"The Cross" Movie Gets High Marks And Gets Noticed In Hollywood
The Arthur Blessitt Story" opens nationwide March 27, 2009. "The Cross" is the story of one of the most unique individuals to walk the face of the earth. For the past forty years Arthur Blessitt has done something no one else has ever done, carried a twelve foot wooden cross through 315 nations, territories and island groups - or in other words every inhabited place in the world.
"I wanted to explore exactly what it is that drives a man like this," says director Matthew Crouch, who also produces the film along with Richard J. Cook and Stephan Blinn. "The guy's in the Guinness Book of World Records! Is he just a nut? A crazed fanatic? Or something else? Maybe some Old Testament prophet come back to walk the Earth!"
"Some people laugh when they see me carrying the cross down the street," reminisces Arthur in the opening of the film. "They yell out, 'Hey, you're a nut!'" To which he jovially responds, "At least I'm screwed on the right bolt!"
Arthur has carried the cross through 52 war zones, met with Presidents and peasants, been greeted by hundreds of thousands in jammed packed squares and spent countless months walking alone down deserted highways - all the while never wavering in his self professed mission of sharing the love of Jesus with everyone he meets.
"All to often religion has caused the cross to become a symbol of conflict around the world," says Arthur, "but it's part of my life's mission and hopefully the mission of this film to reinterpret the meaning of the cross for people so they can see that the cross is not something that's against them, it's the ultimate symbol that says God loves you no matter what."
Arthur points to the fact that he's still alive today, having survived wars, firing squads, beatings, deadly jungles, as well as the fact that he and his cross's ability to gain access to most unreachable of places as proof that the world is open to his message. In 1982 Arthur even marched alone through five fighting armies into West Beirut to pray for Yassir Arafat. All of it was captured live by CNN's Peter Arnet.
Now 68, Arthur first came to some notoriety back in the sixties when he was known as "The Minister of Sunset Strip," feeding and witnessing to hippies, Hell's Angels and Black Panthers during some of Hollywood's most radical days. In December of 1969, felt God calling him to take the giant cross down from the wall of his "Jesus" coffee house, a hippies hang out called "His Place" and to carry it on foot across the county. Not even a brain aneurism two weeks before he was to begin his journey could hold him back.
Producer Stephan Blinn notes, "even if you're someone who couldn't care less about church, religion, Christianity, whatever, here's a guy who's just full-on gone for it! He's been through some of the most blowmind stuff and no matter who you are, you're just sitting there in awe going, no freakin' way he just said that!"
"I always find myself inspired by people driven to lead extreme lives," says Crouch. "Whether they're climbing Everest, investing all they have into the world's next great company, or giving it all away to care for destitute orphans in India. Arthur is just such a person. Besides, who wouldn't want to make a film that can be summed up as 'Survivor Man' meets 'Blue Planet!'
In addition to the March 27th release of "The Cross," Arthur's book of the same name is currently available, published through Authentic.