"Honk For Jesus. Save Your Soul." May Parallel This Real-Life Megachurch Scandal
Actors Sterling K. Brown and Regina Hall are linking up to bring a megachurch powerhouse couple to life in "Honk For Jesus. Save Your Soul." The mockumentary film has some strong names behind it, with both Jordan Peele and Daniel Kaluuya serving as producers with their respective companies.
"Honk For Jesus. Save Your Soul." is a feature-length adaptation of writer and director Adamma Ebo's 2018 short film of the same name. The story follows Pastor Lee-Curits Childs (Brown) and his wife, First Lady Trinitie Childs (Hall), amid the fallout of a scandal that dismantles their status as leaders of their congregation.
While the film sounds like it could easily be centered around real people, "Honk For Jesus: Save Your Soul." is not based on a true story. It is, however, inspired by real life. Read on to learn about the inspiration behind the film, which hits theaters and Peacock on Sept. 2!
What Is "Honk For Jesus: Save Your Soul." About?
Pastor Lee-Curtis Childs and his wife Trinitie Childs are a Southern Baptist megachurch's disgraced leaders. At one point, Pastor Lee-Curits led a congregation of over 10,000 people both in church and on screen. When a sex scandal "de-thrones" the pair, scatters their followers, and forces their church to temporarily close, the couple use documentary-style filmmaking to detail their comeback journey to reopening the church, including the bumps along the way.
The Inspiration Behind "Honk For Jesus: Save Your Soul."
Filmmaking duo and sisters Adamma and Adanne Ebo were inspired by their own experiences in the church and their upbringing in Atlanta to create the story. Growing up, the sisters attended church services at least twice a week and were strongly advised against partaking in anything that sounded like it involved magic or evil, including Halloween and the Harry Potter books, according to Rolling Stone.
Regarding her motive for making the film, Adamma told the magazine, "Nobody talks about this in the Black church… Maybe it'll be received in the way that we want, which is simply for people to do what we were doing our entire lives: Asking questions, not just being complicit and just taking things at face value."
Furthermore, in an interview with TheWrap's Sundance Studio, Adamma elaborated on questioning the church with her sister, explaining, "We, very quickly, I think, from a young age, got disillusioned with it and started questioning and thinking critically about it. So we decided there was so much reckoning, I think, within ourselves about it, that this was the area I think to explore."
Are There Any Real-Life Cases That Mirror "Honk For Jesus: Save Your Soul."?
There are countless cases of Megachurch pastors having scandals involving controversy, whether it be in the area of sexual misconduct, fraud, or other misdeeds, but the case of Atlanta-based pastor Eddie Long, in particular, strongly parallels that of character Pastor Lee-Curtis Childs.
In 2010, Long was disgraced from the New Birth Missionary Baptist Church when four young men who were members of the church's elite youth program (three over the age of 18, and one who says he was 17 when the alleged abuse occurred) accused Long of sexual impropriety, according to NPR. No criminal charges were ever brought against Long, and the individual cases were settled in private. Long was also accused of misusing church donations, as far too many megachurch pastors have done, to fund a lavish lifestyle.
"Honk For Jesus: Save Your Soul." is a refreshing dark comedy with an important message intertwined within its punch lines and stellar acting performances. Catch the film in theaters and Peacock on Sept. 2, and watch the trailer ahead!