By Blair Martin, Editorial and Content Coordinator, Christian Cinema
Former Elvis impersonator turned Hollywood newcomer Blake Rayne will make his first film debut in the “The Identical,” opening nationwide in theaters on Sept. 5.
The movie, produced by City of Peace Films, is directed by Dustin Marcellino and in addition to Rayne, stars Hollywood veterans such as Ray Liotta, Ashley Judd and Seth Green.
The movie is a compelling story of twin brothers unknowingly separated at birth during the Great Depression. Both boys, blessed with musical talent, choose different career paths—one ultimately becoming an Elvis Presley-like rock ‘n’ roll star of his day while the other, Ryan Wade (Blake Rayne), struggles to please his overbearing evangelical father (Ray Liotta) by acknowledging his passion for music.
“One of the things I really liked about our movie is that it honors some of the basic principles [in the Bible] which are to be a light [in the world] by your example,” Rayne said in a phone interview. “Basically, be who you are meant to be and that light is gonna shine just like it did in the movie for Ryan, my character.”
Rayne speaks from experience. In fact, he admitted the script and his own personal life share shocking similarities. Like his character who struggles to meet his father’s lofty expectations in the movie, Rayne also struggled to find his own calling in life.
“From the music [theme] in the movie to being brought up in a Christian home, there were so many things I could personally draw upon to play the role of Ryan Wade.”
Born in 1974 in Columbus, Ohio, Rayne (whose real name is Ryan Pelton) was raised in a strict Baptist home with parents who held a set of clear expectations for all their children.
“My parents always wanted me to play sports and get straight A’s in school and go off to college when I was younger,” he said. “But I always found myself wanting to be the kid in the high school choir or in the school plays.”
But it was his uncanny resemblance to “the King” and smooth baritone voice that would eventually seal Pelton’s fate as an entertainer. At the encouragement of his mother, he entered and won an Elvis impersonator competition in 1998 and soon after began a career as one of the most sought-after Elvis impersonators in the nation. Pelton eventually moved to Nashville to begin recording his own music and pursue his passion for acting.
“I really enjoy the creative process,” he explained. “And I look at music, songwriting and acting as all being part of expressing creativity.”
At the behest of Hollywood agents to get a Screen Actor’s Guild (SAG) name, Pelton eventually settled on the moniker “Blake Rayne,” inspired by Batman’s alter ego Bruce Wayne.
“Yes, it’s Blake Rayne and it sounds like Bruce Wayne…and it’s not a coincidence,” he acknowledged with a chuckle. “Basically, smarter people than me had several suggestions and one of them was the name Blake Rayne. Since I’ve been a huge Batman and comic fan throughout my life, I immediately thought ‘that’s it’.”
In step with the movie’s core theme of identity, Rayne said reconnecting to his faith and Christian roots later in his adulthood has helped him better navigate his new identity now as a “musician-turned-actor.”
“The only reason I am here today and in this movie is that God took over control of my life. I had no idea what I was getting into when I started acting,” he said with a laugh. “I have to say I’ve been honored and blessed along the way but I can’t take any credit that’s for sure.”
Rayne is currently on a publicity tour performing original music from “The Identical.” Fans can check him out on Twitter @BlakeRayne and Facebook.com/therealblakerayne. For more information on the movie and original soundtrack, please visit theidenticalmovie.com.