Joel Smallbone of the Grammy and Dove Award-winning For King & Country recently had a conversation with Pastor Resources to share about one of the group’s latest projects the Priceless DVD/Blue-ray release from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment. The DVD follows a Grammy-nominated song, a novel and a major motion picture of the same title.
Q: Joel, For King & Country has talked about the value of a woman’s worth from the stage, tell us about that?
A: “Early on, one of the tangible things we did was we brought over a load of Australian one-cent coins. We framed them and made necklaces out of them, and we called it the ‘priceless’ necklace. We made it available, and it was exciting, but it was almost alarming to see the way people responded, like they were starving for this message, particularly our generation…In the thick of that, we went to our brother Ben, who is a filmmaker, and said, we believe there is a story that needs to be told here, what about taking this message to the silver screen?”
Q: How have you championed the “priceless” movement?
A: “Part of the DNA of For King & Country is this idea of respect and honor in relationships and women being priceless. What we’ve found in our beliefs as men is that people are made equal. No one is a commodity and everyone deserves to be loved and loved well.”
Q: Building on the idea of being “priceless,” What’s the movie about?
A: “Priceless (PG-13) follows James Stevens (Joel Smallbone) who, desperate and at a crossroad, agrees to drive a box truck on a shady, one-time trip cross country for cash – no questions asked. But when he discovers what he is delivering is actually who, James is compelled to help two sisters who are unaware of the danger that’s ahead.”
Q: Joel, you play the lead character, James Stevens, in the PG-13 rated film? Who else is in the cast?
A: “The supporting cast includes Bianca Santos (The Duff, Ouija), Jim Parrack (Suicide Squad, Fury), Amber Midthunder (Hell or Highwater, “The Originals”) and David Koechner (Anchorman, “The Office”). The movie is directed by Ben Smallbone (Priceless), and produced by Steve Barnett.”
Q: The movie addresses sex-trafficking. How can the Christian community create awareness, or get involved?
A: “It’s a very real thing. And it’s attacking the very fabric of our families. Our hope with the film, the song, and even with the movement, and being up with a half a million of these necklaces and bracelets being sold now, that we’ll be able to do our small part in encouraging change, and for us to alleviate this problem from the earth.”
Q: Now that you’ve done the movie, how has that message resonated with you?
A: “James Stevens is a very normal fellow. He’s an American, so I had to lose the Aussie twang, but he’s just a normal bloke, who has been struck with this tragedy. He lost his wife in an accident, and he derailed after that. As a result of that, his daughter was taken from him by protective services. In this desperate moment to get his life back on track, he does what any of us would do, and he looks for any kind of job to earn money, and to earn it quickly, and he was offered this transportation job, to drive the truck straight through, no questions asked. He takes the job, against his better judgement, really, and in the middle of the trip, he finds out it’s not what he’s carrying but who he’s carrying. He has these two young ladies in the back of his truck. So, he rides them in the front cab of the truck, and the rest of the road trip unfolds…No sooner than that, he gets to the drop off point and realizes he’s sold them into slavery, prostitution and into trafficking.”
Q: How big of an issue is human trafficking?
A: “As artists, with the song and the film, our hope is God-willing, we can create inspiration, and have people ask questions of themselves, and then outwardly as a society – Am I helping to resolve it, or am I doing nothing? Statistically, human trafficking in a few short years will overtake the drug trade as the largest illegal industry in the world.”
Q: How can we start a conversation or help to initiate a change?
A: “There’s a call to action at the end of the movie – to seek help or to get involved. We have partnered with organizations like End It, A21 and Saving Innocence, to name a few. Visit www.pricelessthemovie.com for a complete list of partners.”
Q: What are some of the things you are working on right now?
A: “We just started working on our third studio project, so we’re quite thrilled. As far as the release date, it usually takes us ten months to a year to button everything up, so we’ll have to wait and see.”