It's OK if you don't know anything about Jeremy Camp going into the movie, but -- if you want to know -- I Still Believe is based on the true story of the singer's all-too-brief romance with first wife Melissa Lynn Henning-Camp. Tragically, Melissa was diagnosed with ovarian cancer shortly before she and Jeremy Camp were married in October 2000. She died in February 2001, just a few months into their marriage. "I Still Believe" was the first song the Christian music singer wrote after her death.
Twenty years later, Jeremy Camp has remarried and has children, but the emotions were still raw for him watching I Still Believe. He told CinemaBlend’s Jeff McCobb what it was like to watch KJ Apa playing him on screen opposite Britt Robertson as Melissa:
It is very bizarre, but I think what gave me kind of peace and comfort over the whole thing is that [KJ Apa] asked me one time during the filming very early on, 'Hey, how did you react in this situation?' And so what that meant to me was 'I care enough about you and who you are in portraying this accurately that I'm going to ask you this personally.' He didn't have to do that. He's an actor and he does this, I don't act. But he wanted to know 'Hey, how can I portray you accurately?' And, honestly, he did such a good job -- it was hard to watch! Because he did such a good job that it brought up all these emotions, and the chemistry between [KJ] and Britt was so real that you go, 'Wow, this is hard to watch because it feels so real.'
Yes, Jeremy Camp was thrilled with KJ Apa and Britt Roberson, which is a good thing since he didn't have a say in the casting, as he told TooFab:
This was a very big trust fall situation where I wasn't involved in casting at all. So it was a very scary moment where you're like 'I hope they pick the right person.' I can't imagine anybody else playing me or Melissa. Britt and KJ -- you can see it. I'm not just saying it 'cause it's my movie. It's like you can watch it and go -- they for 1 had chemistry, and 2, you can tell they put their heart into it.
You can imagine emotions would be strong for a movie like I Still Believe. When Jeremy Camp was asked if watching the film was difficult or cathartic, he admitted to TooFab it was so difficult it left him weeping:
It was difficult. It's the question that people ask me: 'Are you so excited that there's a movie of your life?' And of course I am, but you're reliving the darkest part of your life, the hardest part of your life. I have a story where I was with my family and we're watching it and I had to walk out. And I'm weeping and just bawling. My wife comes and I cry on her shoulder and my kids come. We're all crying together and my daughter says something that's so beautiful. She goes 'Dad this is hard because watching this movie it would be hard knowing that somebody went through it, but knowing that it was my dad that went through it?' ... I said, 'But we wouldn't be there right now, you wouldn't be here right now if it wasn't for that.' So it's bonded us together.
OK now I'm going to cry just reading about him crying watching his life story on screen! This is a love-fest. Speaking of love, fans seem to love I Still Believe. The movie has an A CinemaScore from select moviegoers polled on opening night. It also has a 98% audience score on Rotten Tomatoes (vs. 40% from critics).
And I Still Believe looks like it's going to put up a fight at the box office opposite Vin Diesel's Bloodshot. Both movies opened March 13 and Box Office Mojo predicted on Saturday that I Still Believe would edge out the superhero movie. How's that for a miracle? Stay tuned for the final numbers in our box office roundup tomorrow (Sunday, March 15).
Watch CinemaBlend's video below for more interviews with Britt Robertson; KJ Apa; Jeremy Camp; and the Erwin Brothers, who directed the movie:
Are you planning to see In Still Believe in theaters this weekend, or later? Many movie theaters have reacted to the coronavirus with some policy changes that still allow for fans to safely enjoy heading out to the movies.