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Joel Smallbone Shines in New Faith Musical, “Journey to Bethlehem”
Image courtesy: Affirm Films, a Sony Company

Joel Smallbone Shines in New Faith Musical, “Journey to Bethlehem” 

A key performer in the recently unveiled faith-centered musical, “Journey to Bethlehem,” openly conveys enthusiasm and interest in the production.

He aims to deliver the gospel narrative to a new generation innovatively and distinctively.

In the PG-rated film Joel Smallbone from “For King & Country” takes on the role of King Herod’s son, Antipater.

Entering its second weekend on the big screen, the film achieved a Top 10 finish during its opening.

“Affirm Films,” the same company behind faith-based movies such as “Miracles from Heaven,” starring Jennifer Garner produced this film. Moriah, Smallbone’s wife and a singer, plays the role of Mary’s sister, Deborah. 

Smallbone said, “There’s been a lot of great depictions on the last portion of Jesus’s life, which obviously, is a very key moment – ‘The Passion of the Christ,’ ‘The Chosen’ is now doing a really good job.”  

He also applauds the rarity of early Jesus depictions, praising the transformative drama of the Nativity story’s B.C. to A.D. moment. 

Adam Anders, renowned for music in Glee and faith-based projects like The Passion and Son of God, directed and co-wrote. His wife, Nikki Anders, contributed as a co-writer for the music. 

Smallbone expressed that the film’s essence was to infuse it with vibrancy and style, saying, “Let’s give it color and flair.”

He characterized the film as a “portrait” rather than a “picture.”

The singer clarified that someone conveyed to him the idea that filmmaking is like a portrait, while documentaries are akin to a picture.

“In a portrait, you fill in things, and they’ve done that with the music,” he added.

A Journey of Faith and Artistic Versatility

Sydney-born Smallbone was always known to be a versatile artist acclaimed for his contributions to both music and film.

In an entertainment-oriented family, Joel and brother Luke Smallbone cultivated a shared passion for creative expression during their upbringing.

In 1991, the Smallbone family relocated to Nashville, Tennessee, where Joel’s musical journey would flourish.

Joel co-founded the Christian pop duo For King & Country with his brother in 2007.

Their debut album, “Crave” (2012), marked a significant breakthrough, earning them a Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Christian Music Album.

Renowned in contemporary Christian music, For King & Country, features a distinctive sound with powerful vocals and profound lyrics.

While delving into acting, Smallbone addressed a debated scene that has stirred discussions on social media.

In “Journey to Bethlehem” Smallbone shared that the character of Antipater enters the stable where Mary and Joseph are present.

He mentioned that his character pursues Mary and Joseph, encountering baby Jesus at the film’s end, acknowledging the lack of historical evidence.

He said, “What was so beautiful about Adam and Nikki’s concept behind it was like, that the son of a king became the first convert to recognize the true King.”

“So the portrait that they painted does paint outside some of the lines, for sure. But I think for a younger generation, it’s so pivotal to be introduced to Jesus in a magical, you know, musical way.”

Beyond his creative pursuits, Joel is recognized for using his platform to address social issues.

Through For King & Country’s music, he and his brother amplify messages of hope, resilience, and faith.

Joel Smallbone’s versatile artistry undeniably leaves a lasting impact, merging faith, music, and storytelling at the creative crossroads.

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