by Edwin L. Carpenter, Editor – The Dove Foundation
Actor Kirk Cameron, whose career now spans a couple of decades, recently chatted with us about the DVD release of “Fireproof”, the independent film made by a church which stormed its way into the box office with a take of 33 million dollars, after being produced for five hundred thousand.
Kirk is known to be a bit of a jokester and, in fact, one of the DVD features of Fireproof reveals that the tables were turned and a few pranks were played on him. His sense of humor was on display when he greeted me with, “Mr. Ed, hey, this is Kirk Cameron!” He wanted to know right away how many people call me “Mr. Ed.” I told him only a few so he had joined an exclusive club. “Hey, thank you for letting me in on that club,” he responded.
We began by asking Kirk if he was surprised by the magnitude of the film’s success. “We were all surprised that the movie did as well as it did. No one expected it to start out in the top ten and stay there and finish as the number one independent movie of the year. We knew that it was a great script. I knew that it was a story that would resonate and strike a chord in the hearts of people all over the country because it was about marriage. It’s about hope, it’s about faith; it’s about commitment. People are hungry for that today.”
“We’ve gotten thousands of e-mails from people, saying how their lives have been changed. They were on the brink of a divorce—they called off the divorce hearings and have saved their marriages.”
Kirk spoke with enthusiasm about his role. “It was fun to prepare for it,” he said. “I think every little boy at one point or another wants to be a fireman when he grows up, and so to be able to hang out with these firefighters, see what they go through and watch their training—it was a real treat. I’ve got lots of respect for firefighters and I had to put on fifteen pounds of muscle just to kind of look the part and to be able to do all the things that we needed to do. I followed firefighters around and learned how to handle the hoses and put out fires and climb ladders and all that kind of stuff.”
“How did you prepare yourself to have the mental set to take on this role as a fire captain?” we asked.
“As an actor you need to not only go over the lines and know what you’re saying but you’ve got to know, really, who you are. You’re playing a different character. There’s a lot of preparation that you do before you walk onto the stage. You have to know who the person is, the background of the person, and their relationships—who their friends are, who their family is, all that kind of stuff.”
We asked Kirk what have been the most rewarding aspects of the film for him.
“I think the reason everyone’s wanted to do all of these interviews is because of the box office success. It made thirty three million dollars at the box office. Now of course the DVDs are just getting started—they’re coming out on Tueseday (January 27) and I’m sure that will be a big success also. To those of us who made the movie the thing that’s most significant is the success of the movie’s ability to really help people in their marriages.”
“The Love-Dare book (featured in the film) is a real book. It’s not just a plot device in the movie. It’s a real book that you can get and go through that forty day challenge with your own spouse. It’s already hit the New York Times bestseller list. It’s available at the bookstore. I’ve got a copy myself. It’s just a great tool to help you really get your marriage on track, rescue a dying marriage and make it flourish.”
“Can you name a couple of your favorite scenes?” we asked Kirk.
“There are funny scenes in there like the hot sauce scene which was lots of fun to do. Some of the more challenging scenes which I enjoyed– because they were challenging– were the fighting scenes at the beginning of the movie. It was a real challenge to work that kind of anger into a scene. Unfortunately it’s all too real in many people’s marriages. At the end of the movie the character that I play (Captain Caleb Holt) ends up meeting with his wife in the fire station and he kisses her. That was actually my own wife. My wife came in and we did that scene and we shot it in a silhouette so nobody would be able to tell the difference. So when I was kissing that girl I was actually kissing my own wife which was lots of fun!”
Kirk mentioned that although it’s always a challenge to make a movie, many things in making this film just seemed to fall into place. He mentioned the budget of five hundred thousand dollars was a challenge because things are so expensive, even the camera and film. A low budget movie is usually two or three million dollars according to Kirk and so the budget they had was a microscopic in comparison.
“All the odds are stacked against it with an all-volunteer cast, it being produced in a tiny town by a church, people who have relatively little experience in making movies. And it did so well. We really think the blessing of God was upon the project because of what it was about, and that it was really honoring to marriage.”
Kirk teaches the Bible on various Christian programs and he said it was great to be able to work on projects which “you can really believe in and put your heart into.”
In closing, we commented on the fact that Caleb’s victory in the movie does not come easily. It is not all neatly tied up in a package. The character has to show tremendous perseverance.
“He sure did,” Kirk agreed. “And that’s really how it is in real life. When you’ve been married for ten years and you’ve been going downhill for the last five it takes more than a week to pull it back up. It takes commitment and that takes time. “
The DVD will include special features, a “making of” feature, bloopers, pranks, and other goodies. Mostly, it will contain a fantastic movie on marriage which features a very committed and sincere actor in Mr. Kirk Cameron.
Read Dove’s Review of “Fireproof“