Fireproof Your Marriage: An Interview With Erin Bethea

As I prepared for bed late Tuesday night, I gathered my pen and paper to prepare questions for Miss Erin Bethea, the lead female star in the upcoming film, ‘Fireproof’. Miss Erin stars along side famous actor Kirk Cameron, widely known as Mike Seaver from the 80’s sit-com ‘Growing Pains’. Many of you know that Kirk Cameron is a professing Christian who has a passion for leading souls to Christ, and who starred in the film, 'Left Behind'.

I prayed for God to lead me in preparing my questions for Miss Erin. As a woman who has experienced first hand what a marriage on the path of destruction is like, I wanted to be sure I asked questions that other women, like me, will want to know. On the other hand, I also wanted to know about her role as her service to the Lord in His ministry. The upcoming film, ‘Fireproof’, is a film that is designed to minister to marriages that are experiencing turbulent waters. My husband and I work every day with families that are on the brink of devastation, so we know what serving in a ministry like this entails. How is a film like the day to day ministry of counseling couples with wounded marriages? My husband and I counsel couples on a daily basis, hearing their burdens and prayers as they cry before the Lord. You may think that these actors don’t deal with this kind of burden on daily basis. Maybe you’re thinking that being in a role, as an actor, isn’t really a ministry. “It’s just a film”, you may say.

As I viewed each and every page of the Fireproof website, I can sense that these actors, cameramen, producers, and all the behind the scenes people spent countless hours praying over the production of this film. They have a team of prayer warriors who have spent hours upon hours on their knees before our heavenly Father, praying for the actors and for the future viewers of this film. I know that as my husband and I prepare to counsel a couple that has already ripped each other apart with harmful words and actions, we must rely upon the power of the Holy Spirit to guide us through talking to them. There have been times when these couples wondered what we know about a failing marriage. We have also been through tumultuous waters ourselves, as our marriage has been beaten upon the reef of life. Just as we relied upon God to guide us in bringing His Word to ours and other marriages, so did the production crew of ‘Fireproof’.

Before Miss Erin called me this morning, I prayed to the Lord. I prayed for God to guide our conversation and I wanted to be sure that I was not critical of Miss Erin or the film. I wanted to be sure that I did not say anything that would be discouraging, yet at the same time I had questions as a married lady who has suffered as the character Catherine does. Some of you may say, “Miss Erin is a single woman who has never faced the same tragedy that I have faced. She cannot possibly know what millions of other women are facing everyday.” We must remember, however, that this is the Lord’s film. And as such, I wanted to be sure to approach my conversation with Miss Erin with respect and not criticism. We are all a part of the Body of Christ and we all have a different purpose in God’s plan.

My phone rang precisely at 7:30 am and I knew it was Miss Erin. Was I nervous? Of course I was, I was about to speak with the lead actress of a major upcoming film! Not only that, but I was about to ask a series of questions that would not be easy to ask. As I answered the phone a sweet, cheerful voice greeted me. Miss Erin was happy to give a few minutes of her day to answer my questions. My first question was about her service to the Lord.

I asked Miss Erin, “Did you ever imagine that the Lord would use your acting ability in your service to Him in ministry?” I heard a cheerful response as she replied, “I hoped that He would! When God gives you a talent and ability, you should use it for the Lord.” Miss Erin explained to me what a blessing it has been to her that God would use something she is passionate about as a tool to further the Lord’s work.

The next thing I also wanted to know was what Miss Erin’s specific prayer request was for the film. Her response was that she hoped that as we see this film; “we would know that the characters are real. You either know Catherine, or you are Catherine.”
That’s one thing I did notice when watching the trailer of ‘Fireproof’. Catherine seems like a normal down to earth woman and I feel that this will appeal to the women viewers of the film. She’s not the star studded actress with a well known career, and I think that plays to her advantage. Women today don’t usually relate to the picture perfect actresses Hollywood offers us.

Then I wondered how she felt this film would help minister to the women seeing it. Her hope is that “..the film will help rekindle a struggling marriage and that a single woman can learn that love is more than just an emotion, that even during times when a relationship doesn’t have an emotional connection, love is a choice.” That is so true, as married women we do need to realize that marriage doesn’t always have ‘happy, feel-good days’ and during those times, we must love with conviction and character rather than with emotions.

The most difficult question for me to ask Miss Erin was this last one. This was the one question that I prayed would be seen as a positive one, when many others may see it as critical. Yet, it’s such an important question for many other women who are facing their marriage as a battlefield. “Millions of women who have faced struggles in their marriages, and numerous women who are in the midst of desperation to save a dieing relationship will see this film. These women will wonder what a single woman, who has no experience in marriage, will have to offer them. They may be skeptical of your performance. Do you have any emotional experiences that you could draw from in order to perform in such an emotional role?”

