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A show called God Friended Me is going to touch upon some fairly specific subject matter, and the CBS drama does indeed keep faith and religion at the heart of its arcs. The themes and storylines don’t just affect the audience members, either. Being on the freshman hit has played a role in giving its co-leads’ more to reflect on where those high-minded topics are concerned.
For the Television Critics Association’s 2019 winter press tour, God Friended Me cast members Brandon Michael Hall and Arrow-verse vet Violett Beane took the stage with creators Steven Lilien and Bryan Wynbrandt. The questions covered a wide variety of topics, but let’s dive into how the two big stars’ were affected by the show’s faith-based subject matter.
Brandon Michael Hall
As the potentially reforming atheist Miles Finer, Brandon Michael Hall portrays a character facing a crisis over potentially needing to overhaul his lack of faith. Once Miles gets contacted by the God account, all elements of his life and his various relationships are affected. Hall told the TCA press that putting himself in Miles’ shoes has made him a more understanding person when it comes to others’ beliefs and thoughts.
Growing up in the church and growing up around the church and growing in the Word, that was my that was my basis and my foundation. Right? And so to take on a role now where that was being tested, where you have to see the world in a completely different light, absolutely my views have changed – not to say that I don’t believe. But I am in a spiritual place where I’m able to have a conversation with more people about spirituality, that I’m not seeing it from a closed-minded point of view, but I’m actually taking the time out to see what other people believe and how that’s gotten them to their place.
Many actors enjoy getting into roles that are the opposite of their normal lives, and while Brandon Michael Hall and Miles may have many general similarities, their views on higher powers and holy spirits aren’t exactly on even footing. But as God Friended Me’s first season has gone on, viewers have seen Miles retreat from his atheistic standpoints in certain ways. In equal measure, the actor has found himself starting to open up more when it comes to accepting differing views from others.
Brandon Michael Hall pointed out that the show also helped him, in a sense, by putting him in the presence of his God Friended Me co-stars and colleagues, and he believes that everything that’s happening is for the greater good. In his words:
How it’s been able to help me is manifested right here on the stage. You know, the family and the company that I’ve been able to be around to be able to work on the show is something that I think is in the words of God Friended Me, I think it’s a divine intervention. I couldn’t have proclaimed this years ago. And so those are the little golden moments in my life, the stones that are getting me closer and closer to wherever I’m supposed to be.
It probably goes without saying that Brandon Michael Hall was extremely happy to be involved with God Friended Me, and that he’s immensely proud of how the show is being accepted among the fanbase.
With slightly different views about God and religion from Miles, Violett Beane’s Cara still joins his cause. Or causes, as it were. Cara’s own beliefs and thoughts are sometimes put to the test during the various ordeals. And the actress told the TCA crowd that God Friended Me has made her take a step back to reconsider a tentative return to the religion she grew up with.
I think it would be kind of hard to not ever think about faith and religion with a show like this. And, personally, I was raised Quaker, and I went to meetings every Sunday for most of my childhood. And I kind of stopped going when I left the house, but since moving to New York, I actually live reasonably close to a Quaker meeting. And I’m, like, thinking about going again, which I don’t think I ever maybe would have paid attention to until later in my life.
It would presumably be a rarely precedented boast for a show to say it spun a cast member or audience member around to return to the faith of their youth. Can any other CBS shows make the same claims? I mean, beyond the concept of audiences worshipping the ground that Blue Bloods’ Tom Selleck walks on.
Violett Beane went on to say that playing Cara gave her an updated outlook that’s similar to the on experienced by her co-star.
So I do think that [religion is] something that comes up and something that you are constantly thinking about. And I think Cara’s perspective of really caring for people and their stories and wanting to hear them has definitely impacted me when I speak to people that I don’t know.
The world can always use a little more peace, love and understanding, after all. So if God Friended Me is the catalyst for people learning how to be more open-minded and accepting, then it might deserve a special new kind of Emmy in the future.
It was revealed just ahead of the God Friended Me panel that Friends and Taken vet Adam Goldberg will be taking on the role of Simon Hayes, a mysterious tech billionaire who has ties to the God Account. Knowing that fans would be curious, showrunner Bryan Wynbrandt offered up the below “clarification” about how Simon Hayes would be used in the season.
Simon Hayes’s involvement in the God Account will be explained and end the season in a satisfactory manner.
Not the most detailed answer that could have been given, but at least we can probably assume that the character will be around until the end of the season, at least, and possibly even going into Season 2.