The new faith based film from the Kendrick Brothers (Alex and Stephen), called War Room, released to cinemas last week, and I had the privellege of interviewing the lead actor T.C. Stallings, recognised for his roles in films such as Jackson’s Run, Courageous and Rumors Of Wars. In this email interview, we discussed the themes and take away messages from the film, what is next for TC in 2015, and what inspires him to share the love of Jesus everyday in the roles he portrays in various films! Check out the interview below.
- What has been your experience working with Alex and Stephen Kendrick in War Room? What do you want moviegoers to gain from watching the movie?
My experience was what I expected it to be from working with them before…classic Kendrick brother leadership. Kind, calm when things get a little hectic, and praying through EVERY detail. I am always refreshed in my spirit after working with these two. We have become great friends of the years since “Courageous”, so it is always a pleasure to connect with them and do the Lord’s work together.
I hope that moviegoers are INSPIRED to obey God’s command for us to seek him in prayer in all things. Prayer is the ULTIMATE UNIFIER, because it’s ageless, genderless, colorless…doesn’t have a race, it doesn’t have a nationality. We can all pray, and we can all do it TOGETHER. I hope believers around the world can unify in prayer.
- You play Tony in War Room, and from what I’ve seen, he is a very prideful person when we see him first. Over the course of the movie his heart softens and God does work in him. What has been the highlight of playing Tony, and is there anything from the character of Tony that has influenced you in your own spiritual life of late?
The highlight for me was the opportunity to take on SO MANY emotions that come with playing this character. Tony Jordan shows an incredible arc of emotions, and in order to make this character believable, I knew I would have to take the audience on a roller coaster for the whole 2 hours. You hate Tony at first, then the pendulum swings and by the end, you love the guy. I loved the challenge of taking people on that ride.
In my own life, by playing Tony Jordan, I was reminded that I used to be like him from a professional standpoint. If you replace pharmaceutical sales with “football”, then you have me in real life several years ago. At one point, making it to the NFL was all I cared about. I was prideful, and would not let anyone or anything take my focus from it. This is a scary way to live if even the Lord can’t get your attention because you are so locked in on something else. So I was excited to play a character that eventually learned how to properly channel his ambitions, as this can be difficult in life.
- You recently starred in Courageous, another Alex and Stephen Kendrick led movie in 2011, and even before that when you guest-starred on Animal Planet. Previously you were a professional footballer for the Arena Football League, Canadian Football League and NFL Europe. How has acting been different (or maybe even similar) to playing football as a career? What has been the challenges and joys of such a unique career change?
Football is not just a game, it is also a form of entertainment for the fans. Well, because I do love to entertain, transitioning to acting was still exciting for me because the entertainment factor was still present (and now an even GREATER aspect of what I do than football). They are more similar than people realize. Football goes by a “playbook”, and acting goes by a “script”, and so on. I get hit and tackled a lot LESS when doing films though J. The challenge for several years was realizing that I had to stop playing the game of football. I REALLY LOVED playing.
- The themes of War Room are quite pivotal, as we see a family confronted with issues and to see them combat it through prayer and fighting not with each other but against the devil is something that is quite sobering and impactful for me as I saw it. How has being in the movie impacted yourself, and what do you hope would be the take-home message for anyone who sees the movie, either at the cinemas or on DVD later on during the year?
I personally was impacted by something that I hope does not get lost in the film’s point: The “Wall of Remembrance”. CELEBRATING and documenting answered prayers may be just important as the prayer itself. There is nothing like answered prayer! God hears us, and then answers! Many times we take this great exchange of love from the Lord for granted, and I have been guilty of that. But seeing the wall of remembrance in the film was a reminder to me that I must spend just as much time counting my blessings and answered prayers as I do praying.
- While certainly not a Hollywood movie in terms of production, what I did gather from watching the movie was the professionalism of the movie quality-wise, and the care and the post-production Alex and Stephen and the team put into making a poignant finishing product. How has it been working with Alex and Stephen and the rest of the team throughout the filming process? If there is one thing you can take away from the process and the interactions with both Alex and Stephen, what would it be?
This one is easy to answer. PRAY about every aspect of the process. If one believes that God has told them to do something, then it should also be believed that He has a plan on how to execute that “something”. Alex and Stephen have learned to truly respect this part of the process, so in essence, the Holy Spirit leads in all areas. That is the best way to do anything that God has called you to do—let his Spirit be the writer, director, actor, producer, etc.
- It is quite interesting to hear various Christian music songs slotted strategically throughout the movie, and hopefully that tactic would encourage more movie-goers to listen to and be actively seeking music that is more positive rather than what is on mainstream radio currently. What has been in your iTunes music playlist at the moment? Has there been a song, or album that has ministered to you throughout your time creating War Room? What do you think about the theme song for the movie- Steven Curtis Chapman’s ‘Warrior’?
