“Quantico” star Alan Powell, who co-produced the new faith-based film “Journey to Bethlehem” about the birth of Jesus Christ, has been surprised and disappointed to see the reception that some Christian outlets have given it.
“We made this movie with so much passion and love for this story. I was raised in the Church … I was in a Christian band. I’ve acted in faith-based movies, and this is a movie about the birth of Christ,” said Powell, the son of a former Baptist megachurch pastor in Nashville.
“It’s something that we truthfully didn’t see coming and are bit confounded by, quite frankly. I mean, we absolutely hold this story reverently. We believe in this film,” he added.
“Journey to Bethlehem” is a joint venture of Monarch Media and Affirm Films, a division of Sony. It launched in over 2,000 theaters nationwide last weekend.
For example, one of the characters in “Journey to Bethlehem” is Antipater, the son of Herod (played by Joel Smallbone), who is charged with carrying out the king’s decree to find the baby Jesus. He is not in the Bible, but was added to help tell the story.
“So as we did that, we’re coming up against some resistance from some people who are purists in a way and feel like we filled in gaps in ways that they’re unhappy with,” Powell explained.
“And so, instead of looking at the positive of, ‘Man we told a story about the birth of Christ and the entrance and the introduction of hope that God gave us in his son,’ we’re getting a little bit caught up in the, ‘Is this the right interpretation?’ or ‘You shouldn’t have done that. The Bible doesn’t say that,’ which we’ve been surprised by,” he added.
Antonio Banderas is the most recognizable face in “Journey to Bethlehem,” playing the wicked King Herod, who is intent on snuffing out the life of Jesus before the child can become a rival to his throne.
Fiona Palomo plays Mary and Milo Manheim is Joseph.
The popular Christian singer Lecrae is Gabriel.
The movie has a similar feel to “High School Musical,” which is not surprising, given Peter Barsocchini, the screenwriter of those productions, co-wrote the script for “Journey to Bethlehem.”
The other co-writer and director of the film is Adam Anders, who worked as a music producer on the television series “Glee,” Variety reported.
“I have had a dream to create a Christmas musical for years, and to see it come to life with a stunning cast has exceeded every expectation,” Anders told the outlet. “We could not be more excited for this film to be a classic for years to come.”
Manheim added: “I hope this music goes down in history because I’m going to be listening to it for a long time. It’s one of the best musicals I’ve ever been a part of.”
Powell told The Western Journal that “Journey to Bethlehem” is a passion project for Anders about 10 years in the making.
The theme of the story is, “God has bigger plans for you than you even have for yourself,” Powell said.
“I hope that [moviegoers] are encouraged to know that they are special and that they have purpose, the same way that Mary did and Joseph did, and that we are all called to responsibilities that we feel like sometimes are way more than we can do and way more than are possible. And yet, if we will just step out in faith … God will meet us there,” he shared.
Powell also hopes people will continue to support “Journey to Bethlehem” in theaters, so it can have a good run.
“We need this movie to work so that we can continue to make movies like this,” he said.
“Journey to Bethlehem” is a sweet film, with the added bonus of introducing people to the Christmas story who may have never heard it before.
Find theaters and showtimes here.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.