As we count down to the theatrical release of Summer of ’67, I’ll be interviewing some of the cast and crew members, and I’m kicking off with Eleanor Brown. She plays a supporting role as Mama Sooze in Summer of ’67. You may remember her from her role as Kayla Hayes in Courageous. She’s a wonderfully sweet soul as well as a great actress.

When did you first discover a love for acting?

I discovered a love for acting while I was in high school. I took Theatre 1 and was hooked!

What was your first acting role?

I played Mary Warren in The Crusible.

What led to you getting cast as Kayla Hayes in Courageous

Wow, long story but I was sitting at my desk one day and I saw where the Kendrick brothers were about to make another film. I spoke to the Lord while sitting there and just said, “Lord, I would love to be a part of that”. And as soon as I ended my little prayer I heard, ” send in your resume”. I responded by saying, “Lies, they only use their own people!”

Well, instead of sending in my resume, I emailed pastor Catt’s secretary, the lead paster at the church,  and wrote what was on my heart. She responded quickly and said, in short, they did not use outside people, but to “send in my resume and they would keep it on file if that ever changed”. Immediately, I said, ” See Lord, I told you!” His response was still the same. Well, I dragged my feet about doing it until one day, I heard the Lord tell me more urgently , “Send it in, and it has to get done TODAY”! So, I got myself in gear and got it put together to send off that day and said, “Lord, if this is You, please go with my resume.”

After sending it off, I didn’t hear a thing…for weeks. So, I asked the Lord if I should call. I did and left a message.

A few days later, I was,standing in the Christian book store with my mom and I received a ever a call from Terri Catt, the pastor’s wife. In short, she said my resume got mixed in with another stack. She said they would like me to come in for an audition Wednesday. (It was a Monday when I got the call). When we hung up, I was jumping up and down in the back of the store praising God when my mother tells me over the next row ,”What’s wrong with you?!” I told her, and we both had a good old time together!

I went into the audition, and again, to make a long story short, I walked in, and sitting in a line, behind desks, were the Kendrick bothers and Mrs. Catt, the pastor’s wife. It wasn’t a “regular audition…at all. They asked me about my walk with the Lord along with many other questions. Then I read for the part of Kayla Hayes. When I left, I cried and cried and cried. I thought I had bombed the audition!. I went back to the hotel and told my mother what happened. I felt like I had let God down. What an opportunity! She encouraged me with all of my family. It was after 11 in the evening and we had not eaten, so went out to see if we could find some place open. We returned, and as I opened the hotel door, my phone was ringing. I picked it up and it was Mrs. Catt on the phone. She told me they loved my audition and would like me to come in the next day to read again. This time, with Keven Bevel, who would eventually play my husband in the film.

I went in and this time to audition and I knew I nailed it!

Several days later, I received a call from Stephen Kendrick who offered me the part. He said they were getting worried because they had already auditioned 33 women before me! God knew!! I thank God with everything in me. He was the One Who blessed me with working on Courageous!

What was the highlight of being a part of a Kendrick Brothers movie?

The highlight was being a part, working with all the wonderful cast, crew, Sherwood’s sister church, and of course Alex and Stephen Kendrick!

Tell us about your role in Summer of ’67.

My role in Summer of ’67 is Moma Sooze. She is a house maid who notices and observes a lot of the goings on in the family, but says only what is absolutely necessary when the chance arises. People call her Moma Sooze because she has served this  family for many years and had a hand in raising their children as well.

What would be your dream role? 

I always play the mom, girl next door or  friend. I think I would like to try my skills at playing the antagonist. I would also love to work with as many Christian film makers as  possible. I have always wanted to work on Christian films and I am not opposed to doing some good quality secular work as well.

What is the greatest challenge you face as a Christian actress?

Making sure my beliefs as a Christian are not compromised in what I love to do. Unfortunately, I have received scripts that the writer/director has labeled “faith-based”, and it was far from it. Making sure one keeps first-things-first. I truly believe God tests us in that area. I know I have been tested. The question always remains: “Do you love Me?” Also, sometimes your part is great, until you have had the opportunity to read the entire script.

What advice would you offer to actors wanting to break into faith-based films?

Pray. Allow God to lead you every step of the way. It’s not your “amazing talent” people will see. It will be His favor and will working in and for you!

Do you have any new projects in the works?

Not yet, but waiting on the right one

Anything else?

Yes, thank you Sharon and Fred for allowing me to be a part of Summer of ’67. I absolutely loved working with you and the cast. I am looking forward to seeing everyone again soon.

Written by Sharon Wilharm

Sharon Wilharm is a female filmmaker, blogger, and speaker with over a decade of industry experience. She and her husband, Fred, just released SUMMER OF '67, their seventh feature film. Their movies have screened in theaters, festivals, and churches around the globe as well as multiple television networks. They've accumulated dozens of festival accolades including many Best of Fest awards and 4 ICVM Crown Awards. Sharon is passionate about visual storytelling, branding, and marketing and would love to speak at your upcoming event.

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