If you hear actor Stephen Baldwin tell it, this is a blossoming time for movies with themes of faith.
Easy for him to say, of course. Baldwin, one of the four acting Baldwin brothers, was an invitee to the March 26 red-carpet preview in New York of “Noah,” one of those films.
“That’s the biggest reason why I’m here. I am very curious to see Darren and Russell’s interpretation,” Baldwin said, referencing Russell Crowe, who plays Noah, and Darren Aronofsky, who directed the film as well as serving as co-writer and co-producer.
Baldwin had gotten some “intel” from friends who had already seen “Noah,” and “I am willing to bet that this is going to be an amazing piece of entertainment,” he said. “So long as the film does not depict anything that goes completely against the Bible, I think it’s a great opportunity” to show that movies with faith themes can be successful, he added.
Baldwin, a Long Island native who was baptized a Catholic but who became a born-again Christian shortly after the 9/11 terror attacks, acknowledged that there’s “room for interpretation” by filmmakers. Depending on viewers’ familiarity with the Bible or other pictures, they might see action in “Noah” that reminds them of Abraham and Isaac, or Jesus and Judas — or even Disney’s treatment of “Swiss Family Robinson.”
“That’s a powerful issue right now: Christians and their interpretation of society and culture and this and that,” Baldwin said. “I think Christians ought to support it,” he added of the movie. Darren Aronofsky’s brilliant, Russell Crowe is great, it’s the story of Noah from the Bible, and whenever you get into these types of conversations, I think it’s interesting.” For instance, he noted, the only name in “Noah” used for God is “The Creator.” “Hey, maybe it’s the Lord’s will, brother, that this can be used for some special reason.”
And not just “Noah.” Baldwin saw the Jesus biopic “Son of God,” which was released a month earlier. “I think ‘Son of God’ was amazing. Really, really special,” he said. Reality-show kingpin Mark Burnett, who co-produced “Son of God” with his actress wife, Roma Downey, “is a buddy of mine. I’ve done ‘Celebrity Apprentice’ with him twice.”
Nor is Baldwin’s praise restricted to wide-release films. “‘God’s Not Dead,’ I think we gotta see that one,” he added. “That just came out. It did very well in limited screens. So right now, Christian content and Christian movies are doing very well.”
Baldwin said about 80 percent of his own acting work is in faith-themed films. Due out soon is “I’m in Love With a Church Girl,” starring and produced by rapper Ja Rule, aka Jeff Atkins. He’s wrapped filming on Long Island on another film, “Tapestry,” which co-stars Tina Louise (“Gilligan’s Island”) and Burt Young (the “Rocky” films). In April, he’ll be Instanbul, Turkey, acting in what he called “a psychological thriller … with a Christian theme.”