Christian Writer C. S. Lewis (“The Chronicles of Naria,” “Mere Christianity”) is the subject of the new biographical film “The Most Reluctant Convert: The Untold Story of C.S. Lewis,” releasing for one-night-only on November 3. The film, directed by Norman Stone (BBC’s “Shadowlands”, “The Narnia Code”) and starring Max McLean, Nicholas Ralph, and Eddie Ray Martin, traces the celebrated author’s spiritual journey from nonbeliever to Christian apologist.
Acclaimed theatre actor McLean is featured as middle-aged Lewis looking back on the events that moved him from vigorous debunker of Christianity to become the most influential Christian writer of the past century. Says McLean, “This story has a remarkable ability to engage audiences regardless of their religious belief. Lewis applied his formidable and self-deprecating wit to engage audiences about his own trying and painful experiences.”
Nicholas Ralph, star of the PBS Masterpiece hit All Creatures Great and Small, plays Lewis as a young man who has a terrible relationship with his father and goes off to the trenches in the Great War, before becoming a fellow at Oxford University. The film introduces Eddie Ray Martin as the childhood Lewis, who loses his mother to cancer and then renounces his faith.
The Most Reluctant Convert is a ringside seat to the story of one of the 20th century’s great thinkers, as he battles with himself and ultimately finds faith. The film explores the impact friends had on the dedicated atheist who was forced to question his own disbelief such as: J.R.R. Tolkien (played by Tom Glenister, Doc Martin, Vera), Hugo Dyson (played by David Shields, The Crown, Doctor Who) and Owen Barfield (played by Hubert Barton, Jekyll & Hyde, Deep Blue Sea).
The 17-member cast also includes: David Gant (W.T. Kilpatrick), Richard Harrington (Albert Lewis), Amy Alexander (Flora Lewis) and Michael Ward (The Vicar). The production includes 190 extras and 270 costumes designed by Poli Kyriacou (Downton Abbey – Asst. Costume Designer). Makeup was designed by Nicole Stafford (The Death of Stalin). The executive producers are Matthew Jenkins (“Murder on the Orient Express”) and Ken Denison (“The Lion King – Broadway”).
The film is based on the hit U.S. play “C.S. Lewis on Stage: The Most Reluctant Convert.” Adapted by and starring Max McLean (“Mark’s Gospel” – Jeff Award, “The Screwtape Letters”). Before the pandemic, it had been performed 287 times in 64 cities and on college campuses since its 2016 premiere. With extended runs in New York, Chicago and Washington, D.C. The Most Reluctant Convert has been seen by more than 100,000 people. The play and the film are based primarily on Lewis’ memoir, Surprised by Joy, which is licensed from The C.S. Lewis Company.
At age 19, Lewis witnessed firsthand the waste of life in the trenches of France during World War I, concluding that “either there was no god behind the universe, a god who is indifferent to good and evil, or worse, an evil god.” Yet, Lewis could not accept the materialist view that meaning, rationality, or purpose, were just the accidental results of physics and biochemistry. As a 16-year-old, he had picked up a copy of George MacDonald’s Phantastes, which he said, “baptized my imagination.” MacDonald, along with G.K. Chesterton and the influence of his robust group of young scholars such as Tolkien, Barfield and Dyson, moved him further up the theistic path until he finally “admitted that God was God, knelt and prayed, perhaps the most dejected, reluctant convert in all England.”
Worldwide, Lewis books have sold nearly a quarter of a billion copies.
The film is produced by Fellowship for Performing Arts in association with 1A Productions and distributed by Trafalgar Releasing.
“The Most Reluctant Convert” will release around the country on Nov. 3. Find info and detailed city list at: www.CSLewisMovie.com.