By Sasha Bogursky
NEW YORK – Known for his leading roles
in "Lord of the Rings," the "Goonies" and "Rudy," actor Sean Astin's
approach to choosing his next movie role is similar to his take on
religion; he doesn't want to be confined to one group.
"I guess I never wanted to declare a team because I wouldn't have
wanted any of the other teams to invite me to their party," Astin told
FOX411. "I'm a wildcard, they can't figure me out."
Astin, who is "technically Lutheran" after he, his wife and three
daughters were baptized in the same church, never thought about defining
his faith until he was asked in a live interview to share his religious
"I thought, 'Huh, I guess I have to have an answer'," he recalled. "I
consider myself a Christian. I don't know if I'm a very good one but
I'm praying the forgiveness thing is legit."
While Astin's answer is confident now, his road to faith was a
winding road. Raised by his mother, actress Patty Duke, and father, "The
Addams Family's" John Astin, in what he describes as a secular home,
Astin was exposed to a variety of religions before coming to his own
"My mother was a Catholic who had been kicked out of the church at
one time and she put me in Catholic school in sixth to eighth grades and
I wanted to become a Catholic then," he said. "But my father, who was
an atheist because his parents were a scientist and school teacher,
later discovered Buddhism."
In addition to his exposure to Catholicism and Buddhism, Astin's
oldest brother "went to India, shaved his head and lived on an ashram
and became Hindu."
In 2003, Astin decided to "embrace Christianity" and develop his own "relationship and understanding with God."
"I figure since I went to Catholic school for three years and my mom
did some really good Catholic type work, and since I starred in 'Rudy'
and I was in 'Lord of the Rings,' I figure if I get to [heaven] and St.
Peter is taking numbers, I might have to wait a little while, but I'll
probably get let through."
Astin stands strong in his faith today and currently star alongside
“Grey’s Anatomy’s” Sarah Drew in the faith-based “Moms Night Out.”
But Astin didn’t say yes to a role in his new film because of its
Christian message; the actor chooses roles with artistic value.
“I don’t think my faith has had a conscious part in decisions in
terms of what movies I make,” he said. “I won’t do something if I feel
it has zero moral redemption. I answer to a truly higher power than I’m
capable of understanding and I don’t go by what other people would
determine as a legitimate Christian offering or not.”
After appearing in his second Christian-focused film, Astin laughs at
the fact that he might now be labeled as a Christian filmmaker despite
having been in many more mainstream movies.
“What's funny is the idea that I might become a paragon of Christian
filmmaking because I've done two Christian films,” he said. “I'm just
not going to not make films because Christians are making them if
they’re good films.”
“Hollywood is antagonistic to Christian films because of forces that
are hard to describe, but Christians have made things difficult for
themselves by the way they approach the outside community,” he
Astin said people need to forget about those “who grab the
microphones and yell the loudest.” The fact is, people are hungry for
family-friendly, faith-based entertainment and studios are finally
starting to listen.
“The Christian ground game is presently revolutionizing marketing in
filmmaking,” he explained.
“It's not a subtle thing, and it's a great
thing and it's not owned by the Christians. They are just getting there
first because they’re tired of not being able to get their product into a
No matter your faith, Astin hopes his new movie will allow the audience to stop, breathe and reflect for a minute.
“This sweet premise of moms, whose evening has gone bad and dads who
are struggling to kind of make things go right, this movie chooses to
let it sink at certain moments and let us reflect for a minute.”
Faith & Fame is
a regular column exploring how a strong belief system helps some
performers navigate the pitfalls of the entertainment industry.