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Kevin Sorbo’s Drive for Quality Family Entertainment

Kimberly Carr


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Actor Kevin Sorbo's Christian faith guides his work, and he works hard. In fact, when I called to talk with him about his role in the movie Bernie the Dolphin, he had to ask which of the many projects he’s working on I called to interview him about. Among those are a biopic about Ronald Reagan, a new installment of the Left Behind series, documentaries Against the Tide and Before the Wrath, a feature about the archaeological discovery of the oldest temple found to date in Israel, and Trailblazers, a faith-based western that will be shooting in the fall of 2021.

It is dizzying to think of how much energy is required to balance so many spinning plates. A major force of Kevin's work ethic focuses on keeping an open avenue in entertainment for the voices of those who crave the opposite of what so many Hollywood offerings contain. How often can we sit with our families while watching a screen and not be embarrassed by the content?

I asked Kevin to travel back in time with me to St. Augustine, Florida where Bernie the Dolphin was filmed. The movie originally premiered in 2018, was just acquired by Pureflix streaming, and is now available for home viewing.

But what started as a conversation about Bernie became a passionate discourse for the future of movies, families, and the generation who will soon inherit the earth.

Kevin easily chatted about movies, dolphins, the state of education in America, and a few other things in between.

I know you've worked with animals in the past. I have no idea what it's like to be around a dolphin. Was it thrilling or scary?

Oh, no - it was a blast! I mean, as far as the ocean was, it was all computer animated. But when we went to the marina, I got to jump in the pool with them. You have all the trainers there and they teach you what to do and what not to do. I love dolphins. They're my favorite creature in the ocean. So it was pretty neat.

Now, there is a second installment of Bernie the Dolphin, so can you say whether or not Winston actually finds redemption or some sort of reform without giving anything away?

He does and in Bernie the Dolphin 2 he gets a chance to have redemption, which is a good thing, ‘cause we need to have a lot of redemption in the world right now, with the craziness that's going on. So I think we need more movies like Bernie the Dolphin. How many rated G movies are out?

You’re also in the recently released The Girl Who Believes in Miracles. It’s such a relief to be able to sit down with the kids to watch. I'm so tired of being embarrassed while we're watching a movie and something unwelcome happens!

It's crazy the issues that are being forced down our throats over and over and over again. And you're going, 'Wait a minute. Why can't we have this point of view? Why does it have to be just always one point of view all the time?' That seems to be what they’re stuck on. So I wanted to do movies – and really started about 10, 11 years ago for me when I did my first really faith-based movie with What If….

You’ve also got Sorbo Family Film Studios.

Yep. And people can go check it out. They should go to and sign up. We'll keep you in the loop. I've got another movie coming out in July called One Nation Under God, a high school drama that's about putting that phrase back in our pledge of allegiance. And then I've got a movie I directed, which I'm very fond of set in 1930 in the heart of the depression called Miracle in East Texas. It’s a true story with myself, John Ratzenberger, my beautiful wife Sam Sorbo, and Lou Gossett Jr., who was awesome to work with.

I'm always intrigued by parents who are in the entertainment industry. And your career is kind of a family affair. How do you guys stay focused as a family? And how do you keep faith at the center?

Well, we were on the road a lot and that was one of the reasons we homeschool, but also we didn't want to be in public schools. So the kids have grown up on movie sets all over the country and even over the world. They're not intimidated by it. Of course being around it, they want to do it. So, in the first movie that I had all my kids in was a movie my wife wrote called Let There Be Light, which came up about two and a half years ago. Love that movie. I directed it as well. My wife and my two boys are in it, and my daughter has a cameo, ‘cause she was a little nervous about even saying anything. But they love it and they want to do more of it.

On the road, we find a way to get the Word in. Every morning at breakfast, we read the Bible together. You know, my pastor, we just found a new church here in Florida. We left California a couple of years ago, but we've been watching my old pastor and still do in California because I love pastor Rob.

