Hollywood and the Church

Recently, I had a unique opportunity to attend the red-carpet premiere of Beyond the Mask, a new PG-rated faith-and-family film now in theaters.
Believe me, you haven’t seen a faith film like this before, full of action–adventure set in the Colonial Period. With primary screenwriter Paul McCusker (of Focus on the Family’s
Adventures in Odyssey) and a solid redemptive theme, this movie is an easy one to recommend.
In this first of a three-part series, be affirmed and inspired by actor Adetokumboh “Ade” M'Cormack, whose story reflects just how essential it is to be connected with Christians and part of a local church.

It’s a challenge to be a Christian in Hollywood. That’s why Adetokumboh “Ade” M'Cormack says he desperately needs the fellowship and support of his church family.
Ade plays the role of an assassin named Joshua Brand in Beyond the Mask, a new faith and family movie that recently opened in theaters across the nation. His credits also include Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Battle: Los Angeles, and Lost. 

Ade was born in Sierra Leone. His father was a diplomat, and he lived in Nigeria, Kenya, and England before coming to the United States. He graduated magna cum laude with a BFA from the prestigious SUNY Purchase College Acting Conservatory in New York.

Ade’s grandfather was a Methodist minister in Sierra Leone. “My mother grew up in the church,” he says. “Mom trained me as a warrior for Christ—I am a Christian and will be for the rest of my life.”

Yet during the filming of Battle: Los Angeles, Ade lost his mother to cancer and nearly lost his faith. That’s when he learned firsthand that “you have to surround yourself with like-minded people.”  

How did he find such a group? “They found me—Christ helped them find me,” Ade says. “When I lost my mother, I was struggling with my faith. ‘Is God real? I lost my mother to cancer.’ I was literally contemplating leaving the church. Then co-stars came around me and asked if they could pray for me. We’d pray. They helped me get through a very dark time of my life.”

Today they remain best friends. “We live near one another, we go to church together,” says Ade. “It helps to see someone on a regular basis. . . . You can be yourself, you can be real." Ade attends Hollywood United Methodist Church and is also a member of the Little Brown Church in the Valley, “where Ronald Reagan got married.”

Speaking of a dark time in a person’s life, Ade says he can “absolutely” identify with Beyond the Mask’s redemptive theme. “Your past doesn’t define your present,” Ade says. “No matter who you are, what you’ve gone through, what you’ve been through, you can always make a change for the better.”

When it comes to faith-and-family films such as this, Ade says he would like pastors and church leaders to know that such moviemakers as this picture’s Burns Family Studios are aiming at more than mere entertainment but also planting seeds of the Gospel. “We’re all doing the same thing—spreading the Gospel,” he says.

And he has a final word of encouragement to pastors and church leaders, as well as Christians everywhere: “Get out, get your communities out, support this film which is about spreading the Gospel!”
Dean Ridings is communication director and a representative of Navigator Church Ministries. You can email him at dean.ridings@navigators.orgClick on the titles to read the additional two blogs in this series, “Who Do You Think You Are?” and "Quest for a Moral Compass."