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Fireproof's Leading Lady Erin Bethea Talk's to AWOE Magazine Publisher Jen G
"(Fireproof) A win back her heart story that I just thought was romantic and really unique."
AWOE: How did you first hear about Fireproof?
Erin Bethea Well I grew up at Sherwood, that’s my home church. I had a small part in Facing the Giants that they let me do right after I graduated college. Then I moved to Orlando and of course I heard from my family that they were doing another movie. So I called up and said so tell me when auditions are because I want to come up and audition for another small role like I did in Facing the Giants. I’d take a week or so vacation and come up and shoot something. So that’s how I heard about it and that’s how I got involved.
AWOE: What was it about the script that made you decide, okay I’m going to take a leave of absents, I’m going to volunteer, I’m going to be right there?
Erin Bethea Oh my goodness, it was really, really, unexpected. I was really only planning on taking a week, maybe 2 weeks of vacation to come up and shoot something. Cause I’d talked to Alex and he said yeah, “You know we have some nurses at the hospital they’re referring to as the leading lady that you might be right for. We could probably shoot those out in a week and you’d be good.” And I was like, “Awe good, I’ll audition for a nurse.”
So I went up along with everybody else at the audition as Alex took us through the storyline and what happens in the film. Then we received some pieces of script to read over for our audition. Just having heard the story and then reading some of the specific scenes that were Catherine and Caleb or Catherine and other people, I just really fell in love with her. I just thought she was really real. I liked that she wasn’t likeable all the time because we’re not always likeable. So I like that she wasn’t the victim or a cute little wife. She kind of stood up for herself and I thought a lot of women would relate to her. I loved the story. It was really unique as far as love stories go. I think we see a lot of when people first fall in love and then they finally get together. Or the other love story that we see that involves them breaking up. Two people are in love, they breakup, they divorce, and then they go out and they find new love. It’s wonderful again and it’s magical. But I don’t think we see the story of two people who were once in love, now are not in love, and one of them decides that he’s going to make this work no matter what. A win back her heart story that I just thought was romantic and really unique.
So when I auditioned for the movie I asked them, “Can I please read Catherine’s part I, know I’m too young to play her, but can I please read her part?” They said, ‘Yeah, okay Erin.’ I guess they liked what they saw because they made her a little younger then she was originally going to be and they let me play her.
Immediately when I found out I was going to be doing Catherine I knew that can’t be shot in a week (Laughs). So I just knew I really wanted to be a part of the film. I thought it was a really special story and thought it would make an impact. Still my job wasn’t allowing me to leave so I said, “Well then I’m out of here.” (Laughs) But I got very lucky and they waited until we finished shooting. They called me and not only offered me my job back but an even better job that I really wanted! So it went really well, it was perfect. It was all what God had planned I think.
AWOE: That was like divine intervention. You put God first, and He fixed it. That’s so cool. A lot of times people put God last and they think there protecting themselves. Then all of sudden everything else falls apart, but you put Him first and He fixed it.
Erin Bethea That’s how it is. Our dreams are His dreams too, what we want for ourselves. He wants the best for us too. I think we forget that sometimes.
AWOE: Yeah, that is awesome. I mean that’s just a testimony in itself.
"...love is demonstrated in actions and it’s not always that mushy
gushy feeling. Sometimes it’s just something that you have
to commit to doing, it’s a decision."
Erin Bethea It is, I love that story. I think it’s such a great example of how God works.
AWOE: How did Fireproof affect your thinking as a single woman, and seeing what a married woman was going through?
Erin Bethea: Of course I know people who have struggled in their marriage, and I know all the things that contribute to an un-happy marriage. But to have to live them, act them out and try to make them real was a little bit different. I think it was definitely eye opening to the realities of how hard it is to share your life with somebody. I think a lot of times a young single girl like myself and other girls, when we think about marriage we really just think about the wedding! Like I want to wear a dress you know?
We don’t really think about the commitment part or how hard it can be so I think it was definitely eye opening for me and definitely taught me a lot of things that I’ll carry into my marriage in the future. I feel like I’ve already had some pre-marital counseling. So it’s good, I feel like I’m one step ahead!
AWOE: Was it hard going through the process of being Catherine with this husband who was giving all this love and having to play a woman who wasn’t giving anything back?
Erin Bethea It was really neat to play. I mean I knew that we were shooting it. I remember so many times looking at Alex when we were doing certain scenes saying, “Right now everybody in the theatre is hating me!” But I think that’s how a lot of women would react. I think it’s real life. From the minute he started being nice it’s not going to be like, “Oh all is forgiven,” You know, it takes awhile, it takes time. You have to go through a real change.
AWOE: That is true, so true for singles and married couples. Why do you think it’s important for both sides to see the film?
Erin Bethea For married couples I think if your marriage is hurting it’s a great reminder of what a marriage is suppose to be like. The foundation of your marriage being Jesus Christ and how important that is. If you make Him the center of your marriage and both of you are revolving around Him you’re not going to be to far from each other. So I think that’s great. For a couple who have a happy marriage, it’s just a great refreshing love story for them to see. I think it’s just wonderful to watch these two people on their journey back in love with each other.
For singles I think there’s so many great messages and the same for marriage couples. I talk to a lot of singles because I’m single. First of all it’s great preparation if you’re ever hoping to be married, but beyond that the story is really about unconditional love. That’s something that does not just apply to marriage. I mean that applies to your relationship with God, it applies to your relationship with your family, that love is demonstrated in actions and it’s not always that mushy gushy feeling. Sometimes it’s just something that you have to commit to doing, it’s a decision. It applies to your relationship with God. Sometimes we don’t feel like reading the Bible and spending time alone with God. I don’t have time to do that today or I don’t feel like doing that today. But by putting that love into action and disciplining ourselves to do it we fall back in love where we should be.
And there’s great stuff about who you’re listening too, and who you surround yourself with, and who you’re getting advice from. I mean you see in the movie Catherine having friends who probably have her best interest in heart, but they’re giving her terrible advice. I mean they’re really not the people she should be going to or listening to. Where as Caleb goes to the right people, he goes to his Dad and he goes to Michael at the firehouse the two people in his life who love him enough to tell him the truth even though the truth isn’t always something he wants to hear. So I think that’s an important lesson in the movie also.
Read Part 2 of Erin Bethea's Interview March 9, 2009