Chrissy Metz’s New Movie Explores the Power of Prayer

The ‘This Is Us’ actress shares how working on Breakthrough, a forthcoming Christian film, deepened her faith.

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- Posted on Jan 15, 2019

Chrissy Metz in 'Breakthrough'

As soon as Chrissy Metz read the script for the movie Breakthrough, she knew she wanted to be part of the project.

In 2015, people around the world were captivated by the story of 14-year-old John Smith, who spent 14 minutes trapped in icy water. He was rescued and had no pulse for 60 minutes—until his mother, Joyce Smith, entered the room and started praying.

Smith’s faith and love for her son inspired the world. She documented their story in her book The Impossible: The Miraculous Story of a Mother's Faith and Her Child's Resurrection.

Metz connected with the story immediately. When her own mother had a stroke, Metz realized the power of hope and faith in the face of a medical emergency.

“I have gone through something similar and was unshaken,” Metz told Guideposts.org. “I was reading the script and I just thought, this is exactly what I should be doing.”

"I could so relate to her convictions—this unconditional love and positivity—and her belief in her faith that her son was going to get better, just as I didn’t want to believe the prognosis that my mom’s surgeon and doctor gave her,” Metz said in an interview with Glamour.

Breakthrough also stars Josh Lucas (Sweet Home Alabama) as Smith’s husband, Brian, and Topher Grace as Jason Noble, a pastor who supports the family while their son is in the hospital. The movie was produced by basketball player Steph Curry and industry veteran DeVon Franklin.

Playing a real person was a new experience for Metz. She was drawn to Smith’s positivity, hope and unconditional love for her son.  

“[Joyce] is a human being who absolutely has a very strong faith and belief in God, but also is a human being and has made mistakes, and wanted to make her wrongs right,” Metz said. “I just love that she's fun loving, but she's, as we all are, imperfect.”

One of the things that most impressed Metz about Smith was her faith.

“She is unwavering in what she believes in,” Metz said. “She just knew, I think in her soul and her spirit, that this was not the end for her son. That to me, is just so inspirational and really beautiful.”

Metz has no question that something miraculous happened to John Smith, and being involved in the film strengthened her belief in God.

“My faith was rooted even deeper,” Metz said. “Things would happen on set that [I] couldn’t really explain.”

In an interview with The Christian Post, Metz shared the importance of faith in her life.

“I know that the only person that shows up for me time and time again, is God, and is that higher power that's greater than myself,” she said. “So I have to honor that. Not because I have to, because I want to, even though people might think it's the uncool thing to do. For me, there's no question about it,”

Metz has been vocal about her belief in God in the past, and the film has provided opportunities to speak out about the power of faith and prayer.

“Whether it's wanting a loved one to heal from a sickness, or wanting the job you believe is meant for you, whatever it is, [don’t] be shy [with] what you want,” Metz said. “But also understand that you have to completely surrender in not being attached to the outcome.”

The most important thing for Metz was to honor the family’s story.

“I wanted to tell the story and have Joyce, John and Jason to be proud of it,” Metz said. “This is their story.”

Breakthrough releases in theaters nationwide in April.

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