Famous actor Mark Wahlberg revealed that he received resistance from Hollywood and the Catholic Church about his faith-based movie “Father Stu.” Still, he felt the world needed to experience the powerful testimony. The devout Catholic spent several years pitching the religious drama to Hollywood studios. But in his words, “Hollywood doesn’t make films like this.”

The movie is based on actual events and tells the story of boxer-turned-priest Father Stuart Long and his incredible journey from “self-destruction to redemption.”

Wahlberg, who partially used his own money to fund the film, plays Father Stu. He is joined on-screen by Academy Award-winner Mel Gibson, who plays his father, Bill Long. The Sony Pictures film features heavy vulgarity and is rated R. Still, it’s inspiring at its core, sharing the power of transformation in Christ.

“It’s so nice to hear the kind of reaction that we’re hearing and people all being touched by the film for one reason or another,” Wahlberg shared with The Christian Post. “Nothing worse than being like, ‘OK, I’m obligated to go out there promote with you because I was paid to do the movie.’”

Wahlberg continued, “It’s a different thing when you actually paid for the movie yourself. But the movie was so blessed, and really many times there was a real intercession from some sort of higher power; I would have to say it would be God.” In a SiriusXM interview with Cardinal Dolan, Wahlberg discussed how he felt that the film chose him.

Wahlberg spent six “slow years” trying to get to where the movie would finally be made. When the time came, the project was filmed in 30 days during the pandemic in 2021. After combing through many failed scripts, it was the script by Rosalind Ross that captured Father Stu’s true essence. So Wahlberg asked Ross to both write and direct the film. However, the struggles didn’t stop there.

According to Wahlberg, Hollywood wasn’t the only entity resisting the film. He said, “I was met with resistance not only from studios to make this movie, but also from the Church, which I was really surprised about,” Wahlberg said. “But then I realized, they opened to Page 1, and Bill’s using the F word, and in Page 2, he used it again. Then next thing you know, ‘this is vulgar, and this is unacceptable’ without really understanding what the message was.”

However, Wahlberg maintained that the movie is about “love, hope, and redemption,” showing that “nobody is beyond redemption.” The actor admitted that he was worried about sending the film to certain people, including the archbishop. Wahlberg said that the archbishop’s most significant issue with the film is the vulgar language. However, after watching the movie in its entirety, he understood that it was part of Father Stu’s journey. Wahlberg also admitted that he still uses foul language but wants to promote God’s message of acceptance and transformation.

The Diocese of Helena in Montana, under which Father Stu served, praised Wahlberg’s passion for making the film, saying in a statement that it appreciates “the thoughtful and diligent work of the production team.”

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