Friday, March 26, 2004


Act One alumn, Clare Sera, was interviewed for a two part series on Zenit about being a Christian in Hollywood. Clare is one of the writers on Curious George for Universal Pictures/Imagine Entertainment. Clare is also an actor and can be seen in the Princess Diary movies. Here is the interview.

Here is a snippet to get you to click on the above...

Q: How can Christians gauge how much Hollywood influences their lives? What are questions that people, and especially parents, can ask themselves in order to determine its pervasiveness?

Sera: Again, ask yourself: "What is my heart investing in?" That is the question. To truly live your life, there's a constant re-evaluation -- and unpleasant as it sounds -- thinking that's necessary.

You have to ask, "What do I want? What does my soul ache for?" Then take stock to see if what you say you want is lining up with what you are doing and pursuing. And do this every night.

Ours is an inward journey and it takes vigilance to guard it. Hollywood is most interested in the outward journey -- status, looks and instant gratification. Its stories claim to take us on a journey of the heart, but Hollywood is most often wrong about what's true and what's good for the heart.

Unfortunately, Hollywood doesn't know any better. It thinks sex equals intimacy and that by encouraging you to make sure you "get yours" -- in regard to career, status, whatever -- that you're guarding your "self." Hollywood really doesn't know how wrong it is.

But think about it -- we do know and we can barely believe it. Sacrifice brings joy? Intimacy means vulnerability and honesty? That's tough stuff. That's why Christ was a radical -- nobody likes the "s" word. Sacrifice yourself for others who aren't even worthy of it. And of course the movies that really move us all, both nonbelievers and believers, are the ones with a message of great sacrifice. "Braveheart" springs immediately to mind.

So how do we guard our hearts and remain alert? You ask questions. Become Socratic with yourself and your friends. Seek peace of heart and pursue it. Work at it. Look for [the Holy Spirit], for his ways in the stories you watch and hear.

You watch "Big Fish" and walk away saying, "So what is 'truth'? What's at the heart of truth? What details are important? Why did God give us a story of a seven-day creation, a man in the belly of a whale, a tower of Babel? Why isn't the Bible an encyclopedia of fact?"

I found "Big Fish" to be the most exciting movie theologically that I've seen in years -- it caused me to really question what's legalistic as opposed to what's true.

You watch a movie like "Love Actually" and when you walk away you say, "OK, they represented love as a pretty and shallow experience. Do I want to invest in that? Do I want to start fantasizing about having relationships like that?"

If I find I am being drawn to pretty, shallow relationships, I need to run from the theater to the cross to reindoctrinate myself to what real love is. It requires prayerful thought in order to survive unscathed in a culture that is this in-your-face.

By the way, a well-established, fellow screenwriter in Hollywood pointed out to me the "truth" of the movie "Love Actually." He is a nonreligious fellow who was sad at this movie's portrayal of love -- this can't be love actually, he mourned. And it's not, actually. It's really not.

Ah! The exhilerated impulse to shout out, "Yippie, it's NOT me!" Yes, Virginia, there are lots of other Christians in Hollywood. Great ones. Go Clare! Just in time for me to disappear into my doctorate...

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