Metro Atlanta native says faith plays a role in acting career

Oh Lord, what an idea for a movie.

“Believe Me,” coming out Friday, takes satirical aim at the sway powerful communicators can have over good church folks who just want to, you know, believe.

Alex Russell plays Sam, a hard-partying college kid who turns to the church when trouble strikes. By "turning to the church," we don't mean he falls on his knees. Quite the opposite. What better way to drum up a little cash when things get tight, Sam figures, than to invent a charity? He ropes his buddies into his scam, and they hit the road in search of financial support, like a band of anti-Apostles.

Fayette County native Johanna Braddy plays Callie, the group's manager and Sam's sweetie. When the scales fall from her eyes, Sam has a choice to make.

“It’s one of my favorite scripts of all time,” Braddy said during a recent interview. “I laughed out loud.”

A graduate of McIntosh High School in Peachtree City, she was raised in the church and could relate to the well-meaning folks Sam and his cronies hit up for ill-gotten bucks.

“I was raised in the Christian community, and have been going to church since I was very little,” she said. “All the Christian stereotypes struck close to home.”

Indeed, the faithful will laugh and maybe cringe at the dead-on sendups of “church talk” and other religious traits. If you’ve ever felt your knees buckle while Sister So-and-So leads the group in prayer, wondering if Jesus is going to come back before she finally wraps things up, you know what I’m talking about.

“This was a character that was closest to myself,” said Braddy, who also has been seen in films including “Paranormal Activity 3” and television shows including “Necessary Roughness,” the former USA series that filmed in Atlanta. “She brings up all these points about being out in the mission field and feeling close to the Lord, then coming back to church and feeling pressure to fit in. I love the fact that the movie shows that she is flawed as well. Christians are so flawed. We need a savior.”

Currently in Vancouver working on a new Lifetime project called “Un-Real,” Braddy prays before auditions but is open to a variety of roles.

“The Bible talks about being a light in a dark place,” she said. “Creatively I just do whatever feels right in the moment, if I feel right in my spirit.”

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