My Church family attended opening night of “God’s Not Dead,” and I can honestly say it’s one of my favorite movies of all time. I posted a blog about the film, a synopsis and some personal thoughts, but then I decided to contact some of the actors/actresses and see if they’d agree to an email interview for my blog. The first to graciously accept was Paul Kwo, who played “Martin Yip” in the movie. (For those familiar with the movie, he played the foreign student and the first to stand and proclaim, “God’s Not Dead.”) Then Cory Oliver agreed to answer a few questions. (She played “Mina” the Professor’s romantic interest.) The Trisha Lafache agreed to my inquiries. (She played “Amy” the Reporter.) Now I’m excited to share with you my fourth email interview. This time you’ll be hearing from Benjamin Ochieng who played “Reverend Jude.”
Tell us a little about yourself. Where are you originally from? College you attended? Married? Kids? etc. Things you like to do aside from acting….
I am originally from Nairobi, Kenya where I was born and raised. I am married to Special Education Coordinator, Mrs. Elizabeth Onyango. I have three Kids: Ida Onyango-Longomba, 30; Mary Onyango, 20 and Evelyn Onyango, 17. Ida has given me a grandson, Andrew Longomba.
I attended California State University, Stanislaus in Turlock, California where I ran track and graduated in 1992 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science. I then moved to Los Angeles to pursue Music and Acting. I joined a Christian Funk-Rock Band called THE PASSING (changed name to P.F.O.)
When did you become a Christian?
I became a Christian in 1975 when I gave my life to the Lord after American Missionaries from Southern Baptist Church came to Kenya to spread the gospel.
How did you come to play a part in “God’s Not Dead?” And which role did you play?
I auditioned for the role of Reverend Jude and got the part.
Is this your first experience with acting? If not, what other roles have you played?
This is not my first experience with acting. I have done several other movies and TV shows: You can find the entire list at the following link:
How did you enjoy working with the leads Shane Harper and Kevin Sorbo?
I saw Shane Harper and Kevin Sorbo on my last day of working on the project. That’s when we shot the scene where the Atheist Professor dies. They were very cool people, nice approachable and fun to be around.
Can you relate to the character you played in the movie?
The character I played in the movie fortunately for me was a mirror image of who I am: funny, always smiling, easy to get along with, somewhat crazy etc.
What was your favorite part of “God’s Not Dead?”
The whole cast and crew and especially so the Pureflix owners: Russell, Michael, David. I am not sure I met the fourth one. The director was very down to earth too. They were terrific people and made the work so much easier.
Are you surprised by the support for the film on its opening weekend?
I was not surprised because the ground work and grassroots work that went into it paid off dividends. The Christians came out in force to support their own. They realized it was about time we all woke up from complacent Christianity to proactive Christianity. It was the only way we would be able to counter the aggressiveness of the atheists and their propaganda.
Are you currently working on any other films or television productions?
The Film DEFAULT directed by Simon Brand starring David Oyelowo is out now doing the Festival Circuit. I play the role of Edward, the pilot of a plane carrying American Journalists that gets hijacked by Somali pirates.
What is your favorite faith based film?
The Ten Commandments and now God’s Not Dead.
What lesson/lessons did you learn in the filming of “God’s Not Dead?”
Hard work pays. I have never worked so hard for a movie role like I did this one. And I believe that the actors put in a lot of hard work. Their work clearly shows in the movie. Also, that faith-based movies are capable of going toe to toe with the big block-buster studio movies with A-list actors and make a difference.
What impact do you believe this movie will have world wide?
This movie will have a positive impact world wide by opening more doors to a wide acceptance of the genre. Also, the existence of eternity after death will become real to more people prompting many to question where they will spend theirs and hopefully make the right choice.
What feedback have you personally received about the movie?
I have received great positive feedback everywhere I have gone. Recognition and words of “good job on the movie” everywhere I have gone.
How do you hope “God’s Not Dead” ministers to people?
This movie minister’s to people in the way the story was told and shot. It does a great job of setting up the reason for salvation through the Lord Jesus Christ in a gentle, subtle manner that compels the unbelievers to question their position. It’s not presented in a pummeling manner which usually turns potential converts off.
Thanks again to Benjamin Ochieng for taking time to let us get to know him a bit better! You can follow Benjamin on Twitter @bochieng
God is good. All the time. All the time. God is good.