In 2008, Shari Rigby worked with Jon and Andrew Erwin on the Casting Crowns’ video “Slow Fade” for the movie FIREPROOF. They had a mutual friend who made the connection, and predicted that Shari would be working with the brothers in the future.
When the script for Jon and Andy’s first feature film was complete, Jon called Shari and told her, “There’s this part in the movie and we’d love to offer it to you. We really want you to read it first and tell us what you think. If you like it, it’s yours.”
“I said, ‘That’s great.’ At that point, I didn’t know what the storyline or the story was. He emailed me the script and when I got it, I printed the whole thing out. There was a picture of Rachel Hendrix [who plays Hannah, the lead character] on the cover, and when my husband saw it, he said, ‘You know, that girl really looks like you.’
“We kind of laughed over it for a minute and then I sat down to read it. Then I realized I was reading something that paralleled my life 20-something years ago. I dove in reading it, and was just blown away.”
The first thing Shari read was that before going on her journey, Hannah was working in a law firm. “Twenty years ago, I was a paralegal in a very prominent law firm in Arizona. And at that time in my life, I had gone through having an abortion. When I was reading it, I just knew it was ordained by God.
“As the film goes on, I have to explain to my husband what I’ve done, and the same thing happened with me and my husband. About six or seven years into our marriage, I was faced with having to go to him and tell him that I had had an abortion. It was so amazing to me.”
Shari called Jon Erwin, crying and asking him how he knew. “I think I freaked him out as a young moviemaker. He was really blown away that they had offered that particular part to me. They offered it because we had worked together and because Rachel and I look so much alike. They had no idea I had a whole testimony about being that character myself.
“When Jon and Andy set out to make this film, I don’t think they ever for a moment thought they would be addressing the post-abortive man and woman in this journey. I think God had something He wanted to address in this film. After this movie started being shown and after learning of my testimony, I think that’s when they realized there’s more to this message than the journey of surviving abortion and being adopted.
“For me, I was coming into it from a place where I needed to be very focused on this character. My screen time was very small, and I had to figure out how to take this woman on this journey in a very few scenes. God opened up this ocean for me. He showed me, ‘this is the way it’s going to look now’ while I was preparing for the part. Then He met me on set, and now He’s working on the other side of it, on the end of the journey.”….
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