Sadie Robertson has never been afraid to express her Christian faith in Hollywood. On “Duck Dynasty,” her family prays at the end of every single episode. Before she became the also-ran on “Dancing With the Stars” last year, she showed the audience that she will not compromise her religious morals to perform or dress seductively. Now, in her role in the new film God’s Not Dead 2, the sequel to the 2014 surprise hit, Robertson has a whole new opportunity to use her fame to glorify God.
Robertson said seeing her parents appear in a cameo in the first God’s Not Dead was major motivation for her to say yes to the project.
“That was a huge reason,” she said. “I had never been in a movie either and mom was like, ‘You got this.’”
God’s Not Dead was a surprise box office success two years ago, even keeping pace with more mainstream films. In the sequel, a teacher named Grace Wesley, played by Melissa Joan Hart, is dragged to court after daring to speak the name Jesus in her classroom.
Robertson and Hart had an instant bond because they both waltzed in front of America during their respective turns on “Dancing With the Stars.”
“It was so funny because she had Mark (Ballas) as a partner as well,” Robertson said. “So it was fun to bond over that.”
On “Dancing,” Robertson spoke boldly about the important role God plays in her life and we got behind-the-scenes looks at her praying with her partner before their performances. The viewer feedback was very encouraging, she recalls. She admitted she had her hesitation to participate in a somewhat "worldly show" that has proven to be risqué at times, yet people just saw how "real" she was in staying true to her values.
That kind of spiritual commitment, Robertson noted, is all too apparent in God’s Not Dead 2.
“If [Grace] would have wavered in her faith, then it wouldn’t have worked out for her,” she said. “Because she stayed true the whole time, and never doubted it, she was very successful. People wanted to root for her.”
“If you question yourself, people are going to question you, but if you go 100 percent then people are going to vote for you,” she continued.
Robertson noted she has often had to use this logic to defend her Christian faith.
“Many times,” she said. “The time that you don’t you always regret. Every day I pray that God will breathe through me and I seize every opportunity and I don’t miss them. Whenever you see everything as an opportunity, it changes the game. When you don’t look for that, you come off shy. Anyone that’s really scared of doing that, the movie says it so well.”
Robertson noted that being afraid, however, is only natural. While she is comfortable in front of those intimidating lights on TV and film, she still gets nervous about the people standing around watching.
“It’s funny because cameras have never bothered me,” she said. “It’s the people that are there. When I was on 'Dancing With the Stars,' even though they had the 20 million viewers, that didn’t bother me. It bothered me that the four judges watched me dance. I was kind of nervous, I didn’t’ know if I was good enough.”
Yet, Robertson has realized that a dance critic is not the most important judge we need to please. She quoted one of the most profound lines uttered in God's Not Dead:
“I’d rather stand with God and be judged by the world than stand with the world and be judged by God.”
Robertson chooses not to fear the world’s reaction to her bold Christian message.
Neither, it appears, do other Christians in Hollywood. In the past few years, faith-based entertainment has had a much more profound presence on both the small and silver screens. In addition to the God's Not Dead franchise, movies like Heaven is For Real, Miracles From Heaven, Risen and The Young Messiah have been added to movie theater marques and the TV series "The Bible," produced by Hollywood-producing couple Roma Downey and Mark Burnett, had huge ratings success on The History Channel.
“It’s an amazing thing,” Robertson said. “God has really opened doors.”
Between the traveling, the movie promotion, "Duck Dynasty," and her Live Original Tour where she tours the country bringing the gospel to young adults, Robertson has limited free time. When she does have a few moments to reflect, however, she knows who to spend it with.
“How can He be your best friend if you don’t talk to Him?”