When Kirk Cameron first watched a documentary about one woman’s decision to adopt instead of having an abortion and the story of her son and the couple who adopted him, he knew it was one he wanted to bring to the big screen.
“I saw this little 30-minute story about a young, 18-year-old girl who rose off the abortion table at the last minute; she decides to keep her child and secretly [carried him] full term and gave birth,” the 51-year-old actor recalled.
“She moved in with her boyfriend so that her parents never knew that she was even pregnant. She places this young boy for adoption; he's adopted by this family. And he then, 19 years later, reaches out to his biological mother and wants to meet her. She thinks he probably wants to tell her how much he hates her for abandoning him, and the opposite is true. He wants to tell her, ‘Thank you for this life you've given me and this family you've given me,’ because he loves his family.’ It’s based on a true story. And when I watched this, I thought we've got to turn this into a movie.”
To bring his vision to life, Cameron recruited Stephen and Alex Kendrick, the Christian filmmaking brothers who are behind a slew of faith-based hits, including “War Room and “Flywheel.” The actor last worked with the Kendricks for the 2008 film “Fireproof.”
“I said, ‘Guys, what do you think?’ And they said, ‘We think we want to make it with you, so let's do this,” the “Growing Pains” actor recalled. “And that was three years ago. And so finally, we're here.”
The result of that collaboration is “Lifemark,” debuting as a Fathom Event in theaters nationwide Sept. 9-15. Starring Cameron, Isabelle Almoyan and Ezra DuVall, the film follows the story of David Scotton as he embarks on a journey to meet the birth parents he never knew with the support of his loving adoptive parents.
“There's lots of real life in this movie, including dialogue that we didn't even script; we just use the words that the real people spoke to us when we asked them what they said to one another and how the whole thing happened. We just wrote it down because we couldn't script anything,” Cameron said.
The real-life family behind the story was heavily involved in the film, even playing some small roles in the film. The way the whole story came together, he said, was nothing short of miraculous.
“We started this movie three years ago, and we had so many delays because of COVID, all the lockdowns and we were just trusting God, that He would open doors at the right time, and for Him to bring His favor to rest upon this movie.
"So as we began writing the script and casting for the roles, it was unbelievable how everything began to just fall into place.”
For both Cameron, adoption is deeply personal: The actor’s wife, Chelsea Noble, was adopted and the couple have four adopted children together. Five of the people he loves most, he said, “were one doctor appointment away from not existing.”
“So this is very important to me; it's why I'm so passionate about it,” he said. “And I know that there are millions of others who will feel this way when they watch the movie, whether they're longing for children, whether they're considering adopting, whether they're in an unplanned pregnancy, or [they have] children in the womb.”
The timing of the debut of “Lifemark,” Cameron said, is “God-ordained.” When filmmakers conceived of the film, they never predicted the U.S. Supreme Court would rule to overturn Roe v. Wade, the 1973 landmark case that made abortion legal nationwide.
“This is such unbelievable timing for a movie,” the actor said. “This isn't just a movie-going experience. This is something more than that because of the cultural moment that we're living in right now. I mean, whoever would have thought that for 50 years, a law that has been locked into our culture would be overthrown at this time? And now a movie is coming out that can bring hope and healing to a fractured nation that is divided up over something that is so polarizing that people are rioting in the streets and hurling death threats at people. And we can't afford to have more fracture and division in the nation.”
But despite the film’s subject matter, Cameron stressed that it's “not a political movie,” nor is it necessarily about abortion. Rather, it’s a movie that is “pro-family, pro-love, pro-forgiveness, pro-reconciliation, it is pro-Gospel, and it has the fruit of the Spirit all over it.”
“This is a movie that happened in real life. So we didn't write it. There's no bait and switch. There's no gotcha at the end of the movie. This is just how it actually happened. And it's got heart and humor; it's got lots of action,” he said.
In an increasingly polarized society, Cameron challenged the Church to approach the issue of life from a place of love, asking, “How do we love this mother who has an unplanned or unwanted pregnancy? How can we help her? How can we support her? How do we help this child? What does this child need, who is growing and has this bright future ahead of him or her? How do we help the father who may feel like he doesn't know what to do?”
“‘Lifemark’ provides a loving solution to all parties involved,” he emphasized. “And I think if we begin to look at this issue, not through a political lens, but we look at it through the lens of love, which is what Jesus told us to do — ‘Love your neighbor as yourself,’ even, ‘Love your enemies’ — love can bring us clarity on this issue. It can bring us the courage to do the difficult things, and it brings us compassion.”
Still, when it comes to the topic of life, the actor stressed the importance of speaking up and refusing to be silent. He contended that when the Church has been silent throughout history, “terrible things happened.”
“Terrible things happen all over the world when the Church is silent. And then when we try to speak up, it's too late,” he warned.
“And I think we're reaching that critical point in America's history and culture, don't you think, When we look at the things that divide us in this country. In fact, I don't think we have so much that actually divides us, but I think that there are forces that are using the mainstream media to tell us that we're so divided, that we're irreconcilable, that we need to burn the whole thing down and start over.”
The country is divided over countless issues, from religion to vaccination status, the actor said, but “what we need more than anything is to stop fighting and look to God for our answers.”
“He gives them to us in His Word, and when we and we look through the lens of love, we can solve problems and come together in unity,” he said. “So, Church, we need to not only speak up, we need to stand up. And we need to begin living out this life that we tell others about, we need to live it out in our marriages, we need to live it out in our homes with our kids, we need to do so much that we've neglected.”
And supporting pro-family, pro-adoption films like “Lifemark,” Cameron said, is a good place to start. At the end of the film, viewers hear from a woman who's been on both sides of the abortion issue talking about adoption, while the Gospel is shared along with resources for those looking to adopt.
“You can see it with your friends and family,” he said. “Regardless of what they believe politically, they're going to enjoy it because it has heart and humor. It has action and adventure. And it's got a clear Gospel presentation at the very end. … So make sure you go see it and I think it'll give you a great place to start speaking up.”
“Lifemark” will premiere as a Fathom Event for one week starting on Sept. 9, in over 1,400 theaters.
Leah M. Klett is a reporter for The Christian Post. She can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org