Actor Found Himself with an Undeniable ‘Craving’ After Filming Missionary Movie

Actor Found Himself with an Undeniable ‘Craving’ After Filming Missionary Movie

Amid Hollywood’s relentless celebration of sin and self, at least one actor prefers to seek something higher.

In a recent interview with Fox News, 49-year-old actor Ryan Phillippe described a “spiritual journey” that resulted in a “craving” for a relationship with God following the production of his latest film, “Prey,” an action thriller set in Africa.

Phillippe and veteran actress Mena Suvari co-star as a Christian missionary couple forced to flee the Kalahari Desert after learning that armed militants want to take “American hostages,” per the movie trailer.

The getaway plane, however, crashes in an animal preserve, leaving the couple, a half-dozen or so fellow passengers and an arrogant-sounding pilot, played by actor Emile Hirsch, to fight for survival in a literal lion’s den.

In a series of interviews around the film’s theatrical and on-demand release on Friday, Phillippe hinted at a connection between the project itself and his spiritual journey.

For instance, speaking with Movieweb, he described “Prey” director Mukunda Michael Dewil as “a really soulful, spiritual guy.”

“I do a lot of investigation into the metaphysical, the theological, ontological, eschatological. And so he and I have these great conversations about those subjects,” Phillippe said.

Likewise, the film’s plot, which involves the fear of death and corresponding thoughts of mortality, contributed to Phillippe’s journey, he said.

“There is a slight theological thread through this, of questioning God. Wondering why things happen to certain people,” the actor told the Boston Herald. “They’re just good people trying to do a good thing in Africa in these villages and help others. Then something like this befalls them.”

“It makes them question. ‘What’s going on here? Is it worth being good? Who’s looking out for me?’ These aspects — man’s search for meaning or search for God — really appealed to me,” he said.

To Fox News, however, Phillippe openly elaborated on his faith.

“I have a firm and fervent belief in God and that things happen for a reason and that we should put positive energies out into the world and treat people with respect and spread as much love and light as we can to offset the darkness that we see around us everywhere,” he said.

That “firm and fervent belief in God” does not necessarily make Phillippe a Christian. But not everyone arrives at the same place from the same starting point, and his journey may yet lead him to Jesus Christ, if it has not done so already.

“It’s interesting because I was kind of in a darker place when we filmed this, and it was right after filming it where I went on this spiritual journey where I started going really deep inside,” the actor told Fox News.

“I got back into reading the Bible and various other religious tomes, but I found myself drawn to this notion of spirituality,” Phillippe said. “You know, you get to a point in life, a certain age, and the things that you thought would bring you pleasure or make you feel satisfied — these would be success or money — and it doesn’t, you know? It doesn’t.”

“And so you look for more,” he continued. “And I’m so thankful for what I’ve been given and for the experiences that I’ve had and for my children and everything else. But I wanted to have a relationship and understanding with God, and I was craving that.

“And I’ve got to tell you, since I’ve started that journey, I have not been more at peace. My depression is gone. I shed addictions.”

Phillippe married actress Reese Witherspoon in 1998. They had a daughter, Ava, now 24, and a son, Deacon, now 20, prior to divorcing in 2008.

Along with actress Sara Michelle Gellar, the then-newlyweds co-starred in the teen romantic drama “Cruel Intentions” (1999).

Readers of a certain age will have to decide for themselves what strikes them as more jarring: the fact that “Cruel Intentions” celebrates its 25th anniversary this year or that Witherspoon has two children in their 20s.

Either way, Phillippe appears to have found his way out of that “darker place.” He also has recognized that neither success nor money brings ultimate satisfaction.

Furthermore, he has bucked Hollywood secularism by openly talking about a relationship with God as a “craving.” And Christians should recognize this as a message of longing.

“If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world,” legendary Christian author C.S. Lewis once wrote.

Movie audiences — young people in particular — need to hear that message.

This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

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