There has been a resurgence of faith-based films as of late that have done remarkably well at the box office. On radio this morning, actor Ray Liotta – of Goodfellas and Field of Dreams fame – joined Glenn to discuss his latest film, The Identical. The fictional premise of the film is loosely based on the life of Elvis Presley and what would have happened if his twin brother had survived.
As reports have indicated, the 2014 summer box office season is largely being considered a failure. The numbers show this is the worst summer in eight years for Hollywood, as blockbusters like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Guardians of the Galaxy did not live up to expectation. Liotta had a theory as to why this summer was such a struggle.
“It’s the same thing over and over again. There’s just only so many ways to put a superhero. They bottle such a formula that I think people just get tired of it.”
With that in mind, Liotta is hopeful alternative types of film – like the more faith-based The Identical – can perform well enough for Hollywood studios to take notice.
“That’s why I hope this kicks in. Faith-based movies are the movies people are responding too,” he said. “I guess because of how crazy it is out there. You need something to hold onto to get you through it and kind of rationalize why it’s happening. So that’s… my theory on why these faith-based movies are working.”
The Identical is set during the Great Depression. A couple gives birth to twins, and, because of the economic climate, decide to give one of the boys up for adoption. Liotta plays the role of a pastor who adopts the child.
“I’m the pastor… and we take the kid,” Liotta explained. “And their kid grows up to be this huge rock ‘n’ roll guy. My guy is musically oriented. But because I’m a preacher, I want him to go into the family business… As far as I’m concerned, there’s no higher calling than spreading the Word of God.”
While Liotta admitted he does not watch the movies he stars in, he does consider this film to be the work he is most proud of because of the way he prepared for the role.
“I loved preaching. I’m more spiritual than religious, so I did a lot of homework. I watched a lot of Billy Graham from the beginning to the end,” Liotta said. I never really read the Bible, so I got into that. The Old Testament scared me. [God] had some things to say. He didn’t like stuff.”
“This is a beautiful sweet movie. It really is. The performances are really are top-notch, and I think people will respond to it,” he continued. “It doesn’t hit you over the head with the faith-based issues, although they’re definitely there. It’s also surrounded by music and [actor Blake Rayne’s] voice is just unbelievable. He’s great.”
The Identical hits theaters nationwide on Friday, September 5.