A new movie that is being directed and produced by Bethlehem native and television/film star Daniel Roebuck is beginning filming in the Christmas City.
Roebuck–of Matlock fame–also stars in The Hail Mary, in which he plays a bitter loner who finds redemption by coaching a rag-tag football team at an all-boys Catholic school.
A number of Roebuck’s independent projects have drawn on his spirituality, which is rooted in his Catholic upbringing, and he visited the former St. Theresa School in Hellertown to address students several years ago.
Roebuck is a 1981 graduate of Bethlehem Catholic High School, which was where a pep rally featuring many of The Hail Mary’s youthful cast members was recently held.
“We are making faith-filled, family entertainment for the entire world,” he confidently told an enthusiastic audience that filled the school gymnasium’s bleachers. “When you watch this movie, you’re not going to believe what you see.”
Nuns play integral roles in The Hail Mary, and Roebuck noted that they have done the same thing in his life.
“This movie is my love letter to them as much as it is my love letter to the Lehigh Valley,” he said, calling real-life nuns “saints on Earth.”
The Hail Mary will be filmed at various locations around Bethlehem over the next month, and Roebuck said tax-deductible donations are needed to help complete the production.
“We need help with meals. We need restaurant donations. We need to feed approximately 75 people a day,” he said. Other needs he highlighted were things gas generators, water and pop-up tents.
Roebuck said he will also be seeking many extras for a pivotal scene that’s to be filmed in the Bethlehem Area School District stadium, which takes thousands of people to fill.
In terms of COVID-19 precautions, he said masks won’t be worn by anyone acting in the film, “because we’re making a movie for forever.”
The Hail Mary itself is a project developed by Roebuck’s 501(c)3 organization, A Channel of Peace, which is “dedicated to producing and supporting films and other multimedia projects and endeavors that provide insight into the advancement of family, faith in God, and the values of love, forgiveness, good works and gratitude,” according to AChannelOfPeace.org.
Roebuck said The Hail Mary will be released “sometime in 2022 or 2023.”
“I’m grateful to everyone who prays for our efforts,” he told the enthusiastic crowd at his alma mater. “We’ll see you at the movies.”