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‘Power of Family’ is ‘Heartbeat Behind’ UNSUNG HERO, Says Luke Smallbone

Photo from UNSUNG HERO Movie’s Instagram

‘Power of Family’ is ‘Heartbeat Behind’ UNSUNG HERO, Says Luke Smallbone

By Movieguide® Contributor  

For King + Country’s Joel and Luke Smallbone recently sat down with Mike Huckabee to share the origins of their new movie UNSUNG HERO and discuss Joel’s “expensive therapy session” of playing the role of his dad. 

“Soon after we arrived in Nashville, my dad lost the job opportunity that he had here,” Luke recalled. “And so we were stranded; No friends, no family, sleeping on beds made out of clothes and having to wait for a little sister to be born in a hospital and weren’t always quite sure where the next meal was going to come.” 

“I’ve told that story for quite a number of years at our concerts and had a lot of people come up and say, ‘Man, look, you should write a book,’” he added. 

Luke joked that as he and Joel were homeschooled, they were not able to “read or write very well,” so they decided to make a movie instead. 

The movie portrays the Smallbone family’s trials and miracles as they left Australia to rebuild their lives in America. 

“The heartbeat behind the movie is this: I believe in the power of family. I think family is more important today than it ever has been in the history of the world,” Luke went on to say. 

While each of the seven Smallbone children appears in the movie, Joel made his directorial and screenwriting debut with UNSUNG HERO and played his father, David, in the movie.  

“I’ve dubbed it a very expensive therapy session,” Joel said. “It was interesting. We’ve been doing a lot of reflection lately just because we’re right on the precipice of it being released into theaters, and I did not anticipate writing or even co-directing.”  

“I just sort of stepped into these roles incidentally. But from the beginning, I had always felt inclined to play Dad,” Joel went on to say. 

He points out that he was roughly around the same age as his father when the events of the movie take place, and playing David helped to take him out of the “childlike perspective” he always had and see it through his father’s eyes. 

“[T]o literally enact the story and put on my shoulders…all of the strain and the stress and the pride and the insecurity and the protectiveness that he felt over the family and really dive deep into his shoes…it has changed the way I see him,” he said. “There’s a stake in the ground of empathy.” 

Helen Smallbone, the mother of the Smallbone clan, told Huckabee that her and David’s faith carried them through this challenging season of their lives. 

“I think when each of us faces a crisis in our lives, it shows us where our foundation is. What’s our strength and where does it come from?” Helen said. “And we were very fortunate both David and I to grow up in Christian homes. We had great role modeling from our parents. We had a strong foundation of faith.” 

Helen recalls her children were unaware of how poor they were at the time when they moved into a rental with no furniture or beds. 

“They thought it was grand because they could actually play…cricket in the living room. I mean, kids are so adaptable,” she said. “I mean, I think they’re looking at parents to see. ‘Okay, how are you coping with this?’And when we thought it was a bit of an adventure, then they followed suit.” 

Daisy Betts, who plays Helen, said that, as a mother of four, the part “resonated” with her. 

“When I read the script, I called my agent, and I said, I think this is the one. Yeah, I need to do this film,” Betts told Movieguide®’s Dr. Ted Baehr at the premiere. “I am a mom. It spoke to mothers. It’s like, ‘Hey, moms, we see you, and we appreciate you.’ And even though it’s subtle. You do so much to be the glue that holds the family together, and I loved that about this film.” 

Betts said that the movie is an ode to fathers as well. 

“It’s not just the mothers…David Smallbone’s struggle is going to pull the heartstrings of dads who are trying to keep it together, even if they hit hard times,” she said. 

On their for King + Country Instagram page, Luke and Joel posted in preparation for the movie’s premiere: 

“If there’s one thing we’ve learned from our dear @anniefdowns (who’s so kindly one of our red carpet livestream hosts tonight!), it’s that you celebrate hard work, before you know the outcome. So tonight, before opening weekend occurs, we’re celebrating at the @UnsungHeroMovie WORLD PREMIERE!”  

Candace Cameron Bure, who serves as one of the movie’s executive producers and plays Kay Albright, recently shared more about the movie, as reported by Movieguide®:   

“I formed a friendship with Joel and Luke and the whole Smallbone family because of the show when they performed for my birthday, so they are an incredible family, and they are so talented,” Bure said of taking on the film. “Won so many Grammys, and yet I never knew their humble beginnings, and they share that story on stage at their concerts.” 

“When they came and shared the script with me and I heard their story, it’s unbelievable,” she continued. “So, they are a family of seven kids. Their dad was a very well-known music producer in Australia, and he lost everything after a deal went bad, and they moved to the U.S. They immigrated here and had absolutely nothing, like a jar of a few dollars, and so this story is how it’s about miracles. It’s about the unsung hero who, in my view from this movie, is their mom, Helen, who really kept the pieces together of their family.” 

David, the Smallbones’ father, did all he could for his family as he faced hardships. 

“But, you know, he just…couldn’t catch a break, and yet they made their life an adventure,” Bure explained. “One of the best lines in the film is, ‘Your family isn’t in the way, your family is the way.’ It’s a really beautiful story, and I’m so proud to have produced the movie and be a part of it, be a part of their story and journey and sharing it on the big screen.” 

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4000+ Faith Based Articles and Movie Reviews – Will you Support Us?

Our small team works tirelessly to provide resources to protect families from harmful media, reviewing 415 movies/shows and writing 3,626 uplifting articles this year. We believe that the gospel can transform entertainment. That’s why we emphasize positive and faith-filled articles and entertainment news, and release hundreds of Christian movie reviews to the public, for free. No paywalls, just trusted, biblically sound content to bless you and your family. Online, Movieguide is the closest thing to a biblical entertainment expert at your fingertips. As a reader-funded operation, we welcome any and all contributions – so if you can, please give something. It won’t take more than 52 seconds (we timed it for you). Thank you.

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