What’s it like to be Christian in Hollywood?

Believers shouldn't be afraid of being outsiders
Christians in Hollywood: Professor Chris Riley with students at JP Catholic.

Christians in Hollywood: Professor Chris Riley with students at JP Catholic. (from October 9 Angelus article)

The following comes from an October 9 Angelus article by Mary Rezac:

What’s it specifically like to be a Christian in the film industry? To find out, we reached out to John Paul the Great Catholic University in Escondido, California. Also known as JP Catholic, the school has a unique mission to form the next generation of Catholic filmmakers in both their faith and their craft. They were able to connect us with some of their professors and lecturers who know what its like to be a Christian while working in the film industry.

Dean Batali, a writer and producer perhaps best known for his work on “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and “That 70’s Show,” said the fact that he was a churchgoing Christian got brought up practically every day while writing for the latter show.

“On that show were two gay guys and a lesbian and a woman who slept around a lot, and me a Christian, and all of us were kind of teased for who we were,” he said, “but that’s just kind of the nature of being a comedy writer.”

“That 70’s Show” usually got poor ratings from the Parent’s Television Council for as the morality of the content, but Batali said it would have been worse without a Christian present on the staff.

“We’re called to be salt and light in this world,” he said. “Salt can bring flavor, but sometimes, all salt does is stop the decay. You have two pieces of meat and put salt on one and leave them for a week, one will be more rancid than the other.”

“I think we as Christians are called to be salt to stop the decay of something, and that’s why I think we as Christians go to places that are sometimes messy, within reason,” he said.

Nathan Scoggins is a writer and director of “The Least of These,” a drama that takes place in a Catholic school setting. Scoggins also co-wrote for the film “The Perfect Summer” and his commercials have won three Doritos Super Bowl contests.

A non-denominational Christian, Scoggins is also an adjunct professor of film at JP Catholic. He said he’s found that his faith is usually more intriguing to people, as long as it’s approached in a way that’s not defensive but rather as a normal part of life.

“That’s not just the teaching of Jesus, that’s just kind of how it is — if you’re defensive about your stuff people kind of become defensive around you, but if you’re just seeking to engage like a normal human being, then I think it creates opportunity for relationship and dialogue rather than hostility,” he said.

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Comments

  1. “On that show were two gay guys and a lesbian and a woman who slept around a lot, and me a Christian…” I’m not sure what kind of so-called Christian would work on such an appalling program. The cavalier attitude towards, if not downright promotion, of sins against the sixth commandment is itself a sin. The entire entertainment industry has, as its end, the destruction of Catholic values and morality. I don’t see how any Catholic can watch, let alone produce, programs for enemies of the Church.

  2. It is like Daniel in the lion’s den; it is like Gulliver on Lillipution Island; it is like a lamb among a pack of wolves; and more accurate, it is like a Catholic priest trying to exist is Saudi Arabia. While it is not impossible, it is very dangerous, uncomfortable, stressful and high anxiety. The years when Hollywood was tolerant of Catholicism and Christianity are over. And the bishops let this happen.

  3. Michael McDermott says:

    The Success (financial & societal) of Movies such as “Fireproof” have proven that there is a Market and in fact a Need for ‘entertainment’ promoting positive values portrayed in a realistic manner, set amidst the chaos and conflicts of the real world people actually live in (not including ‘reality tv’).

    However – these are usually Independent Films as Hollyweird prefers screen sleaze style sex & violence as the formulaic route to big $$$ – and although former Mogul Michael Ovitz will never recover from discussing the “Gay Mafia” that runs the place (and decides who gets parts),,,
    – anyone implying this is due to retaliation by said non-existent “Gay Mafia” can expect to get waked faster than the Head of Mozilla did for…

    • Besides the Kendrick Bros’ films (Facing the Giants, Fireproof, Courageous, Flywheel and War Room) there are other independent Christian companies, one of which made the delightful “What if?” starring Kevin Sorbo. Christians are making films without the help of Hollywood, and God bless them!

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