Hollywood Actor Shares How He Came to Christ and How It Impacts His Roles
By Movieguide® Staff
INFIDEL actor Stelio Savante says he came to Christ after a tumultuous childhood in South Africa.
“I survived a very painful, tumultuous and violent childhood in South Africa. My parents divorced at a young age. I felt unworthy, unwanted, irrelevant, and also struggled at school both with grades and peers. The message of the Gospel and Christ’s love and acceptance of me drew me in,” Savante tells The Christian Post. “I gave my life to the Lord in 1984 but wandered in and out of Christ’s will for my life for many years because I struggled with myself.”
Savante also said his faith impacts his roles as both a producer and actor.
“I’ve finally and recently learned the following: ‘I know what to do with what I’ve been given.’ And God has also generously navigated the relationships He’s given me — teaching me to love other people, listen to them, lift them up, serve God, and serve them and myself last,” Savante says.
“The journey has been fruitful. It’s taken me to all corners of the world, working with sublimely gifted artists and planting spiritual seeds that make God’s Kingdom, love and acceptance known in fulfilling the Great Commission,” he continues.
Savante often chooses projects that address Christianity in culture, including the Movieguide® Award-winning INFIDEL.
“I chase truth. There is that one common theme my characters have. I commit to making them real — neither perfect nor completely flawed. We all have flaws and redeeming qualities. I lean into that,” Savante tells CP.
“I refuse characters whose sins are either glorified without consequences or ones that seem unrealistically perfect. Perfect people don’t exist. Unfortunately, [perfect people] only in ‘Christian-themed’ films. These filmmakers have to be better at understanding cinema, the craft of filmmaking, how to write and direct and cast real actors, and start making films that form part of a cinematic landscape,” he continued.
In INFIDEL, Savante plays Pierre, a South African journalist who assists the wife of a man who has been captured and persecuted for his faith.
Movieguide®’s review of INFIDEL reads:
INFIDEL follows Doug, an influential Christian blogger, who’s accused of being a spy, which he is not, and is kidnapped while in Cairo after speaking boldly about his faith on Egyptian Television. Doug’s wife, Liz, works for the U.S. State department, and when she finds out the U.S. doesn’t want to help save her husband, she takes matters into her own hands and boards a flight to the Middle East to rescue him, as she learns Doug has been moved to Iran.
A thrilling, action-packed movie, INFIDEL has incredible acting performances by the main characters, especially Jim Caviezel as the hero, as well as by Hal Ozsan as the villain, RAMZI. The movie has a very strong Christian worldview as the main character clearly proclaims the Gospel of Jesus Christ on Egyptian TV and would rather die than say than denounce his faith that Jesus is God. The movie also has some strong moral elements of helping save others and a depiction of a loving marriage However, due to lots of foul language and violence, Movieguide® advises extreme caution for audiences.
Savante says he was drawn to the role because it brings attention to Christian persecution, which is rampant worldwide.
“INFIDEL is inspired by a number of different true stories … Bob Levinson, that’s one of them. There’s Michael White, there was a Chinese American graduate student Zhu Wang, a guy named Robin Shahini,” Director Cyrus Nowrasteh said. “All of them are held in prison in Iran for various charges and, you know, proselytizing, trying to spread Christianity is a standard charge for which they’ll round up people, including Iranian Christians. Persecution is rampant there.”
Savante said, “It takes a very strong faith to live in countries where Christians are literally persecuted. To live in third-world countries without a roof over your head, no food, no electricity, no heat, water shortages, sometimes on the run, separated from your family, and in some cases not allowed to worship freely or spread the Gospel. They are constantly having to face their giants.”
INFIDEL won Movieguide®’s 2020 Faith and Freedom® Award.