Francesca Battistelli Stands up for Her Children’s Rights in GOD’S NOT DEAD: WE THE PEOPLE
By Cooper Dowd, Senior Staff Writer
Grammy award-winning singer, actress and homeschooling mother Francesca Battistelli also stars in the upcoming movie GOD’S NOT DEAD: WE THE PEOPLE alongside producer David A.R. White.
WE THE PEOPLE is the fourth in the GOD’S NOT DEAD franchise, which began in 2014.
Battistelli said that the opportunity to play a homeschool mother defending the freedom to choose her child’s education was a perfect fit.
“I was homeschooled for most of my life and I homeschool our kiddos, so when we heard about it, it was like this immediate connection point,” Battistelli told Movieguide®. “What’s crazy is it was like two or three weeks from filming and the called out of the blue, and we’d like to offer you the role of Rebecca.”
Aside from experience in theater and a small part in the Erwin brother’s 2015 movie, WOODLAWN, Battistelli said acting was not on her radar.
“I [had] never really done anything like this before, I was like ‘why are they calling me?’ I still don’t really have an answer for that but I’m thankful,” she said.
Not only did Battistelli have a background in homeschooling as a child, but she also said that homeschooling her five children helped prepare her for the role.
“We have five kids, and we’re expecting number six,” she shared, adding that there were “so many obstacles” to keep her family together while filming the movie. “My husband said, ‘You’re not gonna even have to act, this is like you, this character,’ and it’s true, it was a very natural role to play.”
“It wasn’t hard to say yes to this franchise, especially after reading the script and just knowing the content,” Battistelli added. “I appreciate that they didn’t pull punches, they just spoke the truth and the film really has a lot of important things to say and I’m proud of that.”
WE THE PEOPLE premieres in select theaters on Oct. 4th, Oct. 5th, and Oct. 6th.
Battistelli also noted that WE THE PEOPLE is about more than just homeschoolers’ rights, but America’s freedom in general.
“If you’re like, ‘I have no interest in homeschooling, why would I go see this movie?’ That’s just a theme, but the point of the film is really more about freedom than anything,” she said. “I think you could insert anything you want into that homeschooling slot. If you love the Lord and love freedom, you’re gonna love this movie.
“At no point is the film, saying, ‘This is the only thing that you should do and you’re wrong if you don’t homeschool.’ It’s just that idea that the parents need to be the ones in charge of that and I think that translates to a lot of things in our culture right now,” she added. “There’s not a one size fits all, but just that freedom and that autonomy as human beings, that we should be able to make those choices for ourselves and for our children and families and I love that. There’s no right or wrong here, it’s just we, as the parents, should be the ones to make the decision about how we educate our kids.”
WE THE PEOPLE also features a new original song written and performed by Battistelli, called “God is Good.”
Check back to movieguide.org in the coming weeks for the full review.
Despite everything that Battistelli does in her career and for her family, she said that she relies on the strength of the Lord.
“Balance is a word that I gave up,” Battistelli joked. “I think it’s a season thing for us. I’ve had seasons where I’m working too much and then seasons where we get to really, really focus on what matters.”
“I think 2020 brought a lot of perspective for us, particularly what we want our lives to look like and we’ve been kind of backing off touring for the past five or six years,” she added. “People in our industry tour 150 days a year and we just don’t want to do that and we [were] really asking the Lord to help us sort of have other ways to provide and we felt like this film was a great example of God doing that. Showing that ‘hey, when you make space and margin in your life and you’re obedient, not necessarily saying yes to everything just because it’s there, you know, it gives you opportunity for things.”
Movieguide® honored the original GOD’S NOT DEAD with the Epiphany Prize at the annual Movieguide® Awards.
A portion of the review reads:
GOD’S NOT DEAD is an entertaining, profound Christian movie. Josh Wheaton arrives at college and signs up for the best schedule. He’s told not to sign up for one philosophy class, because the professor will crush his Christian faith. He signs up anyway, because the class fits his schedule. Professor Radisson forces each student to sign a pledge that God is dead. Josh refuses, and Radisson tells him he’s going to fail him. He even threatens to destroy Josh’s chances to get into law school. Meanwhile, a beautiful girl who’s come to Christ must battle her Muslim Father. Also, the local pastor is challenged to live his faith. Finally, the professor’s girlfriend tells him she too has come to Jesus.
There are a lot of stories in GOD’S NOT DEAD, but they work because they end up in the same place. The direction and acting are very good. The ending is terrific. GOD’S NOT DEAD is a powerful evangelistic movie. Even better, the entertainment value transcends the message. Viewers won’t be bored. They will be enlightened and inspired by GOD’S NOT DEAD.