The star of “Reacher” has a new movie out this month, and it may surprise fans of his action-packed Amazon Prime Video show.
“We’re less than a month away from this deeply meaningful film finding theaters. I’m so proud to be a part of this one,” Ritchson wrote about the project in a recent Instagram post.
Is ‘Ordinary Angels’ based on a true story?
“Ordinary Angels” is based on the true story of one woman’s quest to help a widower pay off medical debt and help one of his two daughters get a liver transplant.
That woman, Sharon Stevens Evans, originally shared the story in a book of the same name, according to the Louisville Courier Journal.
For the movie, Hilary Swank plays Sharon, while Ritchson plays the widowed father, who is named Ed Schmitt.
The “Ordinary Angels” trailer shows Sharon working to overcome Ed’s initial distrust and to rally support for his family. Her efforts include recruiting community members to shovel during a blizzard so that Ed and his daughter can fly to the hospital that has a new liver for her.
“Ordinary Angels” comes from the creators of “Jesus Revolution,” a movie about a pastor’s effort to bring hippies to church that became a surprise hit last year.
Alan Ritchson religion
Although it may not seem like it if you’ve only seen him on “Reacher,” Ritchson is a good fit for “Ordinary Angels” due to his passion for faith.
On Instagram and elsewhere, the “Reacher” star regularly talks about his own Christian beliefs. He runs a YouTube account called “InstaChurch” on which he shares videos of himself talking about God, the Bible and Christian culture.
In his latest video, released Sunday, Ritchson describes the power of a smile.
“Something that I believe is at the very core ... of Christ’s mission was to remind us how to be happy,” he said.
He added, “If you want to live Christ’s way, whether you’re a Christian or not, whether you’re religious or not, you’re closer to Christ than you think when you smile.”
Ritchson’s Jan. 7 video pushing back against Christians who criticize him for playing a sinful character like Jack Reacher has been viewed more than 1.4 million times.
“God is completely unafraid to tell the story of who he is through less than morally ambiguous characters, through pure evil sometimes. ... I think it’s laughable when people criticize me for playing characters who aren’t saintly,” Ritchson says in the video, as the Deseret News previously reported.
How to watch ‘Ordinary Angels’
“Ordinary Angels” hits theaters later this month, on Feb. 23.
The trailer is available on YouTube, and it’s also airing somewhat regularly on TV.
What happened to the family in ‘Ordinary Angels’?
Evans, the woman at the center of the “Ordinary Angels” story, as well as one of Ed’s daughters, Ashley Schmitt, spoke to the Louisville Courier Journal about “Ordinary Angels” in October.
The article highlighted the medical condition, biliary atresia, that created the Schmitt family’s money issues. Both Ashley and her younger sister, Michelle, ultimately needed liver and kidney transplants due to damage caused by their malfunctioning livers.
Michelle Schmitt died at age 30. Ashley Schmitt told the Louisville Courier Journal that the movie “Ordinary Angels” will “keep her memory alive.”
“People who didn’t know her story or the importance of organ donation will understand that now. That’s not something everyone gets when a family member passes away and that’s something my family feels is special,” she said.