A book had anonymously and mysteriously appeared on a table in the actor’s dressing room—a gift from a stranger.
Jefferson Moore took the book home and put it on his coffee table, where it lay unopened for several months. One day he became ill with the flu and stayed home from work. He grew tired of watching TV, so he picked up the book and began to read.
The book was Dinner with a Perfect Stranger: An Invitation Worth Considering, (Author David Gregory). Moore found the book absolutely riveting. He thought, “This is one of the best explanations of the Gospel I have ever seen. This would make a good movie.”
He was so taken with the story in the book and its message, that he decided he would undertake making the movie himself. The author, who left the book in Moore’s dressing room, had autographed it. Finding the author proved very difficult, especially since he was selling it out of his garage in Plano, Texas. (Just a few miles from where I used to live.) Gregory had written the book originally as a testimony for his family and friends, and he had sold around two thousand copies. Moore searched to find him for two months and finally found the author. He asked for and received the film rights.
Random House had previously picked up the publishing rights and got behind the book in a big way. The sequence of events were all in God’s perfect timing. Moore produced the movie, calling it A Perfect Stranger. He starred in it and played the role of Jesus Christ. The movie was released just when Gregory’s book hit the top of the New York Times Bestsellers list!
Moore had the film rights for the first book, but when Random House got hold of the publishing rights from Gregory for two more books they also acquired the film rights. Fortunately for Moore, Random House let the option on the film rights expire and Moore was later able to acquire them. But, there’s more to the story…
Jefferson Moore never trained to be an actor. His high school counselor once told him he didn’t think he would amount to much of anything—that maybe he could get a job like “looking out for forest fires”. Jefferson Moore entered college in Kentucky, but did not graduate. For awhile he worked as a bouncer in a country-western place. He describes himself as a “folksy, cheeseburger kind of guy”.
Moore says he got into acting “by the grace of God”. One day he took his wife, Kelly, (they met in college) for her audition at a regional theater. While he was waiting for her to finish the audition, the director came into the room where he was sitting and told him that the man who was supposed to read for her audition didn’t show. He asked Moore if he would read the part opposite her instead. Moore said, “Sure!”. As a result, Jefferson Moore got the lead role! He adds, “My wife didn’t get the part.”
So began the acting and film-making career of Jefferson Moore….never formally trained as an actor or as a filmmaker…yet, that is what he has been doing since the early 1990s. He has said, “I never wrote a word before writing the screenplay. I never wrote a poem for my wife or anything like that. When I got interested in making movies, I was so anxious to tell stories that it seemed to come natural.”
For the movie version of Dinner With A Perfect Stranger, Moore was an actor, producer, writer, editor and director. One of the main characters is Nicki, a lawyer who has dinner with Jesus (played by Moore) in a restaurant. The second movie, Another Perfect Stranger, is about Nicki's daughter and occurs ten years later. This time the scene takes place on an airplane and Moore again plays the role of Jesus. In the movies the conversation is between Jesus and Nicki or between Jesus and the daughter.
Moore's production company is called Kelly’s Filmworks, Ltd. and is named in honor of his wife and co-founder, Kelly. The company exclusively handles the distribution of its own projects. In each movie there is a character named “Kelly” somewhere in the film. The production company is close-knit, including the extras. When they are not filming on location, they frequently worship together at the Southeast Christian Church in Louisville, Kentucky, where Moore attends.
Moore says that “finding Jesus is a journey we all have to take alone regardless of who the family is or the environment we grew up in.” He says, “my goal is to explore and explain God. The fact that the Creator of the universe wants to spend time with me is overwhelming and a lot of people don’t think that. They think that God is judge, he’s going to let me into heaven by the skin of my teeth and I’ll never hear from Him again. It’s not that at all. We were designed to have a relationship with God because He wants it.”
Jokingly he has said that all he ever wanted was a house and a nice boat, and that he had asked God for them. Instead, God gave him a Harley and a movie career.
Someone has said that not as many Christian movies are made any more compared to what used to be. That isn’t true. History of films shows that from 1903 through the 1928 (silent movie era), fewer than one faith-based movie per year was made. From then until 2000 fewer than two movies per year were made. Yet, since 2000 and depending on how movies are categorized, there has been an explosion of Christian films and nearly thirteen films per year have been released. And, that’s just in the United States.
In another of GOD’S OTHER WAYS©, the Lord has given Jefferson Moore a platform. Among the movies Moore has produced are: The Perfect Stranger, Another Perfect Stranger, Nikki and the Perfect Stranger, Clancy, The Perfect Gift, and Pieces of Easter. Through his acting and movie career he is using that platform to spread the Lord’s Gospel to millions!
In addition to Jefferson Moore, there has been an increase in the number of filmmakers who are making Christian films; for example, The Kendrick Brothers, Sherwood Church, Mark Burnett and his wife Roma Downey, Mel Gibson and others.
Publish his glorious deeds among the nations. Tell everyone about the amazing things he does. Psalm 96:3 NLT
And the Good News about the Kingdom will be preached throughout the whole world, so that all nations will hear it; and then the end will come. Matthew 24:14 NLT