For the makers of the new romantic comedy Forever My Girl, portraying small-town life meant acknowledging the role that faith plays in those communities. The film, centering on a superstar country singer who rediscovers love and friendship in his hometown, also features an important message of forgiveness and second chances.
Liam Page (Alex Roe), returning to town as a famous musician, revisits relationships he destroyed when he left, including one with his father and Josie Preston (Jessica Rothe), the girl he left at the altar. The community has moved on after the hurt of losing him, but how they respond to his return is influenced by their faith. In one scene, a pastor delivering a sermon describes the kind of forgiveness needed to repair broken relationships.
"I think what's great about the movie is it wouldn't be a true story (without that faith element)," said Mickey Liddell, who produced the film under his LD Entertainment banner. "There's even a scene where Liam is sitting on the church steps, and you feel that he doesn't deserve to go in there. In small towns, when you have faith, that's where you go. In reality, they love him, but he has to do a lot of forgiving of himself."
The movie, based on the young adult novel by Heidi McLaughlin, takes place in the small town of St. Augustine, Louisiana. The story of a rapidly-rising star appealed to the producers, who see stories like Liam's play out in Hollywood constantly. Although a church wasn't mentioned in the novel, Liddell said church scenes were added to help authenticate the setting.
"What small town wouldn't have that?" Liddell said, referring to the faith community in the film. "That's why they are so tight-knit, and that is a big part of the story."
Another big element of the film is the country music soundtrack, growing out of Liam's story and built on the songs of Jackson Odell and Brett Boyett. Roe, who's British, adopted a believable Southern accent and even a country twang. He's joined on the soundtrack by Travis Tritt, Lauren Alaina and Little Big Town's Phillip Sweet.
Liddell, who recently produced Megan Leavey and The Zookeeper's Wife, said the film's fun, upbeat tone fits perfectly with the type of films LDD Entertainment prefers to release.
"I wanted something where we could all have a good time, something we felt like was what the world needed right now," he said. "People are always saying they want to see more movies like this but they have to go to the theater and see them to get more.
DEWAYNE HAMBY is a communications specialist and journalist covering faith-based music, entertainment, books and the retail industry. He is also the editor of the White Wing Messenger, director of communications for the Church of God of Prophecy and author of the book Gratitude Adjustment. Connect with him at or on twitter—@dewaynehamby.
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