Actor Dennis Quaid, one of the stars of the hit new faith-friendly movie, "I Can Only Imagine," said recently that making the movie reconnected him to his faith roots.
"I Can Only Imagine" has become a box office hit since it opened in theaters last week. The film is based on the song of the same name, which is the most played radio single in Christian music history.
By the end of the film's opening weekend, it moved into the No. 3 spot at the box office, "sending a message to the movie industry that it should not underestimate faith-based films," said entertainment writers at the Clarion-Ledger in Jackson, Mississippi.
The song was written by Bart Millard, the lead singer of the Christian band MercyMe, in response to his relationship with his troubled father. The message behind the song — and the film — is that anyone can be transformed by God’s love.
Quaid plays Millard’s father, Arthur, in the film. And his role in the film caused a spiritual transformation in his own life.
Prior to working on the film, Quaid had never heard about Bart Millard or MercyMe’s hit song. But after hearing the song, Quaid understood its appeal.
“I think the reason it’s such an incredible song is because every person who hears it, and hears the words, they relate to it personally for whatever reason,” he told Parade magazine. “At the same time, it’s also a song about hope and joy, and I think the song and the story and, hopefully, the movie, hits people in places that they don’t have words for.”
Playing the role inspired Quaid to finish a song — "On My Way to Heaven" — that he started writing for his mother 25 years ago. Quaid said in a YouTube video about the film that the song is a connection to his faith roots.
“I grew up in a Baptist church, went to Sunday school, and then I got baptized when I was 9 and made the decision the same day as my brother,” Quaid said. “My brother and I, Randy, were both baptized on the same day.”
While traveling the world in his late 20s, Quaid began questioning who God really is.
“The question I had as I went around the world was ‘Who is God?’ I became a seeker really … I read the Bible cover to cover," Quaid said. "For me, it’s Jesus. It’s the red words of Jesus. How simple it is. There really is redemption and that was the inspiration.
“What moved me about finishing it, really, was my character of Arthur, and how he found grace,” he added. “There was grace that came into his life. This is the beautiful thing about the ‘good news’ that Jesus was talking about.”
Quaid said he recently recorded the song and sent it to his mom.
Part of the lyrics to Quaid’s song are: “I’m on my way to heaven. Would you like to come along?”
In the following video, Quaid talks about playing Arthur and how the film inspired him to finish writing his own Christian song.
And here is MercyMe song that inspired it all.