Here’s the latest from the crossroads of faith, media & culture: 03/15/23

The other Ford. Not to be confused with 80-year-old Harrison (who’s also now doing westerns), 26-year-old Colin Ford has been acting since he was a kid and over the years has become known for his roles in sci-fi and superhero sagas. He recently starred in the Netflix post-apocalyptic dramedy series Daybreak. Before that he spent three seasons on CBS’ Under the Dome based on the Stephen King science fiction novel. He also did six episodes of the CW fantasy drama Supernatural playing a younger version of the show’s protagonist Sam Winchester (Jared Padalecki). He’s one of the few actors to appear in both DC and Marvel Universe projects, having appeared as a child in an episode of the young Superman series Smallville and more recently (and significantly) playing Steve Denvers, the brother of Captain Marvel in the 2019 movie. He can also be heard as a cast member of the scripted sci-fi podcast adventure Solar. So, the faith-themed rodeo drama A Thousand Tomorrows (based on the Karen Kingsbury novel), along with four episodes of the CW’s current Walker reboot (also starring Padalecki), is a bit of a change of pace for the young actor.

JWK: So, what led you to sign onto A Thousand Tomorrows?

Colin Ford: I’m not exactly sure how the project got to me. I received a call from my agent one day telling me I was offered the role of Cody Gunnar. So, I started to do a deep dive into the script and into Karen Kingsbury and the novel. After reading the book, reading the script and kind of falling in love with the characters and the world of A Thousand Tomorrows, it was a no-brainer for me.

JWK: What was it about the story and the script that you liked?

CF: When I was a kid growing up, I loved riding horses growing up, going fishing and checking out the rodeos at Alisal Ranch which is a ranch out here in California. When I kind of saw all of those themes on the page mixed with the faith element of the script, I was really excited to portray a national champion bull rider. I thought it was gonna be awesome.

JWK: What would you like people to know about your character Cody Gunnar?

CF: I think one of the biggest takeaways from the script overall and something that my character really faces is that life is constantly giving us new challenges to face and, through our faith, we can get through those challenges.

JWK: Do you bring a personal faith into the role?

CF: Yeah, I’m a Christian. Ironically, the night before I got the offer for the job I was just kind of praying, asking for direction in my career and in my life and the very next day I got the offer for A Thousand Tomorrows. So, it kinda felt like it was the right thing to do. I felt like I was in the right place at the right time.

JWK: I recently spoke with Rose Reid, your co-star and love interest in the show. What was your relationship with her like off screen?

CF: It was great. We became such good friends while we were filming. Me, Rose and the rest of the cast, we spent a lot of our weekends and week nights together. We got a chance to go out and eat after work. We always found ways to spend time with each other. It was great! We had a quick shoot – 28 or 30 days, something like that. We had a lot of long hours but we got through it together…It was a wonderful time.

JWK: You have a lot of sci-fi and superhero stuff on your resume – and here you are starring in a faith-themed modern western. Was that switch of genres in any way jarring for you?

CF: Not really. Look, I’m an actor. That’s my job. I look for interesting stories and I look for interesting characters. If it makes sense and it’s a fit then I want to give it a go. I don’t always want to do the same thing. I like to keep it interesting and to always be growing and expanding myself as an actor.

JWK: I take it from how you answered my first question that you may have an affinity for westerns.

CF: I think so. I mean, look, my great-grandfather lived to be 100 and I spent most of my childhood watching movies with him. His favorite thing to do was to sit on his loveseat and watch films. He was a huge John Wayne fan. I just grew up watching every spaghetti western under the sun. So, I think there is a little bit of a (weakness for) the western genre because of how much time I spent with my great-grandfather watching those types of films.

JWK: Do you think with the success of shows like Yellowstone that the western is due for a comeback?

CF: I think so. I think that (the genre) is very interesting. I love period pieces. You mentioned Yellowstone which isn’t a period piece but its prequel series that are coming out now are.  It’s just so interesting to watch and see how people lived at that time and to see what challenges and struggles they faced. I think it makes for great television. I would love to be involved in other productions that have a similar theme going forward.

JWK: Are there any particular movies or TV shows that you really like?

CF: Oh, man, that’s tough. It’s funny you mention it but something that I’m watching right now is the Yellowstone-like Tulsa King. We shot A Thousand Tomorrows in Tulsa. So, when we were driving to the set every day I would see the signs and recently I was like “Well, now I gotta check that out.” So, that’s what’s kind of been on my to-watch list recently but I am going to jump out to the movie theaters this weekend and check out The Jesus Revolution.

JWK: What do you hope people take from A Thousand Tomorrows?

CF: I think that A Thousand Tomorrows shows that people can change. Cody, my character, had monumental growth – coming from a deep place of anger to finally learning how to love…I think that’s a beautiful thing – showing that through sacrifice and patience that anything’s possible.

JWK: You’re next film also is about sports. Instead of rodeo it’s backdrop is baseball. It’s called The Hill. It’s a true story and, like A Thousand Tomorrows, has a faith theme. Care to tell me about that?

CF: I play Ricky Hill. It’s a baseball story but it’s really a father and son coming-of-age story. Dennis Quaid plays my father. Man, he’s a wonderful actor! It was a thrill to get a chance to work with him. It’s a fantastic story. It’s a coming of age story about trials and tribulations and overcoming. It’s like Rudy. It’s an underdog story. I think it’s got something for everyone. It should be coming out in August of this year. I’m really excited for everyone to see it.

JWK: What kind of roles do you see in your future – and do you have any ambitions toward directing, writing and/or producing as well as acting?

CF: I think I’m a little selfish in the sense that I want to do it all. I’ve grown up in the business. I’ve done this my entire life. I don’t know anything else – and I wouldn’t want to do anything else if I had the opportunity. Filmmaking is a huge part of my life. I’d like to expand into directing and producing as well but I think, for now, my focus is just continuing on acting, doing the best things I can and looking forward to coming on board to bigger and greater projects as the years go by.

JWK: As you just alluded to, you started out as a child actor. What were some of your roles?

CF: I did a film when I was young called We Bought a Zoo. I played Matt Damon‘s son in that. That was a wonderful opportunity to get to work with Matt, Scarlett Johannson and Cameron Crowe. I was on a series called Under the Dome when in high school. That was on CBS. When I was younger I did an animated series called Jake and the Never Land Pirates which ran on Disney Junior for several years. That was a great experience. Of all the things that I ever talk about with people, it’s usually Jake and the Neverland Pirates that people grab onto because they usually have young kids that have seen it.

JWK: So, you’re one of those child actors who actually had a good experience.

CF: Oh, I had a wonderful experience! The film industry embraced me with open arms. It’s been wonderful. My parents were supportive as long as I did well in school – which I did. Yeah, it was an incredible experience.

JWK: Final question. Do you think that the story of Cody Gunnar and his family could go on beyond this miniseries?

CF: Yeah, I think so. Look, the A Thousand Tomorrows book series is a three-part series. I think that there is room to grow. I would love to collaborate with team again on another season if we get a chance to be so lucky.

End Note: A new episode of A Thousand Tomorrows drops this Friday on Pure Flix.  

John W. Kennedy is a writer, producer and media development consultant specializing in television and movie projects that uphold positive timeless values, including trust in God.

Encourage one another and build each other up – 1 Thessalonians 5:11

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