‘Awesome God’ singer-songwriter Rich Mullins’ life dramatized in new movie ‘Ragamuffin’
The music of singer-songwriter Rich Mullins continues to impact the world many years after his untimely death at age 41. Although already profiled in documentaries and books, The spiritual journey of the “Awesome God” songwriter and the Gospel Music Association’s Artist of the Year (1998) gets the big-screen treatment in Ragamuffin: The True Story of Rich Mullins (Millennium Entertainment/Capitol Christian Distribution), which also will be available on DVD at Christian retail July 8.
Actor David Leo Schultz, who co-wrote and directed the film, was one of the lives profoundly affected by Mullins’ music and philosophy. The idea for a full-length movie came to be in a meeting with Rich’s younger brother, David.
“I was merely an audience member to his life,” Schultz told Christian Retailing. “With the film, I want to give other people the opportunity for Rich to change their lives. [After I met David,] I started daydreaming about the movie, wondering what it would look like. I started imagining as I was listening to some of his music and old radio interviews.”
Schultz appears in a supporting role in the film, alongside Michael Koch as Rich. Schultz’s wife, Amy, also appears as singer Amy Grant. Also appearing are: Wolfgang Bodison as Bryan, James Kyson as Matt, Mel Fair as John Mullins (Rich’s father), Michelle Keller as Neva Mullins (Rich’s mother), Carson Aune as Justin, and Elizabeth Ann Roberts as Jess.
Being “honest” about the singer’s struggles with loneliness, alcohol and family issues was important, Schultz said, even though such portrayals may make some viewers uncomfortable.
“There’s this kind of thing in our storytelling, especially when it’s based on a true story, that says we shouldn’t talk about Christian struggles,” Schultz said. “But I thought that was the purpose of the testimony. For me, why would I not? Unless I was just trying to sell something to the Christian audience to make it more palatable. I think while it is a product that not only entertains, but challenges their faith, at the same time we had no desire to make something [that was] falsified to please the Christian audience.”
To promote the release, screenings of the film were held in churches across the country. Although Schultz was hopeful for positive responses, he said he was “overwhelmed” by the impact the film had on viewers.
“We didn’t expect the overwhelming positive response we’ve had,” he said. “There’s been a lot of cool God stories in people’s lives. We hoped for that, but we weren’t expecting that. God doesn’t need a movie, but we were really excited that He was using it to work in people’s hearts.”
To order, call 800-877-4443 or go to capitolchristiandistribution.com.