time for a "Showbiz Newsmaker Interview." Some Christians are outraged
over the casting of openly gay actor Chad Allen in a movie produced by
evangelicals. The movie, "End of the Spear," is the true story of five
American missionaries who were killed in 1956 in the jungles of Ecuador
by a tribe they were trying to serve. "End of the Spear" was made by
Every Tribe Entertainment, an evangelical film company, and it is
standing by its casting choice.
And joining us live now here in Hollywood and at
the center of this controversy, actor Chad Allen. Chad, thanks for being
CHAD ALLEN, ACTOR: Thank you very much. I'm
happy to be here.
ANDERSON: Of course. Now, you are an openly gay
man and a gay activist, as well. In this film, you play Nate Saint and
Steve Saint, both of those roles. Nate, one the missionaries who was
killed. Steve, his son. When you were approached about taking on this
role, so you got these parts, were you surprised that you were chosen?
ALLEN: I have to say, you know, my first
reaction was, absolutely, I was thrilled. It's an incredible story of
love and forgiveness, one of the finest that I've ever read.
And, yes, when they first said, "We want you to
come do this; we think you're the right guy," I called up my manager and
I said, "Do they know who they're talking to?" You know, I've been
And I wish I didn't have to say that, you know?
Some day, I think we're going to be living in a world where that
wouldn't have to be my reaction, but it was on this day. And I said,
"Let's just call them up." I said, "I want to go in and talk with the
directors and the producers, make sure that they understand who I am, I
understand who they are."
I wanted to know where the money was coming from
and where it was going so that I could make sure it wasn't ever going to
be used to hurt someone like me, and it was the most incredible
experience. The director looked at me. He said, "Look, we know."
And he said, "There may be people on your side
of this that aren't too happy with you wanting to work with us, and
there definitely may be people on our side that aren't too happy that we
want to work with you, but isn't that all the more reason why we should
He said, "Let's walk together hand-in-hand and
show that we can respect each other's differences, and we can love each
other, and we can create together, and that's what we've done."
ANDERSON: Wow. Well, Chad, more than 100 pastors
across the country have signed a letter to the film company expressing
their disappointment in your being cast. Some evangelicals have
boycotted the film. Now, in the past you've said that part of this
negative response could come from the fact that people think you may
influence young people to become gay. Is that right?
ALLEN: No, I haven't said that. They may have
said that. Let me be very clear.
You know, I grew up -- I knew I was gay from the
time I was probably six years old. I had no gay role models. I had no
gay influences. There was nobody like me talking on television. Guys,
that just isn't the way that it works.
Now, it doesn't mean I don't understand their
fear. I do. But that just isn't the way that it works, you know? We have
nothing to be afraid of. And that's what I'm here to say.
Look, just get to know me. I'm willing to let
you know who I am. And the filmmakers who made this movie with me, they
have given me the opportunity. We know each other. We love each other.
We've stood by each other all the way through this.
ANDERSON: Very quickly, Chad, does this
controversy frighten you at all? Because at one point an executive with
the film company contacted the FBI about a Web log that contained
alleged potential threats. Does this scare you?
ALLEN: You know, thanks for asking. Today, I got
so many phone calls from people saying, "Aren't you a little bit scared?
Maybe you should be a little bit scared." And the truth is, I wasn't
really scared until I started getting those phone calls.
You know, I have a great relationship with God,
and I'm not really worried about that. I'll go and do whatever I need to
go and do, and I trust him that I'll be protected and taken care of.
But fact is, I'm sad. I'm sad that there are a
large number of people that have decided that this issue scares them so
much that they may not get to participate in this film. It's out there
right now in the world, and there's so many people getting so much out
of the movie.
So I say, look, let's just today -- let's decide
to let God's judgment be between me and God. Let's go celebrate what we
created here together. My invitation is out there to everybody. It's an
incredible movie. I'm very proud of it.
ANDERSON: All right, well put. Chad Allen, thank
you so much for joining us this evening. We appreciate your time.
ALLEN: Thank you so much.
ANDERSON: "End of the Spear" is in theaters now.