Your work is so focused on building good community. And you have your own kids, so how do you balance teaching kids to respect authority, but while also following their hearts and doing what they think is right, like in Bernie the Dolphin?

Well, we do what every parent should be doing with their kids, take them out of public school and homeschool them or find a good school to bring them to, because it's crazy. What's going on right now in our educational system from kindergarten all the way through university. We need to teach kids about manners and morality. We live in such a fast-paced society. People just seem to be impatient and angry all the time. You know, I just find so many people, you look at these people in the streets that are marching and they're destroying people's buildings are attacking people and hurting people. I always said, 'Do you think any of them, if they had biblical principles taught to them in their lives, would they be on the streets doing what they're doing now?' I don't think so. I think these are really angry, unhappy people who are taking on the world, but the reality is they don't love who they are themselves.

And how do you teach people how to love themselves other than through the mirror that is Christ?

Yep. That's for sure. And it starts with the man in the mirror – cue Michael Jackson song. You know, look in the mirror, stop blaming God, family, friends. Stop blaming the world for your problems. God never promised an easy life and you're going to hit roadblocks all the time. How you handle those roadblocks is what's going to make you a better person or a worse person. And I think a better choice is to buckle up and say, ‘Okay, this can be a tough road to go, but I want to be a better person.’

That kind of fits into what you do with A World Fit for Kids. Can you tell me a little bit about it?

We're at the 24th year of being the number one after school program in the state of California. On average, we deal with 12,000 kids a year in inner cities. A lot of them are African Americans and Mexican Americans. A lot of African Americans are raised without a father, 80% of them. And I think that's a reflection of what's going on in our cities right now. And LA Unified has one of the worst school districts in the country. I think Baltimore is the worst, but LA County averages about 54% dropout rates starting as low as fifth grade. So the 12,000 kids we work with from kindergarten through 12th grade, we average a 98% graduation rate and a 67% higher GPA. What are we doing that the public schools can't do? What we do is show these kids that we care about them to give them self-esteem. We give them a hope. You show them there's a road to redemption. We work with the problems they have in their lives and in school. We work with the problems they have in their personal lives. We care about these kids. The school doesn't care about the kids. It's all about money. Just pushing them through and graduating, keep getting those tax dollars. It’s a pretty pathetic system we have right now.

I see this in so many of your films, are you cognizant of how you are able to find the miraculous in the chaos?

I think – when I got 'Hercules' originally, it was going to be a wonderful fun gig to work with the great Anthony Quinn, that turned into a massive hit and became the most watched show in the world by season three. But I learned very quickly and I got to give credit to the writers of the show that they always put – it was mythology, it wasn't biblical. But the thing was, there was always strong morality. There's all strong lessons of – you don't have to do this negative – you can make this positive. You can help save people's lives. You're going to help make lives better for people. They always had those messages in there, which I thought was great and kudos to the writers.

And that same thing was on my series 'Andromeda.' Before, What If…, I did a Western called Avenging Angel. I've always been a Christian, so I was very much aware of the faith element of Avenging Angel and loved doing that. And then I really took off with What If… directed by Dallas Jenkins, who's now doing 'The Chosen.' I mean, I look for movies that have a positive message. I want to do movies that spread the love and laughter instead of the hate and anger.

What can we do, as an audience, to get more positive entertainment on our screens?

Support these movies, guys. We need word of mouth to get these things out there. We don't have a hundred-million-dollar promotional budget like they do for an Avengers movie. And those are $300 million movies. We do movies that are less than $3-4 million. That sounds like a lot, but that's catering budget on those movies. We need the ‘God's Not Dead’ word of mouth for all these movies. I get stopped all the time by people who want movies about faith, hope, love. So support these movies. Otherwise they'll be out of theaters in three days. You need to show up to these movies and support them. Otherwise Hollywood's going to win the battle that they're already winning. Right?

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