Kingdom Story Company and Lionsgate announced today that Jim Gaffigan and Joel Courtney will star in the lead roles of Jesus Revolution (buy at the book at Amazon), a film inspired by the true story of a national spiritual awakening in the early 1970s and its origins within a community of teenaged hippies in Southern California.
In the film, Joel Courtney will play Greg Laurie, a counterculture teen in the late 1960s seeking meaning and purpose, who eventually joined the Jesus Revolution in Southern California and went on to start Harvest Christian Fellowship, one of the largest congregations in America.
Jim Gaffigan will play Chuck Smith, the real-life pastor of Calvary Chapel in Costa Mesa, who served as a mentor to Greg Laurie. Chuck famously opened his church to a generation of hippies and seekers, helping to launch the last great spiritual revival in America.
Written by Jon Erwin and Jon Gunn, Jesus Revolution will be directed by Jon Gunn (The Case for Christ, Like Dandelion Dust) and produced by Kevin Downes and the Erwin Brothers. Jerilyn Esquibel is co-producing for Kingdom Story Company.
“I love this era,” said Gunn. “The defiant search for truth, the fight against oppression, the hope for a better future in the midst of social turmoil. In that way, it’s not unlike our world today. And I couldn’t be more excited to work with Jim and Joel to tell this honest, captivating story that will serve as a powerful reminder that radical love really can change the world.”
“This is a distinctly American story of rebirth,” said Gaffigan. “The late 1960s and early 1970s were a time when spirituality was on the wane, leaving a lot of people searching for answers in other places. I’m excited to play a pastor who helped make a home for the people most desperate for those answers and built a congregation – a coming together of people – to make something greater than themselves.”
“When I read the script, I was very drawn to the idea of portraying a man who is completely lost within himself and seeks to find a path and purpose during a time of national turmoil,” said Courtney.
Added the Erwin Brothers: “This is a fascinating true story about how young people gravitated towards a spiritual movement that erupted during a time that our country was being torn apart and couldn’t be more divided. Its themes are just as timely and topical today as they were in the late ’60s.”
Jim Gaffigan is a five-time Grammy nominated comedian, actor, writer, producer, two-time New York Times best-selling author, two-time Emmy-winning top touring performer, and multi-platinum-selling recording artist. He is known around the world for his unique brand of humor, which largely revolves around his observations on life.
In addition to his eponymous television series, standup specials, and tours, his many recent film credits include Tesla, Troop Zero, American Dreamer, Them That Follow, Light From Light, Super Troopers 2, and Chappaquiddick, among many others. His popular online shows, Dinner With the Gaffigans and Let’s Get Cookin’, are currently streaming on YouTube.
Joel Courtney rose to fame as the star of J.J. Abrams’ Super 8. He currently stars in the Netflix Original Film franchise The Kissing Booth, which will release its second film on July 24. His recent feature film credits include Assimilate, F*&% the Prom, The River Thief, and Dead Eleanor, among many other films.