In 2015, while researching another film, Jon Erwin stumbled upon a Time magazine with a psychedelic portrait of Jesus and the words Jesus Revolution. This inspired him to bring the true story to life.
"I'm like, what is this? I read the article, and it was this buoyant, hopeful, optimistic take on sweeping spiritual awakening that was happening all across America, specifically with college students, high school students and hippies," Jon Erwin, director of Jesus Revolution, explained.
The more he learned about it, the more he felt this could happen again.
"The fact that it comes out, literally, within the same month as these types of things are happening across America is uncanny, and just like, it's unbelievable. I still don't quite know what to make of it, but I think it just shows that there's spiritual hunger."
This new movie, officially hitting the big screen tonight, is based on Greg Laurie and Ellen Vaughn’s book of the same name, which narrates the national spiritual awakening in the early 1970s and its origins within a community of teenage hippies in Southern California. The film follows a young Laurie (Joel Courtney - "The Kissing Booth") and his coming-of-age testimony, a hippie street preacher, Lonnie Frisbee (Jonathan Roumie - "The Chosen"), and a pastor who opened his church doors, Chuck Smith (Kelsey Grammer - "Fraiser").
Jon says his favourite moment while filming this movie was shooting the massive baptism at Pirates Cove.
"We had like 500 extras that showed up," said Erwin. "Five, six or seven people wanted to get baptized for real. This wasn't acting. It was so real."
"It was the most magical, powerful moment I've ever experienced in a movie. And I think it bleeds through the screen."
The hope is that this movie will bring hope to those who need it. Jon says this movie shows that there's room for everyone when you open your heart.
"I can't wait for people to see it. I can't wait for the conversations after, and then I can't wait to see just what keeps happening."
Jesus Revolution officially hits theatres Friday, January 24, 2023.