Tim Kelleher on The Nicene Creed and Hollywood
Date: March 9th, 2014

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The Nicene Creed is a foundational statement of many Christians around the world.  Tim Kelleher, an actor who has appeared in a number of movies and television shows, joins us to discuss the documentary video that he wrote and produced on this important declaration of one’s faith.  The video is entitled The Creed: What Christians Profess and Why It Ought to Matter and is designed to be a conversation with a number of priests, theologians, and scholars about the importance of The Nicene Creed both in their personal lives and for the life of the Church.

Our conversation begins with Tim discussing how he became involved in this project given that it is rather unusual for a Hollywood actor to strike out on his own and make a documentary about a religious topic.  Tim provides some of his own spiritual background, including a period in his life where he was studying for the Jesuit priesthood, and then how a number of factors came together with his role at First Things to make this documentary.  We discuss how many of the guests in the video were chosen and Tim shares some of the background stories about the filming and editing of the documentary.

The next portion of our interview entails what Tim learned through his filming of the movie.  We cover topics such as the historical purpose of the First Council of Niceae, the linguistic aspects and changes in The Nicene Creed, and its importance to the community of Christian worshippers.  Tony notes how the documentary is not a traditional step-by-step discussion of the topic (much you might see in a college classroom), but rather uses the impressions of the various guests to tell the story and aspects of The Creed.  This proves to be a remarkably effective device, particularly with the mix of people interviewed including a quantum physicist (Stephen Barr), the CEO of the Special Olympics (Timothy Shriver), and a priest/theologian from the Orthodox tradition (John Behr).  Other individuals such as Frederica Matthews-Green, Robert Wilken, and Luke Johnson make critical appearances as well to share their thoughts in the film.

We close out with Tim’s reflections on being a person of faith in the entertainment industry.  Tony wonders whether it is hard to play some of the characters he is asked to portray on screen given his deep religious convictions.  Tim notes that he specializes in playing “bad guys” and discusses how he deals with this tension.  We also talk about why Hollywood seems to have a blind spot for religious movies considering that the few that are made (e.g., Passion of the Christ, The Blind Side, Fireproof) tend to do remarkably well at the box office (relative to the cost of making the films).  Recorded: March 3, 2014.

RELATED LINKS

Tim Kelleher on Internet Movie Database.  (Note that there are two Tim Kellehers in Hollywood!  We link to the correct one.)

The Creed: What Christians Profess, and Why It Ought to Matter.  (Tim Kelleher’s documentary).

Being as Communion, by John D. Zizioulas (mentioned in podcast).

The One and the Many, by John D. Zizioulas (mentioned in podcast).

Tim Kelleher discusses “The Creed” on The World Over (television show).

RELATED PODCASTS

Stephen Barr on Quantum Physics, Religion, and The God Particle.

Jim Papandrea on the Church Fathers and Patristic Exegisis.

Michael Medved on Religion and Hollywood.

Jon M. Sweeney on “It’s a Wonderful Life.”

 

 


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