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(RNS) — One night under a big tent at Billy Graham’s legendary 1949 Los Angeles crusade, his altar-call invitation was heard by ex-POW Louis Zamperini.
The rest — including the evangelist’s rise to fame and the former Olympian’s Christian conversion — is history. With the release Friday (Sept. 14) of “Unbroken: Path to Redemption,” history is repeating itself. Graham’s grandson, William Franklin Graham IV — known as Will — is featured as his grandfather in the climactic scenes with Zamperini in the “Canvas Cathedral.”
Graham - Southern - Baptist - Minister - Religion
Will Graham, an ordained Southern Baptist minister, spoke to Religion News Service about his role in the sequel to the 2014 movie “Unbroken,” his memories of his grandfather and how their approaches to crusades differ.
The interview has been edited for length and clarity.
Grandfather - Sequel
What was it like to portray your late grandfather in the sequel to “Unbroken”?
Playing my grandfather as Billy Graham in a movie — that was a little bit daunting. And it wasn’t because I was playing my grandfather. It was because I was doing it on a movie set. I’m a preacher. I’m his grandson. And so, in a sense, I carry on his legacy. I carry on what he’s taught me on an everyday basis. That doesn’t bother me. But trying to do it on a movie set is different. When I preach, there may be something I mispronounce or I slurred my words. But then on a movie set, the director says “Stop, Will. That was horrible. Do it again.” (Laughs) And so I had to get used to having a director being my boss from the pulpit. So, it was a great thing — one I’ll cherish, but it was a greater honor, not just to play my grandfather but to be in the bigger story of Louis Zamperini in the movie, “Unbroken:...
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