Friday, April 1, 2011

Mark Christopher Lawrence (Interview)

If your a fan of NBC's action spy comedy "CHUCK" like I am, then you'll know right away who "BIG MIKE" is, played by the very talented Mark Christopher Lawrence. Mark is no stranger to film or television, his filmography includes 'Terminator 2: Judgment Day', 'The Pursuit of Happiness', 'Caddyshack 2' and 'K-Pax', and his television experiences includes 'Heroes', 'Weeds', 'My Name is Earl' and the hit series 'CHUCK' which he is most known for. But film and television isn't all he's known for, he also does theater and stand up comedy.

Mark isn't afraid to let others know he's a man of faith either, but living in and working in Hollywood has it's share of challenges and opportunities for Christians. Today, I got the opportunity to ask Mark about his faith in Christ and how it has affected his carreer and life.

OneWayFilms: Mark, I first want to say thank you for your time for this interview. I've noticed besides playing BIG MIKE on "CHUCK" (which we'll talk about in a moment), you're also doing stand up comedy and theater. What else are you doing and how do you fit all these commitments into your schedule?

Mark: I try to find some time for myself, my family and my friends. I spend some time working on me… Physically! Working out and working on my skill sets. I am not fond of the 6 am workout, but it is getting the job done.

OWF: Do you have any spare time or hobbies?

Mark: I spend some time at the gun range shooting sporting clays and working on my tactical defense skills, all of which make me more marketable. I spend time relaxing with friends and family, and recently I’ve been shooting some short film projects that I will be posting periodically. 

OWF: Your acting credits go way back, including film and television, but which of these two do you prefer? 

Mark: This is a very difficult question to answer. They both offer challenges that are unique to its own medium. They both offer rewards and perks. However, the work one does as an actor is very similar today, because a lot of the TV shows are shooting on Hi-Def cameras that make the (movie) acting experience the same. So, my short answer is both.

OWF: Which projects have been a real highlight for you?

Mark: Well, My first TV job, 'Hill St. Blues', because it was my first. It was a show that changed the way TV is made. 'Terminator II' because it changed the way movies do special effects. 'Fear of a Black Hat' because it was my first major role in a movie and the first thing people have rcognized me in. 

OWF: I am thrilled to see that your not ashamed to mention your faith in God or the importance of prayer in your Facebook posts. I've even heard of your Strong faith as a Christian and it's importance to you. Can you share with us about how you came about being a Christian?
Mark: I grew up in a God fearing household and made a decision for Christ as a youngster. However, like so many others, when I went off to college I gradually fell away from the church and allowed things to creep into my life that are not pleasing to God. When I was dating my wife, one of the things we both knew was that there was something missing in our lives and agreed that the something was God. So, before we got married I rededicated my life to the Lord and my wife made a decision for Christ the same night.

OWF: So you strayed and came back.

Mark: The seed was planted and present in my life, because God never leaves us, we drift away from him. Thankfully the Holy Spirit was able to bring me back into the fold. 

OWF: Paul tells us in Jude to build ourselves up in the most holy faith and to keep ourselves in God's love. How do you keep yourself built up in your walk with God?

Mark: I struggle daily! The flesh is week but the “grace of God will never take us where the will of God will not protect us.” So I try to keep read and prayed up and ask others to keep me in prayer too. But when I fall, I ask God’s forgiveness and I get back up. I understand that I am not Christ but I strive to follow in His footsteps, however unworthy I may be. 

OWF: I wish more people would be able to grasp that truth. How does your faith play into your career in Hollywood?

Mark: To quote a song, “I’ve come this far by faith, leaning on the Lord”. Without faith I wouldn't even be working in Hollywood. I am not special enough on my own. Without God I truly believe this would not have been my path. Every time I tried to do something else, it seems that the door to that avenue was slammed shut and the door leading to where I am now swung wide open. Without faith I have nothing. "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." 

OWF: How do you share your faith in your field of work?

Mark: I’m one of those people that is not heavy handed with my faith. I tend to share daily on Twitter and Facebook and as I am lead in one-on-one situations. Also, I share through comedy with my gospel comedy show and DVD 'SHOUT! An Evening of Gospel Comedy.' 

OWF: Is it easy for a Christian to share their faith in Hollywood?

Mark: I’m not sure that the workplace is very open to expressions of faith, but if I am lead then I will. So… is it Easy? No. But I will! 

OWF: In Hollywood, when people discover that you are a Christian, how do they normally respond to you?

Mark: I’ve only noticed reactions from other believers and they are always happy to know. I think because of the way I strive to live, others are not surprised. Christians sometimes can feel so alone that I’m sure the reactions are due to relief that they are not as alone as they sometimes feel.

OWF: Have cast or crew members ever asked you about your faith?

Mark: No. I have never been asked at work about my faith. Not sure if it is just a feeling of boundaries that people are trying to respect in the workplace or if it is because when we are working we have a lot to do.

OWF: I understand that Zachery Levi who plays CHUCK, is also a Christian. Have you and Zachary ever discussed or shared your faith together?
Mark: Zach and I have never really discussed our faith, but we both know. (Big Smile)

OWF: How does your faith play into your choices of what roles to take?

Mark: I’ve only had one job offer that I turned down because I didn’t feel it was an appropriate image (Cigarette ad aimed at kids), but to be completely honest… I don’t turn down roles based on content and my faith. I feel that those roles that are not pleasing to God get weeded out beforehand. 

OWF: My daughter, Victoria wishes to be an actress someday, what advice would you offer to her and other Christians who feel a calling to acting or being involved in Hollywood?

Mark: First of all, stay read up on your word and ask God to not only guide your steps but to open doors and allow you to hear Him clearly. Then take action to get prepared.

OWF: What kind of action?

Mark: Save your money and find other streams of income to pay your bills while you chase the dream. Know that early in your career, you will not have many opportunities to pick and choose your parts, but let your agents know what you are not willing to do so they can be mindful of your boundaries.

OWF: That's great advice. How can we be a blessing to you and and show our support for what you do?

Mark: It would be awesome to have other Christians follow me on Twitter and join my Facebook fan group at The Official Mark Christopher Lawrence Fan Club . Go to and get my gospel comedy DVD SHOUT! and/or the book on tape AFFABEL. You could also have your Church book me for an event or as a speaker. However, above all else… Pray for me! 1Thes 5:17 “Pray without ceasing”. .

OWF: And thank you again Mark, we'll meet again

Mark: God Bless you all!

No comments:

Post a Comment