I think “Warrior” is great and it fits the film perfectly. My favorite songs right now on my playlist come from Dorinda Clark Cole, Skillet, Jamie Grace, Kirk Franklin, Mac Powell, Marvin Sapp—my goodness I could go on and on as I have left out so many people. I have so many worship songs that power me through the day. I also love rappers Lecrae, Trip Lee, and Tedashi. My favorite song at the moment is “Crazy Faith” by John Waller. MY GOODNESS. This song could be the theme song to the last four years of my life! Every word of it.
- What is next for TC Stallings throughout the rest of 2015 and into 2016? What has God been doing in your life of late and where do you believe He is leading you, both career and personal-wise, as you continue to walk alongside Him in every area of your life?
I absolutely will continue to do the same thing in the area of Christ-following, that’s for sure. Waking up, reading scripture, worshipping, and having bible study with my wife and two kids EVERY SINGLE DAY will always remain on my daily calendar. As for more movie and TV projects, I have to see what God says. It very exciting. I am however in the final stages of working on a new devotional that focuses on seeking God in prayer for his guidance in pursuing HIS purpose for our lives. I have signed with Broadstreet Publishers, and I am very excited about it. Look for it near the end of the year or beginning of next year. There is no greater accomplishment than fulfilling your God-given purpose in life. I pray that my new devotional—which includes my testimony concerning my own journey of purpose—will inspire many people around the world.
- If there is anyone that wants to pursue acting as their career (or maybe even football), what advice would you give them?
PRAY. PRAY SPECIFICALLY AND HONESTLY.
The very first thing is to validate it with God to see if he is calling you to it. Get clarity with God as to whether He purposed you to chase this goal. That answer dictates the next move. He will open doors to chase, or He will shut the door before you can even start running through it. No matter what, you must PRAY BEFORE YOU PURSUE. Psalms 139:16 says that God “laid out each moment of your life before you ever lived a day”. Due to this, you have to pray before you pursue anything, to keep from chasing your dream in place of God’s plan. Do this, and if he says YES, then your pursuit will be a BLESSED one, and He will give you all the tools you need to accomplish your goals—because your goals match HIS GOALS.
- Is there any Bible Verse, song or even a sermon that you have listened to, read or watched recently that has impacted you not only in your faith but in the encouragement of others recently?
These are verses that constantly impact me and why:
*PSALMS 139:16—a declaration that God made me for a reason, and made me with a plan. I don’t guess my way through life—I can simply pray my way through it as I live out what God planned for me before I was born.
*DANIEL 12:3—This is the type of “star” I strive to be, and the way I try to “shine”!
*Matthew 7:21—This is always the motivation for me to seek God’s will, because NO OTHER “plan” or “pursuit” will please Him.
*John 14:13-14—Because this delivers a promise that I will always be fully resourced when it come to needing things to accomplish my purpose. ALWAYS.
Matthew 5:16—A reminder that what I do matters, because while I can’t create salvation with me deeds, I do have the ability to help bring God the GLORY that he so deserves.
I regularly remind myself to stay focused on my purpose by reviewing these scriptures and others like them.
- Who has been your role model growing up? Is there any actor currently that has influenced you in your craft? If there is any actor, either within the Christian movie circle or Hollywood, that you would like to work with someday, who would it be?
If I had to name a role model, I’d have to go with Francis Chan. I love this guy. I will not try and describe why because it would require a long story of how I even came to know who he was…but just know, God led me to his books and sermons at a time when I thought being a TRUE Christian was too hard. His life and approach to scripture made me understand the simplicity of having a childlike faith, a determined attitude towards scripture and prayer, and the humility to let the Holy Spirit have a FULL takeover of my life. Francis Chan’s relationship with Jesus inspired me to improve my own. I am now a guy that lives by one simple rule: Grab the bible, pray, read it, and DO IT…by the power of the Holy Spirit, out of love and fear of God, and obedience to Jesus. That’s a Christ follower. That’s me now. That’s what I saw in Francis. That’s what I hear in his messages. That’s what I read in his books. Love that guy. Absolutely LOVE that guy.
- Favorite thing to do during your downtime? Watch any movies or watch any TV shows religiously? Favorite fast food (or do you prefer cooking at home over eating out)?
Well, I love going to amusement parks and riding roller coaster! I love going to the movies with my family! I also love bowling. I love playing “4-player” video games with my wife and two kids (we will play “Ultimate Alliance” and not stop until we complete the game together!) I like cooking at home 75% of the time, but a GOOD PIZZA is always in order when I can find one!
- Anything that you would like to add for this interview? Where can we connect with you on social media?
I can be reached:
FOR SPEAKING: TC@TCSTALLINGS.COM
WEBSITE: WWW.TCSTALLINGS.COM (NEW SITE COMING SOON!)
IMDB: TC STALLINGS (YOU CAN KEEP UP WITH MY PROJECTS THIS WAY)
War Room is showing in cinemas now! Be sure to check it out, and you can read our review of the movie when it comes online in a couple of days! Be sure to let us know what you think of the review and the movie!