the rich American history that is pivotal to the film's plot.

"West Virginia succeeded from the unionists, Maryland was divided in two, and Kentucky was divided in two," Berenger explained. "[President] Lincoln's wife was from Kentucky and had four or five brothers killed in the war ... you can imagine what a basket case she was. And here is her husband bringing it all about, but she backed him. And they weren't the only families either. And those states out there, not many people hear about it because they didn't have the huge battles but it was pretty nasty out there."

Berenger also added his opinion of the numerous faith-based films available today, including the latest "10 Commandments" remake starring Christian Bale, "Exodus: Gods and Kings." Although the actor could not explain the upsurge in Bible-based films, he praised early Christian films of both the '60's and '80's.

"I don't know, but if I was going to watch 'The 10 Commandments,' I think I would watch the old movie with Charlton Heston," Berenger said. "It's four hours long and I loved it. That's the one I would prefer to see. And for Easter, 'Ben Hur,' it's hard to beat those films."

Berenger stars alongside Greyston Holt in "Lonesome Dove Church," which is available on DVD, Digital HD and On Demand on March 24. Watch the trailer for the film here.

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