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Christians in Cinema: Randy Travis
Christians in Cinema: Randy Travis

Christians in Cinema: Randy Travis

Country music icon Randy Travis’ successful career started over two decades ago in small nightclubs in North Carolina in the early 1980s. Since then, 9 of his albums have gone either gold, platinum, or multi-platinum.

A man who likes to keep learning, Randy decided to enter the acting arena with guest spots on television shows like “Matlock” and Touched by An Angel. He has appeared in more than 20 films, the latest of which is The Wager, just out on DVD this week. Altogether, he’s been part of more than 40 film and TV projects.
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The production team of The Wager contacted Randy and sent a script for his review. “I really liked the character and thought the story was good. I was intrigued by the idea of someone trying to live out the Sermon on the Mount in the middle of the Hollywood glamor.”

During the production, Randy was reunited with Nancy Stafford, whom he met when he guest-starred on Matlock. “I really enjoyed the cast we had, and the crew was great to work with. I like acting because it stretches me and brings me out of the comfort zone of country music.”

Pastor John Hagee has a cameo in The Wager, and is a personal friend of Randy’s. “I’ve known Pastor Hagee several years, and he’s been a friend and mentor to me. I often ask him for advice and input. When I was filming The Visitation a few years ago, I called him up to ask him about some dialogue.

“The script called for me to cast out demons from someone, and I don’t have any experience with that. You don’t see that happening in country music. I read him the lines from the script and asked him ‘Would someone casting out demons really say that?’

“I want to be really genuine in the roles I take on. I want to be able to put as much of myself into the character as possible, and for that to come across as authentic and real.”

Filming The Wager wasn’t the only thing Travis did last year. “My wife (manager Elizabeth Travis) figured out that last year we spent 8 months on the road. You know, I love that, and no matter what else I do, I don’t think I’ll ever stop touring and giving concerts.”

A day on the road often means two stops, sometimes two concerts, in one day. The day doesn’t end until the wee hours of the morning, after the last show is complete and the last autograph signed. When he comes home, it takes several days for Randy to adjust back to home life and a different schedule.

At the end of 2004, Randy made a special appearance on “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” that sums up his philosophy. Responding to a call from Ty Pennington, Travis took his bus to Bakersfield, California, to help the Elcano family. After driving some nails into the new home, he held a benefit concert for the family and helped raise $60,000. When the family returned home, Randy got to give them the good news himself and sang one more song for them.

“That’s what it’s all about. Giving back to people. I’ve been very blessed in my life, and I want to do what I can to help others.”

Those who knew him as a teenager may be surprised by who Randy has become. He was a school dropout into drinking, drugs, carousing, and being a rebel. He was frequently in trouble with the police, and at one point, his friend and manager Elizabeth Hatcher was told by a judge that the next time he saw him, Randy better have “...his toothbrush, because he’s going to be staying a long time.”

What turned his life around? Reading the Bible.

“I remember seeing the Bible laying on a table and something compelled me to pick it up and read it. I started reading it that night and I haven’t stopped since. I slept like a baby that night, and when I woke up the next morning I was surprised to feel a peace I’d never known.”

Randy hasn’t stopped reading the Bible since that night. When asked what he wants to be remembered for, he replies, “I just want to be remembered as a man who learned as much of the Word as he could and who lived it. I still struggle with my temper, and I’m certainly not perfect. Jesus Christ is the only perfect man who ever lived. My walk with him is an ongoing process.”

©2008 ChristianCinema.com


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