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HHV Exclusive: Steve Race talks “I’m In Love With A Church Girl” film, working with Ja Rule, Adrienne Bailon, and Vincent Pastore, and more
In 2010, news initially broke about Ja Rule co-starring with Adrienne Bailon in a new film entitled I’m In Love With A Church Girl. Three years later, the film is finally set to hit theaters. Not only has the film helped to place Ja Rule back in the spotlight, it also tells a positive story.
Next month, I’m In Love With A Church Girl will hit theaters. October 18 is the official premiere date and the cast cannot be happier. Other people playing in the film include such names as Vincent Pastore, of “Sopranos” fame, and Stephen Baldwin. The world is waiting for the film to premiere and the director is just as eager as the fans.
Bringing I’m In Love With A Church Girl to life is Steve Race, who is directing the new film. Not only is he directing the film, he is actually interested in the topic and bringing a positive wave to Hollywood. Steve Race took time out tonight to talk to Hip Hop Vibe about the new film and his budding career as a director.
Read the entire interview below:
How did you end up working with Reverence Gospel Media on I’m In Love With A Church Girl? I met the writer/producer Galley Molina, years ago, when I was beginning my career directing music videos, comedy shows, and documentaries. We worked on a few projects, developed a relationship, and we’ve been working ever since.
When he told me about his I’m In Love With A Church Girl book, it was natural to make a screenplay and then a film.
It’s been said that the plot is based on a true story, are you familiar with the real-life people involved in the film? Absolutely. I’ve had a longstanding friendship with the person the story is based on. I have been there with him throughout the last fifteen years of his life and I’ve seen the true presence of God in his life. One of the plotlines in the film is God uses extreme measures to deal with extreme circumstances.
In what ways do you feel I’m In Love With A Church Girl differs from the other films you directed? This is a real-life drama and a love story. It centers around two characters from different walks of life who are brought together by God and their lives are dramatically changed forever. It’s more of a grownup movie, much higher-quality, and much more mature subject matter than my previous work. Also, this story is truly inspirational.
Can you tell us about the vision you have for the main characters of Miles, played by Ja Rule, and Vanessa, played by Adrienne Bailon? My vision for the main character of Miles Montego, played by Ja Rule, is a guy from the streets who is cool, charismatic, good looking, has it all. But, he comes to realize that there is something missing in his life. With Vanessa, played by Adrienne Bailon, she is a warm, caring, girl, who makes the right decisions in life, she is Godly, wholesome, she’s beautiful, also charismatic. She is a really special kind of girl and that is what it was going to take to get the character of Miles to look at life in a different way, he needed someone this special to show him there is a different way of living life.
What is the working relationship like between you, Ja Rule, and Adrienne Bailon? It was amazing. I got to tell you, Ja Rule and Adrienne are friends from back East. Their chemistry was off the charts. Working with two veterans, who have been in the business for years was amazing. Then, to work with a talented guy like Ja Rule, with depth, an amazing voice, and who is so charismatic, was really cool. They didn’t take a lot of takes to do their scenes, they were professional and they took the time to learn their lines, they really brought it. I am so proud of the performance Adrienne and Ja brought to the characters. The audience is going to be blown away at what an amazing job the both did in the film.
Generally, how many hours do you all put in when you are taping scenes? It was a twenty-four day shoot, with twelve hours days. Some scenes took longer than others, but generally it took four to five hours to shoot scenes and it was a 130 page script. Lots of dialogue and we usually did around five to seven takes per shot.
What type of energy did Vincent Pastore bring to the movie and the work atmosphere? Vinny brought that back East, very Italian, loose, charismatic feel to the film. He has that smile that lights up the room, who hasn’t seen “The Sorpranos?” When he was on set, we all knew everyone was enjoying themselves. He is a very talented actor.
With so many drug/kingpin style movies out, already, especially targeting the urban market, did you feel it was time for a movie like this, except with a positive ending? This couldn’t have been better timing, because there are so many people in this country looking for something good to grasp on to. With all the crime and tragedies happening in the world, this was time. I don’t care what you’ve done and where you’ve been, come as you are, this is the message we are putting out. Come here, God wants you here, the message is so powerful. One of the lines in the movie says God doesn’t care where you’ve been and what you’ve done, come as you are.
So, we have an ex-drug dealer who has come to a point in his life where he is ready to change. There are a lot of people whose lives will be turned around because of this film and I’m proud of that fact.
Do you feel as if I’m In Love With A Church Girl will begin a shift in Hollywood from more negative and gore-filled films to more positive-oriented films? I think that I’m In Love With A Church Girl will change the way people look at films and showcase that positive films can succeed in Hollywood. Positive films that give hope and breathe life can be accepted. This film has depth, it’s entertaining, and we will showcase that a film like this can be done and will be successful. We don’t need another Hollywood remake, we can come with something original and positive that’s high quality, great acting, great production value, great music and a powerful message. But, when the movie is over, I want to know it has had a positive influence on someone’s life and I’m In Love With A Church Girl does that, in my opinion.
Can you tell us more about your own film company and your future plans? My future plans, right now, are to really pay attention to seeing this through to the end. I love filmmaking and I am passionate about directing. I want to make great films that move people emotionally and make a difference in the world.
Where can we connect with you on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram? You can always get at me on Steve Race on Facebook, TheDirector9 on Instagram, and @Director9 on Twitter. Facebook is my main social media site, I update everyone about the film constantly.