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Premiere of “The Grace Card” shows local...
Premiere of “The Grace Card” shows local actor’s talents
February 26, 2011
By Buck Sommerkamp
Michael Joiner calls eastern Jackson County his home, but Hollywood is never too far away.
As theaters across the country premiere “The Grace Card,” Joiner will be watching the reviews and the audience reactions. Web movie review sites have already begun to buzz with discussion about the faith-based film from Sony/Provident, appearing on screens beginning today (Friday, February 25).
Michael Joiner, who lives in Independence with his wife and three sons, appears alongside Louis Gossett, Jr. in the film, shot last year and finally hitting the big screen. He moved his family back to the area a few years ago after becoming disillusioned with acting prospects in LA.
Joiner spent this past week in Memphis, Tennessee, as the cast and crew gathered for the premiere of “The Grace Card” at the historic Orpheum Theater, alongside his Memphis counterparts. The movie prominently features Memphis landmarks and locals as it tells a deep story about racial reconciliation and spiritual redemption. Memphis police officer “Mac” McDonald, Joiner’s character in the film, learns from the school of hard knocks as he searches for meaning in an increasingly difficult work and home-life situation.
It’s been an interesting road for Joiner, who seems equally at home with the gritty cop character in this movie as he does as a stand-up comedian, performing family-friendly shows across the country. He performed his comedy at Lee’s Summit Community Church at the end of January, along with his 13-year-old son, Dustin — a benefit for Character That Counts, a Lee’s Summit-based men’s ministry headed by Rod Handley.
Dramatically swinging between wisecracks about the lack of pricing at the “dollar store” and his portrayal of an emotionally-wrecked police officer in danger of losing his son and his marriage comes easily for Joiner.
This is his first major motion picture, although he has appeared in a variety of network television dramas, even doubling for Bruce Willis because of his physical appearance.
His family loves this area, and he’s looking forward to continuing to raise his children here. “If I can live here and still work as an actor in Los Angeles, that would be an ideal situation for me,” Joiner says.
The Grace Card
The movie is rated PG-13 because it portrays some of the intensity routinely witnessed by police officers as they work their beat. “It’s definitely a family-safe movie, but it’s not watered down,” Joiner explains. On the heels of other faith-based movies such as “Fireproof” and “The Blind Side,” Joiner believes “The Grace Card” stands out because of its realism and powerful acting.
Produced by a Memphis Church, the film was shot on state-of-the-art RED cameras and features well-paced editing, gritty realism, and a gut-wrenching story of a man whose road in life seems to end every time he steps into his uniform.
At press time, Joiner was especially excited to see a positive review in The Hollywood Reporter:
“…Actor-comedian Michael Joiner delivers a powerfully intense performance as ‘Mac’ McDonald, still grieving over the loss of his young son many years earlier. The young boy was run over by an African-American criminal fleeing the scene of a crime, resulting in his father becoming a bitter racist…the film boasts excellent production values, especially [Director of Photography] John Paul Clark’s lensing of the suitably gritty Memphis locations.”
The film opens Friday at The Legends, Town Center, Studio 30, and Independence Commons 20 theaters.
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