5 Questions With: Kirk Cameron
"Marriages have been rescued from divorce because of the movie."
His role as cool-guy wiseacre Mike Seaver on 'Growing Pains' made Kirk Cameron one of the hottest young stars of the late '80s and early '90s. But since the show went off the air in 1992, Cameron has steered clear of the spotlight, devoting his time to raising his six kids with wife Chelsea Noble, acting as a Christian evangelist and founding Camp Firefly, a charity that sponsors camping trips for terminally ill children.
But all that changed in 2008 when Cameron tackled the role of Caleb Holt in 'Fireproof.' The $500,000 film, about a firefighter on the verge of divorce who takes a 40-day faith-based challenge in a last-ditch attempt to save his marriage, became a gargantuan hit. The movie grossed north of $33 million to become the most profitable independent film of the year; the book featured in the film, 'The Love Dare,' was a top-seller on Amazon.com; and fans heralded the Christian-themed drama as a life-changing, marriage-saving experience.
With his star on the rise once more, Cameron chats about getting back in the acting saddle, what it's like to save marriages and whether the 'Growing Pains' gang will ever join forces for another reunion movie. -- By Tom DiChiara
1. It had been three years since your last acting gig when 'Fireproof' hit theaters. What was it about the movie that enticed you to act again?
Well, I've got a big, full, busy life with my wife and my six kids and all the other stuff that we do. And so this was a movie that really caught my attention. I had seen a movie that these producers [Alex Kendrick and Stephen Kendrick] did before called 'Facing the Giants.' That was a little independent film that did really well, and so I got to know them. They were starting their next movie called 'Fireproof,' and I just loved the script -- just a killer script -- about marriage, about a firefighter on the brink of divorce who can save perfect strangers but can't even rescue his own marriage from going up in flames. So I read the script, auditioned for the role, they gave me the part ... and we did it. [I] did a little firefighter boot camp stuff in Los Angeles and in Georgia. And put on about 15 pounds of good muscle weight so I could look the part and pull of some of the stunts and stuff, so that was kind of a manly man thing to do -- lots of fun.
2. What was the best part about filming the movie and what was the toughest?
The toughest part was -- it was a real big acting stretch for me. There were, you know, scenes in there that were really challenging -- some of the fighting scenes, some of the crying scenes. There was just a whole lot of emotion in there. And to just bounce back and forth from one to the other was pretty challenging. But it was great. That's what I love to do. I'm an actor, and so I love to give it my best shot with that kind of stuff. I think the best part about the movie was just the responses from people after seeing it. It wasn't just, "Hey that was cool, that was fun," or you know, 'Good story." People were saying things like: "You don't understand. That was exactly like watching my own marriage up on the big screen. That's what's going on in my house." Or, you know: "We went out and got 'The Love Dare,' and my husband and I have canceled our divorce hearing. We've been married for 30 years, and our marriage is finally getting back on track because of this movie." So marriages have been rescued from divorce because of the movie and the book 'The Love Dare.' So that's the best part.
3. Were you surprised at all that the movie became a huge hit and the book was one of Amazon's top sellers?
We had high hopes for it, but we never dreamed that it would get this kind of a huge response -- I mean, both of them. I can say this to compliment the writers because I didn't write the movie or the book, but the movie ended up being the most profitable independent movie of the year, surpassing all other independent films ... and then the book sold over 1.5 million copies. So it did extremely well.
4. Did you enjoy all the fame you received at such a young age for 'Growing Pains,' or was it a lot to handle?
Yeah, it was a lot to handle. But, you know, for me I couldn't compare it to anything else. It was the only life I knew. I started 'Growing Pains' when I was 14, and it all just kind of happened so quickly. It was fun. A lot of it was great; some of it was not so great. In the end, I ended up meeting my wife, we got married -- things turned out great. I'm thankful for the whole experience. No regrets for being on 'Growing Pains.'
5. You did a 'Growing Pains' reunion movie in 2000 and another one in 2004. Think you'll ever do another one? And do you still keep in touch with the rest of the Seavers?
I don't think so. I don't think they're going to do another one. I don't know how many 'Growing Pains' movies you can do. But who knows? Maybe they will. ...Yeah, we do keep in touch. In fact, I talked to Jeremy Miller the other day. He plays Ben. And actually I was in touch with Joanna [Kerns] too. We're all friends. We like getting together every once in a while. Everything's good with the Seaver family.
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Posted » Jan 27th 2009 6:00AM by Thomas DiChiaraFiled