Stephen Baldwin in conversation with Karuna Pai

Karuna Pai Mar 02, 2019 170 Views   0 Comments
Candid Conversation with Stephen Baldwin – The Least of These

The film, The Least of These is based on the remarkable true story of the Life and Work of Australian missionary Dr. Graham Staines. This is the debut film by Dallas-based Skypass Entertainment. The movie was released on February 1, 2019 coinciding with the 20th anniversary of the tragic event that shocked the world.

Actor, Producer and Author Stephen Baldwin plays the role of Dr. Graham Staines in this heartfelt movie. Stephen Baldwin is no stranger to Hollywood and the entertainment industry. His claim to fame came from the double Academy Award-winning film THE USUAL SUSPECTS (1995). Additionally, his more than 100 film roles include BIO-DOME (1996) and Barney Rubble in THE FLINSTONES IN VIVA ROCK VEGAS (2000).

TopPick Media caught up with Stephen Baldwin in this exclusive interview, where he shares more about his role in this film, his experience and working with costars- actress Shari Rigby (October Baby), and Bollywood star Sharman Joshi (3 Idiots) .

Karuna Pai: So, Stephen, in this movie you play the role of Dr. Graham Staines. Can you share some insight into Dr. Staines and what went through your mind when you were approached for this role?

Stephen Baldwin: Dr. Graham Staines is a missionary who felt quite humbly, a very simple calling to India, to be of service to those suffering from the physical disorder of leprosy. He also did that with the understanding that, there was the reality of those people being healed. Simultaneously, he was a Christian, so in India at that time, to openly preach that to others is illegal. It is okay if you are working a medical clinic and to share your faith with those, if somebody asks you to do so. Unfortunately in 1999, there were some radical individuals that determined in their own judgment that Graham Staines was really using the medical reality just as a reason or an excuse to try and convert people to Christianity. Those radicals took it upon themselves to murder Dr. Staines along with his two young sons in 1999. It was a global tragedy, unfortunate obviously. This incident sent shock waves throughout India and around the world. And, interestingly enough no matter who you are, if you are a mother or a father or a sister or brother and when you hear about something like this, the horror of how these people lost their lives, in my understanding, it really is something that kind of connects us all! Yes, this is a very powerful, very dramatic and telling of the testimony of the life of Dr. Graham Staines and the ultimate sacrifice he made.

The movie stars Sherman Joshi who in my opinion, quite possibly will win many awards for hisperformance in this film, I mean that! He really was of the skill set as an artist, to carry this film with great boldness. It was a pleasure to work with him. This film, now titled ‘The Least of These’ -you can go to www.leastofthese.movie to watch the trailer and find theaters near you playing the movie.

Karuna Pai: In what ways did playing this powerful and transformational role of Staines impact you personally?

Stephen Baldwin: Graham Staines was one of these born again Christians who walked the quiet walk.You know, there are all different types of individuals and functions in ministry. But, this guy chose to just go over and very simply, humbly and quietly serve the way he did. It's depicted in the film; it really does come across almost mysterious, to a sense. He must have been odd to some people in India, he wasn't afraid to deal with lepers and such issues.

But, that being said I think what was interesting for me was I am quite the opposite of Graham (laughs). I am a skydiver and I do adrenaline junkie kind of things. I don't think Dr. Graham Staines was as much of an extreme sports enthusiast. But, that really was most interesting for me as an actor and a performer. It was kind of cool for me to watch films of him, see pictures, hear stories and research. I never met his family because I got enough of a sense to portray him with this ensemble cast. Shari Rigby is so wonderful as ‘Gladys Staines’ and for me it was understanding playing Dr. Staines within this story and this ensemble, subtly as I did. I just felt that was the most important thing to share about who Graham was- he was a very serving-hearted person, it wasn't about him; he didn't want it to be about him etc. 

Karuna Pai: This movie was shot on location in India. Can you share any memorable incident that took place in India?

Stephen Baldwin: Interesting question (pauses), I think other than what I share with people when they ask me of my experience during the film, and I am not just saying this, I am a people-person! When I get in certain environments, I like to study the people. I think being 70 miles outside of Hyderabad and the countryside, it was definitely the people for me; the people were the most charming and meaningful for me.

But, there were a couple of incidents where a ‘high ranking official’ of the production (that’s the quote), “so no one can be identified and stays anonymous”. A ‘high ranking official’ within the production had an experience driving to location at night, you know how the traffic is when you get in certain areas, and this person relieves themselves of their lunch. I don't know what the Indian expression for that is, but that was rather memorable (chuckles).

Karuna Pai: How did you have to prepare for the role? Did you have to do anything differently?

Stephen Baldwin: Actually yes, if you think about it “Let’s say you have a friend, however, they are a little more hyper than you, so they move more like a hyper person”, that would be similar to describing me. I wouldn't say I am completely hyper, though my wife would say, “Are you kidding me? You are out of your mind” (he states -kudos to her)!

But, if you think about playing a person who's kind of quieter, then subconsciously this would be something to consider in your movement and in your behavior, “Do you move fast or do you move slow?” So, yes there was a little bit of a choice and deliberateness to how I chose to play him “he moved a little slower and listened a little longer, he was just a little bit calmer”.

Karuna Pai: In closing, can you share your wishes with TopPick Media audience and why this is a must see movie.
Stephen Baldwin: This film is motivated to honor the legacy of this man who unfortunately lost his life. It was a random act of unnecessary judgment, but it doesn't mean that people shouldn't know the story and it doesn't mean that we shouldn't honor the lives of those lost, is really how I feel about it. Those two young boys, who lost their lives, hearing their story 20 years later, would mean something to anybody who's a parent or a brother or sister or anyone. It's a wonderful film, it is beautifully made and it is in a beautiful place. It is very compelling, because after all that happened, the wife of Graham Staines-Gladys Staines came out of her house where they lived and while all the media of India stood in front of her, one of the first things she said was, “We just want the world to know we forgive the people who have done this”.

It doesn't matter who you are, where you are from or what your belief is, it’s just a compelling story of great faith that honored a very humble man. So, we hope all of India will come out and see the film. In my opinion, equally as important is we honor the legacy of Graham Staines. Also, Sharman Joshi is unequivocally one of the greatest talents in all of India and people should come see him too.

Conclusion: “The Least of These” beautifully illustrates the power of love, hope and forgiveness to
overcome hate. For more information or to purchase tickets to a showing near you, visit
www.TheLeastOfThese.movie
In conjunction with the film, and based on the inspiration of Gladys Staines’ forgiveness, Skypass
Entertainment has created iForgive.com. iForgive is built around a simple premise: that one act of
forgiveness can spark a worldwide movement.

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