Miss Erin was humble in her response to my question as she replied, “Wow. That is a hard question. I brought everything I could to the role.” Miss Erin was honest in letting me know that her performance in this difficult role was accomplished “with my experience as an actress and not as a person who has experienced such a tragedy. The director helped me a lot. There are scenes where Catherine does a lot of crying and he helped me before each scene. He had me listen to songs that spoke to his heart when he was inspired to write this script. The music helped me to get into a character with such brokenness.”

While speaking with Miss Erin, I had no doubt that she spent hours in prayer over her role. As a counselor myself, although I do have the first hand knowledge and past experience of a wounded marriage, I still must reply upon the Lord to use me to help reach the heart of a woman in dire need. I could sense in her voice that she also has placed her trust in the Lord with Catherine’s character and not only upon her ability as an actress. We know that the famous film critics will indeed have their say in regards to these actors’ performances, yet in my own opinion the very best critique of this film will be coming from real women who are actually facing, or have faced, similar battles in their own marriages.

My husband and I will be seeing this film together, and we will be writing about ‘Fireproof’ again, but from our own point of view, as a couple who has already faced such a difficult time in our own lives. My last question was if the production would be providing some sort of leader’s guide for those who want to explore how to help wounded couples, using this film as a tool. Miss Erin assured me that there will be a book published, that will teach a couple how to do as Kirk Cameron’s character experimented with. His character, Caleb, is challenged by his father to take “The Love Dare”, which is a forty day challenge to save a marriage headed for destruction. This book is scheduled to be published alongside the release of the DVD of ‘Fireproof’. Please know that there is no magic in the number forty, yet the forty days provides a launching pad for new ways to improve upon a marriage.

Miss Erin shared with me that the main prayer request for this film right now, is that opening day will be successful. The opening day success will determine how many more theaters will open the doors for this film to be able to reach more marriages across the country. I have every confidence that the opening day success is not for the monetary gain of the actors or production crews, but rather for more people to be reached with the message that this film offers; the hope and redemptive power of the Cross for marriages today. After the difficult years my husband and I faced together, and the redemption the Lord provided for our marriage, we are pleased to see a film produced that will portray what we wish we could get into the hearts of couples in this world.

‘Fireproof’ will open in late September of 2008. You can view the trailer and other behind the scenes material at http://fireproofthemovie.com/. Please help spread the word by using their widgets and banners on your sites. You can help marriages today by helping to further expand this ministry of Christian films brought to you by Sherwood Baptist Church.



19 *click here* to dialogue with us:

{ Miss Jocelyn } at: May 14, 2008 at 7:50 PM said...

Wow, that is too cool. I can't believe that. :) I watched the trailer today. Looks AWESOME. I wanna see it.

{ Nikowa } at: May 15, 2008 at 4:32 AM said...

I, too, watched the trailer for the first time & I'm definitely going to see it!!! It looks great!

{ Jacque } at: May 15, 2008 at 1:33 PM said...

This movie looks so very good. I hope Matt and I can go see it on opening day!
I put a widget on my sidebar immediately, and I am going to link this interview, definitely!

Thank you!
HUGS!

{ Beloved MaMa } at: May 15, 2008 at 6:54 PM said...

Wow! Thanks for sharing this inspiring interview!!! Your blog always blesses me... What an awesome job you are doing for the blogosphere!

{ Martha } at: May 15, 2008 at 10:21 PM said...

Oh my goodness, how exciting! What a great interview :) I can't wait to watch this movie with my Husband in September!!

Ginger at: May 21, 2008 at 5:57 PM said...

Wonderful interview, thank you for taking the time to share what is on your heart in regards to this film and wounded marriages. Prayerfully this movie will open up doors to hearts that have long been closed.

Anonymous at: June 16, 2008 at 4:56 AM said...

I saw the movie at the SBC Annual meeting in Indianapolis last week. I was very touched by it. My husband has been a firefighter as long as I've known him and it was very believable in that aspect. I've also seen so many marriages end. We were asked to rate the movie and my friend gave it a 20 out of 10. Take everyone you know!

Judy at: August 23, 2008 at 9:12 AM said...

I can't wait to see this movie and hope that our church can use it as an outreach not only for married couples but firefighter's as well.
Judy

{ Jen } at: August 26, 2008 at 8:31 PM said...

I know this movie is going to be miraculous to so many marriages. I am believing God will use it as a tool to change lives for his glory! I have the video on my sidebar. Great Interview...thanks SisLisa


Aunt Jen

Anonymous at: September 27, 2008 at 7:49 AM said...

