Nashville, Tenn. — “Duck Dynasty” stars Korie and Sadie Robertson have been cast in a film about the 1999 Columbine school shooting, entitled “I’m Not Ashamed.” Bella Robertson will also be acting in the faith-based film that focuses on the short-but-influential life of 17-year-old Rachel Scott.
Scott was the first victim to be killed at the Littleton, Colorado, school. She captured world attention after having been shot to death when it was reported she told the shooters, who also happened to be her classmates, that she believed in God.
Big Film Factory Producer Chuck Howard said he was thrilled to have the Robertsons aboard. The family has become famous for their funny and faith-filled interactions between family members and friends on their popular A&E reality TV show.
“All of the ‘Duck Dynasty’ people, they’re really incredible,” Mr. Howard told The Washington Times. “They really are what you see.”
Sadie Robertson, 17, was offered the lead role of Rachel Scott, but according to Mr. Howard, she didn’t feel up to the challenge. She instead accepted the smaller role of Scott’s cousin.
“She called back and said she said, ‘You know what? I don’t think I can pull off a complete lead like this. I’m not ready to do that,’” Mr. Howard said. “But she added, ‘I have to be in this movie, though. I want to be in this movie.’”
“She [Scott] was saved by her cousins in Louisiana, so it worked out perfect,” Mr. Howard said, noting that the Robertsons also reside in Louisiana. “They [the Robertsons] are from Louisiana. Everything worked out the way it was supposed to.”
Relative newcomer Masey McLain, who has experience working in film and television commercials, has been cast to play Scott.
Ms. Robertson’s sister, Bella Robertson, 12, will also be playing one of Scott’s cousins. The girls’ mother, Korie Robertson, has been cast as Scott’s aunt.
Sadie is also acting in “God’s Not Dead 2: He’s Surely Alive,” a sequel to the popular Pure Flix produced faith-based film released last year.
“Rachel was definitely a role model to her generation, and it’s obvious that God has lifted up Sadie Robertson as a role model for this generation. We are so honored that Sadie has joined the cast,” said casting director Nise Davies.
Production for “I’m Not Ashamed,” which is being co-produced by Visible Pictures, began in May and is scheduled for release April 20, 2016, which will mark the 17th anniversary of the shooting that left 13 people dead, including the shooters. The 17th anniversary release date was also chosen because Scott was 17 at the time of her death.
During a marketing conference in Nashville Wednesday at Our Savior Lutheran Church, Sadie said she was excited to be a part of the film, which is being directed by Brian Baugh (“The Comeback Kids”).
“One thing that’s really drawn me to this is that it really goes beyond a movie, it’s really going to be a movement,” said Sadie. “A lot of teens struggle with being bold at school and being afraid — and not just teens, adults too. And so I think it can hit all ages.”
Sadie said that most Christians shy away from revealing their faith for fear of being ridiculed and ostracized.
“Rachel gave her life for her faith. But, oh man, it’s something that’s tough to talk about. However, it’s something that all teens need to realize and recognize because they need to know if they’re going to go all in or not.”
Visible Pictures Executive Producer Benny Proffitt said the film’s story largely follows Scott’s numerous journal entries.
“Rachel wrote in her journals that she would one day touch the lives of millions,” Mr. Proffitt said. “We are honored to help make this dream a reality.”
Mr. Howard said the increased popularity and box office success of faith-based films has caught the attention of Hollywood. Though financing has become easier, Mr. Howard said that Hollywood still largely avoids overt Christian story lines.
“They still have a hard time saying the name of Jesus,” he said.
A major Hollywood studio offered to buy the rights to the film for $26 million. However, the offer was declined. “I’m not Ashamed” was funded through private donors.
“Our commitment is to the integrity of the project,” Mr. Proffitt said.
Mr. Howard said that a majority of the film’s profits will be donated to Christian missions around the world.
Churches are being enlisted to help market the film. For more information, visit ImNotAshamedFilm.com. A trailer for the film, along with interviews with the producer and Scott’s mother, Beth Nemo, are available at the website.