The Inspirational Story Of A Regular Guy

April 13th, 2022The Inspirational Story Of A Regular Guy

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Inspirational stories are perfect fodder for biopics like writer/director Rosalind Ross’ FATHER STU. Starring Mark Wahlberg, the film is based on the true story of Father Stuart Long, a regular guy who found a religious calling and followed it to self-improvement. Debuting in theatres this week, it’s a story that plays out in some unexpected ways, thanks to the colorful life of Stuart Long himself.

Who Was The Real Father Stu?

A former boxer and actor, Stuart Long found his faith in a most unconventional way. As also depicted in FATHER STU, a near-death experience after a motorcycle accident left Long with a newly rekindled faith. His baptism as an adult would further fuel his eventual decision to join the priesthood, and promote his faith.

It was a story that Mark Wahlberg – who also serves as a producer on FATHER STU – would eventually hear through his own connections of faith. Working to get the film made, he eventually chose writer Rosalind Ross to develop the screenplay. As Wahlberg explained it during our recent interview, finding the tone for the story involved a balance of humor and heart:

“It’s a fine line to walk, right? To really kind of find that tone, the balance of humor and heart. Every single person that’s seen the film has some sort of personal reaction and connection, and can identify with Stu in their own unique way.”

There’s definitely some rougher edges to FATHER STU’s protagonist, as we see him engaged in behavior that lands outside of what’s expected from the traditional faith-based protagonist, which is part of the film’s charms.

How Father Stu’s Story is Unique

While FATHER STU is technically a “faith-based film,” the approach taken to telling that story is atypical of what you’d expect. Mark Wahlberg’s earlier remarks about Father Stuart Long’s story kind of set that expectation, but writer/director Rosalind Ross hammered home the differences between FATHER STU and your run of the mill faith based film in her own words.

“Many of the “faith-based films” out there, they can get a bit preachy. I felt that perhaps a way to reach more people, meaning not just the faith crowd, would be to create something that was a little bit edgier, a little provocative, and funny. The tone of the film really took its cue from the tone of Stu, the real guy. By all accounts, he was a mischievous, irreverent quixotic guy. And I felt that I could channel that in the tone of the whole thing.”

FATHER STU is also a film that received an R-rating for “language throughout,” and it doesn’t take long for that to become apparent. However, this unconventional approach only helps sell Stuart Long’s transformation all the better. Through a growing relationship with faith, as well as his girlfriend Carmen (Teresa Ruiz), Stuart overcomes all sorts of obstacles in the name of service to others.

You can learn more about FATHER STU’s inspirational story through our exclusive interview with Mark Wahlberg, as well as co-star Teresa Ruiz and writer/director Rosalind Ross, in the video below.

With FATHER STU playing in theatres, audiences looking for an uplifting hit can find one at their local AMC Theatres location. Tickets are on sale now, so don’t forget to check your local listings before heading out.

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