"Tonight surely answered the 'when are you coming back?' tweets I've been receiving for the past 11 months. Couldn't have been better #RAW"
-- The following was sent out today…
P23 Entertainment and Ridgerock Faith are pleased to announce that "A Masked Saint," a drama of salvation inspired by the life of former pro-wrestler turned Southern Baptist pastor Dr. Chris Whaley, started principal photography Monday, November 4th in Sault Ste. Marie, ON and the surrounding area. Directed by Warren P. Sonoda ("Servitude." "Textuality," "Ham and Cheese"), the film stars Brett Granstaff ("Set Up") in the lead role of Rev.Chris Samuels and features Academy Award-nominated® (1974 Best Actress) and Golden Globe winning® (1969 Best TV Star) actress Diahann Carroll ("White Collar," "Grey's Anatomy," "Dynasty") and retired wrestler (Rowdy) Roddy Piper ("WWF Raw").
"We're excited to bring to the big screen such an inspiring story. We've assembled a wonderful cast and team for this action-packed film that, at its core, deals with the importance of family, faith and community," says Cliff McDowell, Producer at P23 Entertainment.
"A Masked Saint" revolves around the conversion of Chris Samuels (Granstaff), a professional wrestler and family man. His divine calling to become a pastor prompts him to retire from wrestling and move his family to a small town. Yet the battles he faced in the ring are minor compared to the challenges he must overcome in ministry despite being strengthened by the Spirit of God. From an overbearing congregant (Patrick McKenna, "The Rick Mercer Report," "Red Green Show") and failing attendance to mounting bills for church repairs, Samuels has his hands full and his heart challenged to trust in the Lord.
Samuels finds an ally in Miss Edna (Carroll), an elderly woman with Biblical wisdom who gives him the truth about following Jesus in a book of her reflections as she perseveres as a disciple of Christ. Surprised by the mysterious workings of amazing grace, he discovers she is also a wrestling fan and encourages him to use his God given talent to take action, leading him to reconnect with his old colleagues. Afterwards, when Samuels stumbles onto a fight on the seedy side of town, his wrestling skills take down the assailant and a masked vigilante is born.
In order to raise funds, Samuels returns to the ring professionally and things begin to seemingly improve for the church. His life as a pastor and wrestler soon take up most of his time, not to mention Samuels' shrouded crimefighter is now being sought by the police. His talent, as well as his violent secret identity, compromises his ministry as a pastor, and it takes his family and Miss Edna to confront him with the demands required for a life faithful to the Lord.
P23 Entertainment and Ridgerock Faith are working with Hideaway Pictures, a Northern Ontario-based production company, and "A Masked Saint" will be released in theatres across Canada and the U.S. in Summer 2014.