The Real Persecution Christians in India Face:
Behind the Scenes of THE LEAST OF THESE: THE GRAHAM STAINES STORY
By Tess Farrand, Staff Writer
Movieguide® recently talked with Christian actor Stephen Baldwin about his upcoming faith-based movie THE LEAST OF THESE: THE GRAHAM STAINES STORY. In the movie, Baldwin plays the title character of Graham Staines, an Australian missionary living in India with his family as he engages with a community of lepers and shares the Gospel. Tragically, Graham and his boys are martyred by an angry mob of Hindus who hate what Graham is doing for the lepers.
“It’s really about the family and the humanity of it and the obvious tragedy in all of it,” Baldwin stated. THE LEAST OF THESE hits theaters on February 1st, just days after the 20 year anniversary of Graham and his two sons’ death. Baldwin told Movieguide® that the timing of the release was intentional. Open Door just announced that India is the 10th most dangerous country for Christians, with attacks against followers of Jesus on the rise.
When asked about his approach to portraying Graham, Baldwin said, “I chose to play Graham much more gentle and quiet because that’s who he was.” Baldwin was originally just a consultant on the project before taking on the part to play Graham. To echo the real-life Graham, Baldwin mentioned he “prayerfully wonder[ed] what a guy like this would do.”
THE LEAST OF THESE, Baldwin explained, is “a fictional narrative woven with a biopic story.” “[To] every Australian that sees this movie, I’m sorry,” Baldwin implored on the intricacies of adapting to an Australian accent and dialect to play Staines. Baldwin explained that capturing Staines’ good and caring nature, as both a physician and a father mattered greatly to him. “He was a very loving good physician” he said, “[an] intelligent doctor who understood his calling was to this place, to these people, and if the door opened correctly by the Holy Spirit for him to proselytize the Gospel, well then, he did that, and he did that by faith.”
On set, Baldwin worked a lot with fellow actress Shari Rigby (OCTOBER BABY), who plays his wife and Sharman Joshi, who plays the reporter trying to thwart the work of the Staines family. Looking back at the production, Baldwin calls the experience a “thrill” and relayed with enthusiasm, “[it’s] refreshing to be involved in a project that was such a passion for everyone involved… a labor, truly, of love.”
THE LEAST OF THESE paints not only a picture of Graham’s humble service for God, but also the reality the persecuted church faces historically and presently. Baldwin stressed the importance of what this should do to strengthen the lives of believers, stating, “we [have] to be praying for the persecuted church.” For the skeptics of Christian persecution, Baldwin said, “here’s clearly a story that unquestionably has been proven to demonstrate [just] that.”
The full review of THE LEAST OF THESE: THE GRAHAM STAINES STORY is available here.