The highly anticipated film “I Still Believe” hits theaters Friday and while Christian singer Jeremy Camp is grateful that his love story is being shown on screen, it also forces him to relive the most difficult moment in his life.
“It’s the hardest part of my life, where I actually experienced some very difficult grief and pain,” Camp told The Christian Post. “So every time I watch it, I do break down because I’m reminded of that pain.”
“I Still Believe” chronicles the story of how the award-winning Christian singer fell in love with and married Melissa Lynn Henning-Camp, who died in 2001, less than a year after they were wed.
Named after Camp’s popular song, “I Still Believe” was produced under the Erwin Brothers’ newly-formed studio Kingdom, in association with Lionsgate. The film stars country singer Shania Twain, who plays the role of Camp’s mother opposite actor Gary Sinise, who portrays Camp’s father. Actress Britt Robertson portrays Camp’s late wife, Melissa, and the role of Camp is performed by New Zealander KJ Apa, who’s best known for his role in the hit TV series “Riverdale.”
Camp is now remarried to his wife Adrienne of 16 years and they have three kids together. His new wife has been his biggest supporter throughout the years and has supported him in telling Melissa’s story.
The following is an edited transcript of The Christian Post’s interview with Camp, where he shares his experience while making the movie and the aftermath.
Christian Post: How was it for you watching back this part of your life in “I Still Believe”?
Camp: Honestly, I’m going to be real transparent with you; a lot of people say, “Wow, a movie on your life, isn’t that exciting?” Absolutely, I’m blown away that God allowed me to do this but it’s hard — watching the film and being a part of it. It’s the hardest part of my life, where I actually experienced some very difficult grief and pain. So I think the reality is, so every time I watch it, I do break down because I’m reminded of that pain.
One thing, though, that I’ve learned in all this is that I tell people, this is what it feels like. It’s like when you get a wound you get hurt and at first, it’s bleeding, it’s an open sore and everything about it just hurts. Then there’s a point where it becomes a scar and you’re not feeling every day but you can look at the scar and be reminded of the pain. I think that’s what this does; I don’t have an open wound anymore, I don’t, but I’m reminded of the hard time it was.
One beautiful thing that happened during the filming, we were filming and it was a really difficult scene and I had to walk away because I broke down. I just started weeping, my wife followed me and I just cried on her shoulder for a while. I got back into the filming and I’m sitting there, and I’m watching my family and they’re in front of me. It’s my wife, my three kids. I’m like, “Wow, God, look what you’ve done.” I have my family now and I’m able to go and minister around the world, your goodness and your faithfulness.
So I think for me, the fact that I know this is going to open more doors to minister the Gospel and to share, that’s what the most exciting thing is. I’ve done this for so many years that I don’t need a notch in my belt. It’s more you just got to impact the Kingdom or what’s the point?
CP: “I Still Believe” was voted the top romantic movie of 2020 by mainstream outlet Seventeen Magazine. What do you think all the mainstream reception of the film will mean?
Camp: The film presents Jesus that He’s the hope and the reason why we were able to get through what we went through. I think that’s what’s so beautiful. Hey, draw men by saying it’s the number one romantic movie and give them Jesus.
Of course, you want Christians to be encouraged with the film and I want believers to go watch it. But honestly, I want the people who don’t know Jesus to watch this because I want them to understand that the only reason why I was able to get through my trial and we were able to get through that trial because He was by our side every moment.
Everybody in this generation really is searching for hope. There are so many things and battles and divisions and all this and people are grasping for hope in some way. And for us to present this [movie] as a ‘this is difficult, this is the trial, this is pain and hurt and loss, but there’s hope,’ I think that’s so huge and pointing that hope to Jesus.
CP: How was it working with KJ as he played you?
Camp: Working with him was amazing because he did his research and he really cared about portraying me correctly and accurately. I think that was so amazing because I feel like he did. He got to know me, he asked me questions like, “How did you ask this question?” or “How did you react in this situation?” He really cared. I think his heart was really in it. He didn’t just take a role to take a role. He took on the role and put his heart into it. Of course, the singing part and playing part, he definitely doesn’t really sound like me or anything. But here’s what I love about it — you can tell that he put his heart into you because you can feel the passion in what he’s saying. I think that’s why it’s so beautiful because you can still feel the passion of his singing.
CP: Did any of the actors come to you and tell you how your story impacted them?
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SOURCE: Christian Post, Jeannie Law