Actress Chrissy Metz Says Her Experiences and Faith Attracted to Her Role in ‘Breakthrough’

Marcel Ruiz (John Smith) hugs Chrissy Metz (Joyce Smith) in “Breakthrough.” Photo by Allen Fraser

Everybody knows what it’s like to suffer alongside a loved one in crisis.

That includes Chrissy Metz.

And, the “This Is Us” star said, that’s what drew her to the role of Joyce Smith in the new movie “Breakthrough,” releasing Wednesday (April 17) in time for Easter weekend.

“Breakthrough” dramatizes the true story of Smith, whose 14-year-old son, John, fell through the ice on a frozen Missouri lake in 2015. John spent more than 15 minutes underwater and another 43 minutes with no signs of life — until his mother began to pray over him in the emergency room.

Three weeks later, John walked out of the hospital on his own and without brain damage — something his doctor described to NBC News at the time as a “bonafide miracle.”

The movie depicts how the Smiths’ Assemblies of God church and their community joined in an outpouring of support and prayer for John and how his recovery prompted questions about why some people recover from medical crises and others do not.

Chrissy Metz (Joyce Smith), from left, Marcel Ruiz (John Smith) and Josh Lucas (Brian Smith) in a scene from Twentieth Century Fox’s film “Breakthrough.” Photo by Allen Fraser

Metz said that when she was approached about the film she already was familiar with the Smith family’s story from the headlines — and, to some degree, what they had been through.

About a year ago, she said, her own mother experienced a medical emergency.

The actress was raised Catholic and, “more importantly,” she said, with a connection to a higher power instilled in her from the very beginning by her grandfather. She remembered saying things to her mother’s doctors that she read in the script “literally almost verbatim.”

“I believe that everything happens as it should,” she said. “And for me to even be approached about the movie, I was like, ‘Oh, yeah, I definitely need to do this.’”

Producer DeVon Franklin was “blown away” by the Smiths’ story several years ago when he met Joyce and John Smith and their pastor, Jason Noble, while promoting his film “Miracles From Heaven.”

“It was just so captivating,” Franklin said. “I just knew that I had to bring it to the big screen.”

Josh Lucas (Brian Smith), from left, Chrissy Metz (Joyce Smith) and Dennis Haysbert (Dr. ​Garrett​) in a scene from Twentieth Century Fox’s “Breakthrough.” Photo by Allen Fraser

The producer said “Breakthrough” builds on the success of the other films he has produced with explicitly Christian messages: “Miracles From Heaven,” which also is based on the true story of a mother holding on to faith as her child faces a health crisis, and “The Star,” an animated film telling the story of Jesus’ birth from the viewpoint of the animals.

And it’s well positioned to reach even more people, he said.

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Source: Religion News Service