When War Room comes to the big screen in late August, it may be to people everywhere what the movie Courageous was to fathers – a launch for people to pray and connect with God, according to actor T.C. Stallings.
Even before Stallings landed a role in a Kendrick Brothers Productions film, he was a fan of their movies.
Big-time Hollywood films, he says, may be fun and entertaining, but nothing more. But a Kendrick Brothers movie? They are “powerful” and can have a direct impact on a life for the better, he said.
“I like that when you’re done watching the film, it makes you want to go and do something,” Stallings told Christian Examiner. “Not all movies do that. For instance, I went and saw a couple of movies the other day, and they were awesome. But when they were done, I’m done. I can’t put on a cape and fly.”
Stallings plays the lead male role in the Kendrick Brothers’ latest film, War Room, which spotlights the power of prayer and hits theaters Aug. 28.
It was screened by messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention Monday night, and judging by the reaction, the Kendrick brothers may have another hit on their hands.
It’s the fifth film from Alex and Stephen Kendrick, the two brothers who serve as director and producer, respectively, of “War Room.” They wrote the script, and each also plays a role on screen. Their string of hits began with 2006’s “Facing the Giants,” and was followed by “Fireproof” and “Courageous.” The latter two opened in the Top 5 at the box office. In fact, “Courageous” was No. 1 on the first weekend in per-theater average.
Stallings plays Tony Jordan, a successful salesman in a big-city skyscraper whose home life is a wreck. He fights regularly with his wife Elizabeth (played by Priscilla Shirer), rarely spends time with his young daughter, and even begins contemplating an affair.
For her part, Elizabeth – a real estate agent – acknowledges she no longer believes she’s in love with Tony. It’s only under the tutelage of an elderly client (“Miss Clara” – Karen Abercrombie) that Elizabeth rediscovers her faith and learns about the true power of prayer.
Miss Clara, we learn, goes to “battle” daily in her prayer closet – her “war room.”
It is Stallings’ seventh film. He also has had roles in commercials for Golden Corral and USA Football, and he speaks around the country about his faith.
This summer he will release a devotional, “Playing On God’s Team.”
Christians, he said, tend to undervalue the power of prayer.
“I know we do,” he said. “We’re guilty of prayer being the last result. When a situation arises, people say, ‘Well I did this, and I did that, so all we can do now is pray.’ Pray is not the go-to method, which it should be. That’s the way God designed it. We use common sense over prayer. But we don’t know the future like He does. (‘War Room’) hopefully will encourage people to begin praying and start connecting with God.”
Just as “Courageous” encouraged men to be better fathers, he hopes “War Room” will “encourage people to begin praying and start connecting with God” – even to launching a prayer movement.
As part of that prayer emphasis, B&H Publishing is partnering with Kendrick Brothers to release a book by the Kendricks, “The Battle Plan for Prayer,” along with a War Room Bible Study and a War Room Church Campaign Kit.
Fans may recognize Stallings from “Courageous,” when he played T.J., the lead member of a gang.
“I went from a guy who was stealing trucks and shooting people (in ‘Courageous’) to a guy who has this incredible arc of emotions (in ‘War Room’),” Stallings said. “It was exciting to know that I’ve been given the charge of making people forget about T.J. and get to know this Tony Jordan guy.”
Mainstream Hollywood films often portray black families in a negative light, and Stallings said he’s excited for moviegoers to see “the other side.”
“Not every African-American man is not with his family,” Stallings said. “There are those out there who pray, who love the Lord, who are successful. For this movie to do that, it is encouraging. And I like the fact that it shows us winning against issues and sin and problems – as opposed to someone dying or we’re going to a funeral. We’re victorious, we’re victorious through Christ.
“Maybe some families will say, ‘We can do that, too.’ An African-American family in a rough neighborhood, or even a good neighborhood, they can say, ‘We can come out of this if we pray.’ No matter what our color is, prayer is the answer.”