Recently, The Layman’s Kathy Larson spoke with Masey McLain, the actress who played Rachel in the movie I Am Not Ashamed. The interview follows:
KL: How did you get involved with the film?
Really just an audition. I started acting when I was a freshman in high school. Then I got an agent for TV and film. I had an audition for this film about 2 years ago. You know sometimes, when God calls you to something, it doesn’t happen right away. It takes time and He uses that time to prepare you for it. The audition process went on for about a year and it was just a roller coaster. Everything said to me that I didn’t get the role, for about a year. And I really had to just surrender it to God. Then, I was having my quiet time one day and I distinctly heard God say, “I’m going to fight for you.” I remember it vividly.
I was really drawn to this film and to Rachel as a character. I had learned about Columbine in school growing up, but it wasn’t really anything I ever really thought about. But learning about Rachel, hearing her story… I was amazed by the impact this one girl made. She died 17 years ago and her life is still impacting people. It’s incredible that one person can have that kind of ripple effect.
KL: So, through playing Rachel and learning her story, did she have any kind of impact on you?
Oh, in so many things. Before I really learned about Rachel and her story, I thought she was just this perfect Christian girl. She was a martyr for Christ, so I thought she was this squeaky clean, sweet little girl. But the more I got to dig through her journals, and see who she really was… She was a real person. She struggled and she really was just trying to figure it out. It was so relatable and encouraging. She didn’t have it all together and God used her in such an incredible way. That’s what it’s about. We’re all trying to figure out, what does it look like to follow Jesus, no matter how much it costs? And to be His hands and feet to people in the world around us?
KL: How do you hope this film impacts people?
This film hits people in different ways. It impacts different people in different ways. There are countless stories we constantly have flooding in from people who have seen the movie and found a new hope in Jesus. People who are cutting, people who were thinking about suicide, people who accepted Jesus.
My hope is that they realize that they have so much purpose. That they’ve been given a purpose and to live in that purpose. That they were created so specifically and loved so much by God, in a way that no other love can compare, and there is hope in Jesus. Bad things are always going to happen, we’re all going to die one day, the hope we do have is in Jesus. And we don’t just have hope in our future after death, we have a purpose here in our lives now. Rachel was at the point of knowing that. She wouldn’t deny Jesus because she knew that He was her hope and her everything, and she didn’t have anything in this life to fear.
KL: Can you tell us a little about your faith journey? Are there are any ways that your story and Rachel’s story are similar?
I was saved when I was 7 years old and really started walking with God in high school. Just like Rachel, I started journaling. I had a prayer journal, where I poured out my heart to God. I found that to be so intimate with Him and I still love to do it all the time. So, I found so much connection with Rachel in reading her prayer journals.
My senior year was a really lonely year and in a way, I lost all my friends too, just like Rachel did. I ended up homeschooling that year. For some reason, I guess, the Lord really wanted me alone with Him for that time. God became my best friend that year. Rachel wrote the same thing in her journal about the time when she lost all of her friends – that God became her best friend. She said, “It needed to be just us.” It was extremely painful not having anyone to walk with, but that loneliness led to a sweet place with Him. Where it was just me and God. For me, that’s where Jesus becomes your true love. I think that’s what happened to Rachel. He was all she had. He satisfied the deepest parts of her soul. Even if she lost everything and everyone, she knew He was worth it.
KL: What do you think about the Christian film industry and its impact on our culture?
This is the first Christian film I’ve done. Part of me has always been wary about it because it’s so… I do think God uses anything He wants to and He has used many of these films in an incredible way. But, if a film isn’t done with the same level of artistic excellence as Hollywood films, then I don’t think it represents God well. I don’t think it attracts unbelievers to Him. So, I’ve always been kind of wary of even auditioning for Christian films.
But when I got this audition, it was golden. I felt like it was real. It talks about Jesus and has that hope in it. But it does it in a good way, in a real way. And a lot of that is credited to the director, Brian Baugh. He’s really talented. Brian found that incredibly special and needed balance of presenting truth and hope and who God was in Rachel’s life and being real. Not being afraid to go to those places of wrongness and even sin. Because that shows the need for Jesus that we have. So I was proud to be a part of this film. I am Not Ashamed was done at the level I wanted it to be, I hoped it would be. And I think Christian films are headed in a good direction. More and more people are producing better quality films. There is starting to be a bar set for Christian film, at a higher level.
If you haven’t seen I Am Not Ashamed, give it a try. It’s not a “cheesy Christian movie.” It’s really real, it’s really raw. Everyone who sees it walks away inspired in some way. And even though it’s about a shooting, it won’t make you depressed. The banner of this movie is hope.
Read Kathy’s review of I Am Not Ashamed.
View the trailer …