Max Ehrich is an actor best known for his role in the daytime television show “The Young and the Restless” and his brief engagement to singer Demi Lovato. His latest film, “Southern Gospel,” which debuts in theaters Friday, is based on true events and chronicles the life of 1960s rock and roll singer Samuel Allen.
The actor prepared for the film by reading Scripture and reexamining his own view of God. During the process, he said, his faith increased immensely. In fact, he was so moved by the film that he chose to get baptized, a significant spiritual step he took for many reasons.
“Something that I definitely leaned on was my faith, which is why I’m saying that this movie was super important,” he explained. “I don’t think that things happen just out of nowhere; I think there’s a reason why and I think that, because I got to work on this project, and I have a character that’s overcoming so many things and has an emotional arc, I was able to use [my personal experience] for the film, actually.”
The film centers around the theme of redemption, which Ehrich hopes will soften people’s hearts and give them a sense of peace.
The film follows Allen’s life from being arrested on a drug charge—a consequence of the wild lifestyle he adopted after years of mistreatment from churchgoers—to a judge dismissing the charges against him if he agreed to speak at churches and schools about the perils of drug addiction. Allen was able to turn his life around and, after coming to faith in Jesus, was baptized and followed in his father’s footsteps by becoming a preacher.
Ehrich believes the film had a profound impact on his life, saying it came “during a very specific time” in his life. He was referring to the tabloid-esque rise and fall of his relationship with Lovato, which he said he leaned on his faith to get through.
“It was very public and people were very intrusive about it,” he said. “I just felt like I needed the protection of God and Jesus during that time and I’d say that was one of the many reasons why I [got baptized].”
Ehrich hopes the film will encourage viewers to think more deeply about the power of redemption and forgiveness, and how it can lead to a more peaceful world.