What do Jane Seymour, Ernie Hudson, Kevin Sorbo, Ted McGinley, Corbin Bernsen and Joe Mantegna have in common? They were all at Movieguide’s 24th Annual “Faith & Values Awards Gala.” The show, which will be broadcast on Reelz Feb. 22, has been called “the Christian Oscars” and highlights films that are faith-based and/or focus on family values.
Started by Dr. Ted Baehr some three-plus decades ago, Movieguide is a many-faceted faith-based organization that publishes a magazine and website as well as hosts the gala that not only gives out awards but also commissions grants to writers creating value-based work. Dr. Baehr and several of the stars — Jane Seymour, Mr. Sorbo, Mr. Bersen, Ernie Hudson and Mr. Mantegna — discussed the show and what faith means to them.
Question: Why did you start the MovieGuide awards?
Ted Baehr: I started the organization in 1978. I had grown up in the entertainment industry. I was a very wild and wooly character with some of my best friends dropping into the abyss.
I had a transformation in 1975. I went from being a hard-core leftist to a right-wing fundamentalist fanatic. We started Movieguide to try to be more impactful in the business in a positive way [and] help more people to be transformed.
Q: What brings you here tonight?
Jane Seymour: I’m presenting the award for the movie for mature audiences. And tomorrow night the movie I produced.
Kevin Sorbo: I’m actually presenting tonight. My movie, “God’s Not Dead,” won best movie last year. This year I’m presenting the award for best movie.
Corbin Bersen: I’m here to celebrate these wonderful films that often don’t get enough recognition and lend my support. Honor all these wonderful filmmakers that step out and do something that is inspirational.
Ernie Hudson: I’m here to present an award. I wasn’t really aware of the award show until they asked me to come. I guess it’s been going on for a number of years now.
Joe Mantegna: I hosted last year, and they asked me to host again this year. It’s a really great event, he kind of films and television shows that it celebrates. Family-friendly faith-based kinds of television shows are not only important for the public, but they are important for our business.
Ted McGinley: Well, the film I was in, “Do You Believe?,” was nominated. And I think I might, perhaps, be nominated for something. [laughs] It’s an unusual opportunity in Hollywood to celebrate these films that are often poo-pooed by the establishment.
Q: How important is faith when it comes to choosing your roles?
JS: You know Dr. Quinn, I imagine, was faith-based. But it was a general faith in humanity. It was not specific to any religion. I have faith in humanity, and I appreciate everybody’s cultural beliefs.
KS: I gotta be honest, it’s not like the first criteria. If I like a project, I’m gonna do it. If I read the first 20 pages of a script and if I’m hooked, I’m gonna continue. If I’m not interested, I move on. Being a father of three kids, it changes your perspective for sure.
CB: I wouldn’t say faith is a driving motivational factor. As an actor I like to explore the human condition with the idea that ultimately God is there for us all.
EH: I think, as an actor, we tell stories. We are part of the storytelling process, and I want to tell those stories that reflect my faith and my beliefs. I love being a part of those films that at least aspire to reflect the better part of human beings.
JM: It’s not that I look for something like that. But when it happens, it happens big. When I did “Joan of Arcadia” I was moved to tears when I read the script. That was an instance where I really felt it was the material that made it happen for me.
TM: There are certain things that I won’t do, that I’ve never done. that I just am not interested in doing. But in general, acting is a reflection of all society. You are asked to do evil characters, wonderful characters. I lucked out in this film that I got a character I can completely relate to.
Q: What do you have coming up?
KS: I just wrapped up a movie called “Joseph and Mary” that will be out in June in theaters. I play Joseph, stepdad to some kid named Jesus. Then I leave in three weeks to shoot a “Backdraft” kind of thing in Toronto.
CB: I just finished a film called “Miracle Wash.” I finished writing the script last night. Well, as much as one finishes before you start filming. My company is releasing “Inlawfully Yours” in the spring.
EH: “God Is Not Dead 2” is coming out in March. I do two television shows. “Grace & Frankie,” where I play Lily Tomlin’s boyfriend. We’re going into our third season. And a show called “Graves” with Nick Nolte and Sela Ward.
And I was invited to be a little something in the new “Ghostbusters” film. We all came back. Bill Murray, Danny Aykroyd, Annie Potts, Sigourney Weaver. The script is really good and the ladies are really funny. I’m just very thankful to be a part of it.
JM: I’m on “Criminal Minds,” which is a different kind of show. We are in our 11th season. I’ve been very blessed. I’ve got no complaints.
TM: We did a Hallmark two-part movie called “The Bridge.” We had part one come out this past Christmas. But part two wasn’t due until next Christmas. But there was an online appeal. So part two comes out March 20.
I also do the animated series “Transformers: Robots In Disguise” every Thursday. We’re in our fourth season.
The 24th annual Movieguide awards air on Reelz Feb. 22 and 24.