CNN’s Headline News
February 2, 2006
And now 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 here.
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 open…
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 do it?”
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.