Danny Glover has joined the cast of Come Sunday – the upcoming Netflix film that tells the true story of evangelical minister Carlton Pearson, who built one of the largest churches in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and then lost everything as a result of his evolving faith. The tale was explored in a 2005 episode of This American Life, and it is this work that Come Sunday will largely use as source material.
Carlton Pearson became a renowned evangelical minister in Tulsa, having been mentored by televangelist Oral Roberts. At the height of its success, during the 1990s, the church that Pearson formed had a congregation estimated at over 6000 people. That congregation began to dwindle, however, when Pearson changed his teachings – asserting that hell did not exist in the traditionally taught sense.
Pearson publicly declared that, rather than being an eternity of pain and suffering, he believed that hell is created during our lifetimes, on earth, as a result of human behaviours. Pearson was declared a heretic by his peers in 2004, and during the years that followed this theological shift, he lost his congregation, and his church – and had to re-build them both, along with the parameters of his own faith.
Academy Award nominee Chiwetel Ejiofor will play the lead role of Carlton Pearson, with Academy Award winner Robert Redford starring as his mentor, Oral Roberts. Emmy nominee Danny Glover will star as Gilbert Pearson – uncle of Carlton. Joshua Marston (The Forgiveness Of Blood) is directing the film, and the script comes from Marcus Hinchey (All Good Things). Ira Glass and Alissa Shipp from This American Life will co-produce.
Come Sunday has the potential to be a fascinating movie – exploring theological themes, along with the social structure of religious communities in America. It also provides an opportunity to discuss the intersection of faith and financial profit. Moreover, the project is now bringing together three powerful performers in Chiwetel Ejiofor, Robert Redford, and Danny Glover. We’ll be watching closely for more casting announcements, as well as an estimated release date.