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Rising Star Ashley Bratcher: From "Princess Cut" To "90 Minutes In Heaven"
Rising Star Ashley Bratcher: From "Princess Cut" To "90 Minutes In Heaven"

Rising Star Ashley Bratcher: From "Princess Cut" To "90 Minutes In Heaven"

By Jacob Sahms

Born and raised in North Carolina, Ashley Bratcher is a southern girl at heart, now married with a five-year-old. As a senior at Campbell University in Buies Creek, she realized that if she was going to pursue her dream in acting that she had to go out on faith and do it. After moving to New York City and hiring an agent in 2008, she spent four years working before recognizing that she needed to reevaluate why she was acting in the first place. Now, she's starring in Princess Cut, Badge of Faith, and 90 Minutes In Heaven.

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“It was a real moment of clarity for me: God has blessed me with these gifts and I would be foolish to not glorify him with my gifts,” Bratcher told me. “I prayed that God would open the right doors and almost from that week forward, I have found work back to back to back.”

Bratcher, who is engaging on the phone and likable onscreen, has starred in the recently-released Christian film Princess Cut and will appear as a friend to Eva Piper (Kate Bosworth) in the upcoming biopic 90 Minutes in Heaven.

“Approaching a lead role, you have to be fully committed to the character and the relationships in the film,” said Bratcher, when I asked what things she had learned from the two types of roles. “You spend every single day building those relationships, and thinking about how every scene makes you feel. It’s go, go, go.”

“I think one day we worked eighteen hours on Princess Cut and I’m in every scene. You go to bed and get up the next day and do the same thing all over again.”

“When I was preparing for the supporting role in 90 Minutes in Heaven, I realized how important the supporting actors are from doing that film. So as a supporting actor,  you come in and support the lead character. It’s important to be fully engaged and committed, but it’s about helping support the film because the story isn’t about you.”

So how does Bratcher balance the types of roles, like the funny, inviting character of Grace Anderson and the deep grief of Susan Long?

“I think it’s all about being authentic to the character and to yourself,” Bratcher mused. “You’re giving an honest performance, finding something within yourself that makes your character more believable and engaging. People aren’t stupid; they can see when you’re faking it because the camera doesn’t hide anything!”

“With Princess Cut, I think it’s wonderful example to today’s society. So many young people are searching for instant gratification and don’t have a role model or mentor to help them. Respecting your parent’s blessing and having your family on board with the person you’re going to marry is such a blessing.”

 

“For my role supporting Kate, I just imagined my very best friend going through the situation [of having her husband in a tragic accident],” she continued. “Your mind and body fill in where you would go in that moment. Being honest and truthful in the moment is so important. Kate was amazing to work with; she’s just a phenomenal actress. It makes the situation so much easier when your lead is that talented.”

Having talked to Don and Eva Piper about the accident, and about what it meant to have their story turned into a film, I asked Bratcher what it was like making a film with the real-life individuals watching over your shoulder. Bratcher said that it couldn’t have been more comforting.

Don and Eva seemed so gracious and supportive. They were never critical in any way, because they just wanted to make sure that the story was told in an engaging and truthful way. They wanted to get the message of hope out. It feels like a big family on a set like this.”

Bratcher stopped, remembering a specific moment from the set, and then continued confidently with an example from the filming process. “I’ll tell you that the very first day on set is kind of like the first day at school,” she said with a chuckle. “You’re going around trying to figure out where you’re going to sit for lunch and who you’re going to talk to.. I prayed ‘God lead me and help me comfortable, let me be who you want me to be, use me to build relationships,’ and sat down at this particular table.”

“I found out that I’ve gone to Bible study with this guy’s mom for the last six months. I had no idea her son worked in the movie industry. It just kind of happens when you allow God to work. Every set that I work on, it feels like there’s someone that seems destined to meet or something I’m supposed to learn, whether it’s patience, gratitude, or trust. It just means you have to believe that God will work it all out.”

Bratcher said that the goal of her latest film is that people find hope, specifically in Jesus Christ. “That’s obviously the goal,” she said, “but it’s also to help people see that no matter what your situation is or how tragic it is, there is hope, and there are people who are willing to step in and help with recovery.”

“Having that story be based on a true story gives it so much power. It just gives it credibility.”

Next up for Bratcher is a film slated for 2016, a faith-based action thriller. She’s already started training for the role. In fact, she told me she would more than likely be doing her own stunts after spending time training with small firearms and in stage combat.

But if the opportunity ever presented itself for her to make whatever film she wanted?

“My dream film to remake would be A League of Their Own,” Bratcher said, with a laugh. “I played softball in college so I’m trying to capture the old days. But anything with Tom Hanks would be good.”

Stay tuned for more Bratcher, and check out her appearances in Princess Cut, Badge of Faith, and 90 Minutes In Heaven!

For a review of Badge of Faith, click here, or to hear from the director, click here

For a review of Princess Cut, click here, or to hear from the director, click here



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"This one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before."
- Philippians 3:13 (KJV)

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