Director Michael John Warren is the first to admit he's not a very spiritual person. "Why would I make a Jesus rock film?" Warren asked himself when he first heard about the opportunity to direct a film about the Australian Christian worship band Hillsong United. Well, apparently all it took was meeting the band and listening to their seriously stellar music to convince him he was the right man for the job.
"I listened to 'Oceans' for the first time and as soon as it was over, I hit 'play' again," he recalled.
Hillsong began as a humble church in Sydney, Australia and has emerged as a worldwide phenomenon whose songs are sung by millions every week in church. Yet, despite all the screaming fans, they've stayed grounded and remember that God is the center of their success. "Hillsong: Let Hope Rise," in theaters next Friday, September 16, tells their story.
Warren sat down with me at the film's press junket in New York last month.
I also had the chance to talk with a few of the Hillsong band members, including one of the lead vocalists, Taya Smith, and musician Dylan Thomas. Check out our conversation below, including what it was like for the talented singers to sing "Oceans" (one of their biggest hits) on the Sea of Galilee.