Out of the Present, Into the Past

Jul 20, 2018 10:05 PM

Saturday, July 20 was Day Zero in the shooting schedule for a feature film with the working title, Polycarp: Destroyer of Gods, a historical drama based on the true story of an important but little-remembered martyr of the early Christian church. I would be playing the role of Polycarp. The previous day Friday I had walked into the Loveland, Ohio headquarters of Henline Productions and into the production zone, met some of the people I would be working closely with for the next 3+ weeks, and looked around the still unfinished sets. Executive Producer Jerry Henline’s first words to me when he saw my bearded face was, “You are Polycarp!"

Now on this day—Saturday—I took my first step from the present to the past, starting with wardrobe and makeup design, and then getting acquainted with the director, screenwriter, several of my fellow actors, and some of the dozens of people who would be working like ants behind the screen to make this story come to life. Before I knew it they would be making a permanent place in my heart and have an immeasurable impact on my life.

How I came to even be a part of this film, let alone the lead actor, is a story of the sovereign providence of God. I won’t rehash yesterday’s post. But for now I’ll just say that I never expected to do this, but feel inexpressibly privileged to have it as part of my life. An obscure church father, of whom I’d previously only read at most the two paragraphs one might find in a church history book, has become a mentor to me. As a theologian my thinking has been enriched through this experience, and as a Christian my heart has been fed. As an actor I have been blessed to play in only my second film the role of a lifetime. I have since gone on to play some other wonderful and memorable characters that are perhaps equal in challenge and quality, but I don’t see how I can ever have one that is better.

As we go along I’ll be sharing more about the persons involved here. Probably the most significant ones this day were the ones who would be directly involved in transporting me from present to past, specifically through wardrobe, makeup, and hair. Wardrobists Gabriel Isaac Everson, Levi Sherman, and Laura Morris decked me out in authentic, 2nd century garb. Makeup artist Mary Smit designed a face that will be looking back at me from the mirror in 20 years (or less), and stylist Ashton Ballinger David found a way to make my hair wave the same way every day for the next several weeks.

It took some getting used to, but I took my time and let it grow on me, and adjusted my own expectations of the character to what I could now see in the mirror and feel on my body.

All right, let’s do this. But wait—this is day Zero. But I’m now a day behind in the account. No problem. Sunday was a day off, and Day One was the 22nd. So tomorrow with be catchup day. Keep following. We’re going to make this work.