Sam Worthington stars as Mack Phillips in The Shack. Mack has a seemingly perfect life with a loving wife, a good job and three great kids but a family tragedy soon sends his world spiraling and causes him to lose faith.
As Mack struggles to make sense of such enormous tragedy, he descends into a “great sadness” where his life starts to unravel and all the ghosts that he thought he had buried long ago resurface.
Mack receives a mysterious note in his mailbox which sends him to the shack where the tragedy occurred and where he begins his faith journey.
Worthington said he connected with the character because he has a family of his own. "I have a young family and I identified with what would happen if my family was taken away from me," Worthington said. "I wanted to use Mack to explore these themes of life and death and who’s to blame for breaking your heart? Who’s to blame for taking away your faith?"
For the book’s author, William Paul Young, the shack represents one of life’s greatest obstacles. “The shack is the place of devastation on the inside, it’s the house that we all build when some of us didn’t get good help,” says Young. “It’s the place we store all of our addictions and hide our secrets, and we don’t ever want anybody in there because we’re terrified they will hate us as much as we already do. In order to heal, you’ve got to go back to the places where you were broke—you can’t go around it, you can’t ignore it.”
The film was shot in some of the most spectacular locations in around the greater Vancouver, British Columbia region. For Worthington, being surrounded by nature helped him connect to the story of faith.
Actress Octavia Spencer, who plays Papa/God in the film, fell so in love with the cabin where Mack begins his faith journey that she considered taking things from set home with her. “I remember walking up to it the first time and saying ‘Oh yeah...this is definitely Papa’s cabin!’ This cabin is one of the most beautiful, tranquil places I’ve ever been in and it lends itself to where Mack can start to break down all those walls he’s built up over his life.”
Ultimately, the film is about the healing power of forgiveness and how loss can bring us closer to God and to the people we care about.
The Shack cast members Radha Mitchell, Sam Worthington, Megan Charpentier, Gage Munroe, and Amélie Eve
The Shack cast members Avraham Aviv Alush, Sam Worthington, Octavia Spencer and Sumire Matsubara (l-r)