As “Jesus Revolution” continues to make a splash at the box office, raking in nearly $40 million, producer Kevin Downes is speaking out about his team’s reliance on prayer and the Lord.
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The filmmaker and actor described feeling filled with peace and experiencing a calmness about two weeks before “Jesus Revolution” was released, totally turning the project over to God.
“I felt that peace in my heart and … I remember praying, ‘Lord, just take this film. It is now yours. Whatever happens, happens,'” Downes recently told CBN’s “Faith vs. Culture.” “And that was two weeks before the release.”
Downes also quipped about the timing of the Asbury revival, noting some have pondered whether he and the team behind “Jesus Revolution” somehow planned or had involvement in the spectacular events that saw thousands flock to college campuses to coincide with the film’s release.
“What’s funny is — people think that we had something to do with it,” he said of Asbury. “We had nothing to do [with it]. Please, people, we’re not that smart.”
Watch Downes reveal some of the powerful, on-set “Jesus Revolution” moments:
The irony, of course, with the timing of recent revivals is that “Jesus Revolution” depicts events surrounding the Jesus movement of the late 1960s and 1970s — a time of spiritual transformation when young people, tired and desperate from a challenging culture, turned to Christ in droves.
The movie tells Harvest Crusade founder Greg Laurie’s salvation story and the journey of the late Calvary Chapel architect Chuck Smith.
Just as revival broke out on college campuses like Asbury last month, so did excitement over “Jesus Revolution” — but far from mere elation, lives and hearts are being changed due to the film.
“We’re seeing videos of revival going on in movie theaters,” Downes said. “We’re seeing … outbursts of prayer and worship happening outside of the theater or inside the auditorium after the film. And it’s just so encouraging because, literally, that was our heart.”
The producer said the team behind the film hoped “Jesus Revolution” would have this sort of transformative impact, but had absolutely no idea it would come to fruition in such a monumental way.
Still, Downes said he knew something was special about “Jesus Revolution” even as they were on set, as he said the team “really felt [God’s] presence throughout the making of the film.”
“There was just miracle after miracle of things that shouldn’t have happened the way they happened,” Downes said. “And God continued to just kind of guide the path of the film.”
The baptism scenes in the movie garnered much attention and were just one area in which God’s hand was evident. Downes said it was important for the team to film the baptisms at Pirates Cove, where Smith and Laurie have real-life baptism history.
The team behind the film bought wetsuits and planned for a challenging filming experience due to the oft-times colder March weather, but on the day of shooting, it was 95 degrees on the beach.
With extras and actors getting into the water without a problem, something else happened during the shooting. An elated Jonathan Roumie, who plays Lonnie Frisbee, reported he was helping offer real-life baptisms of actors after reciting the sinner’s prayer with them.
“[Jonathan] goes, ‘You’ll never believe what happened,'” Downes said. “And I’m like, ‘What?’ And he goes, ‘I just baptized people for real.'”
Laurie, too, was in the water baptizing people in the spontaneous and beautiful on-set moment.
Director Jon Erwin also told CBN’s Faithwire in a previous interview he, too, felt something different while making “Jesus Revolution” and that his belief God is at work through the film has been carried out post-release as he’s heard incredible stories of radical life change and conversion.
“We felt it on set when we were doing the baptisms,” he said. “I’ve never felt that kind of spiritual power on a day of filming ever in my life, and I think it bleeds through the screen. I think you feel it in the movie.”
Watch Erwin discuss the powerful impact of “Jesus Revolution.”