My husband and I saw "Fireproof" last night and took about fifteen other people with us including one of our daughters and her fiance and our seventeen year old son and his girlfriend. Every last person had nothing but wonderful things to say about it. From the teens (there were 6)to the young adults (there were 4 of them) to the married adults (there were seven of us), we were all touched by it. God is doing a great work thru this ministry. I was pleasantly by the fact that they shared so much of the gospel so openly on the big screen. This is definitely a tool that can be used to help heal wounded marriages. May God bless this film a 1,000 times over.

Anonymous at: October 5, 2008 at 10:06 PM said...

The movie is incredibly well written and acted, and the cinematography is superb. I couldn't get over the overall quality of the film. If this wasn't a Christian film, Hollywood would be falling all over themselves giving kudos to this movie. I saw the movie with my wife, then took a 20 yr old nephew to see it again tonight. I think this movie could also have a ministry to young adults who are scared about marriage, seeing all the failing marriages around them. Take your spouse, or take a young person and have a conversation, like I just did..... and enjoy the movie - it's funny, moving, and well-done!

Anonymous at: October 26, 2008 at 7:52 PM said...

I agree with all the others who've posted. This movie is awesome...praise God He's raised up such gifted servants to create something like this for His glory. And while Kirk Cameron, Erin Bethea, etc. are outstanding, the real "star" of this film is Jesus Christ. I've referred this film to over fifty family and friends. One just emailed me the other day...she said it was the best film she's seen all year. She and her husband...after seeing the film...have been inspired to renew their vows to each other.

{ Sisterlisa } at: October 26, 2008 at 8:25 PM said...

awwww what a sweet testimony. Thank you for telling us this!

{ hooperll } at: November 1, 2008 at 4:29 AM said...

Fireproof had a great message. Unfortunately, so often times the couples that need it don't go out and see such a movie. This movie was extremely difficult for me because I was Catherine for over 12 years. We went to counseling for years and not until the bi-polar disorder got so bad and she threateneed my life, did I realize that I had to leave her. I've heard people criticize Catherine for being so cold towards Caleb, but the movie doesn't show the abuse that she took for the seven or so prior years to bring her to that point of just not caring anymore. God bless Kirk Cameron for making these movies and not breaking under the criticism of Hollywood for being a Christian.

Anonymous at: November 8, 2008 at 9:32 PM said...

My husband and I saw the film tonight - we both loved it and were very touched. The story is very moving, and we were impressed that they took on such a sensitive issue (pornography). There is a lot of humor, which we really enjoyed, too. We had never been in a secular movie theater where we heard "Amen" being said by the audience throughout the movie! Following the film, we went to Walmart, and had the opportunity to recommend it to our cashier.

Carol at: February 12, 2009 at 5:29 AM said...

What a God inspired movie. Whether you have been married for five years or 45 years, this film speaks to all of us. And whether we consider our marriage to be good or one that is in trouble, we can all learn something from this film and apply it, in a positive way, to our own situation. A must see film for all couples, married and planning to marry.

Anonymous at: April 13, 2009 at 9:18 PM said...

HOLA!!! APENAS ACABO DE VER LA PELICULA AHORA, SON LAS 11:00 PM.(DE LA NOCHE), HOY LUNES 13 DE ABRIL DEL 2009;SOY MEXICANO (DEL ESTADO DE TABASCO)DE 42 AÑOS DIVORCIADO; MI NOMBRE ES ALFREDO GARCIA SASTRE Y TENGO UNA HIJA DE 16 AÑOS Y UN HIJO DE 14, EL VIVE CONMIGO; Y QUIERO DECIRLES QUE ESA PELICULA ME IMPACTO TANTO, QUE LLORE VIENDO TODA LA PELICULA, A QUIEN SEA, GRACIAS!!! QUE DIOS LE BENDIGA.BENDITOS SEAN QUIENES HICIERON ESTA HERMOSA PELICULA...¡GRACIAS!!!

Anonymous at: April 13, 2009 at 9:19 PM said...

HOLA ME FALTO DECIR QUE SOLO HABLO ESPAÑOL. ATTE: ALFREDO GARCIA SASTRE.

{ Sisterlisa } at: April 14, 2009 at 8:01 AM said...

Gracias Alfredo. Yo sabía que un francés de una vez por lo que entiende lo que dice. Necesita el traductor al español Inglés a comentar con usted. Que el Señor Jesucristo señalar que cierre. Dios te ama.

Hermana Lisa

In English:
Thank you Alfredo. I knew a it of French once so I understood what you said. Needed the English to Spanish translator to comment back to you. May the Lord Jesus Christ draw you close. God loves you.

Sister Lisa

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