Tim Tebow makes his big screen debut co-producing ‘Run the Race’
The new movie Run the Race begins with the main character Zach Truett about to play an important game as a high school quarterback. However, as former NFL quarterback and devout Christian Tim Tebow said (he co-produced the film along with his brother Robby), the movie is so much more than a sports film.
Brothers Zach (Tanner Stine, from the television drama NCIS) and David Truett (Evan Hofer) are still reeling from losing their mother and being abandoned by their grieving father, and they’re looking for their ticket out of their hometown. Zach, an all-state athlete, hopes that a football scholarship to the University of Florida will help them get away from their difficult past and lead them to a brighter future. But things prove to not be so easy; Zach is fleeing from the bad things in his life instead of facing them, and he’ll need to turn to God for peace and guidance.
As Tim Tebow pointed out, the relationship between the two brothers is what drives the film. Stine and Hofer are incredibly believable as brothers (they lived together during the filming).
In Los Angeles, Catholic Digest sat down with Tim Tebow to talk about the themes of the film (which opens Feb. 22), what was in the script that convinced him to get into the film industry, and the problem of suffering.
Q: What attracted you to Run the Race?
A: I think it was the script. It was probably seven years ago now, and I read it right down the road [from the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel]. The script was shared with my brother and me, and it impacted us, so we shared it with family and friends. The story affected so many people, and we were like, ‘Dang, if these many people are encouraged by it, and it’s this effective to all of us, then maybe this is worth telling.’ The goal for me was never to get into the movie industry. It was just to be able to encourage people, and hopefully this movie will do just that.
Q: Can you see yourself in either of the brothers — David or Zach — in their relationship and love of sports?
A: I think there’s definitely a piece for me and my brother and all of my siblings, who are so close. We are always pushing each other, and we have each other’s back. We’re each other’s biggest advocates, and we’re probably each other’s biggest “biters,” too. But yeah, it relates to us in the dreams and the sports, but that was just one way to tell a bigger story about relationships, meaning, and community.
Q: Why do you think sports movies are so compelling to people?
A: Run the Race has sports in it, but it’s not just a sports movie. But I think films with sports are so compelling because everyone loves that comeback moment and that last-minute ending Hail Mary where everybody wins. But sometimes in life it’s not like that. Sometimes we get knocked down and sometimes there are disappointments. This film shows that. There are also things that hit us in real life that we don’t necessarily know how to handle, but it’s not about us knowing how to handle it. It’s about trusting God in the midst of it — knowing that he’s going to handle it for us.
Q: A big theme of the film is if God is good, then why do bad things happen to good people? What would you say to someone who is struggling with a tragedy? Do you think this movie will help them?
A: We live in a fallen and broken world, and it’s not going to be easy. It’s not going to be perfect. But you need to understand that running the race is all about recognizing that God has been chasing us, and he loves us, and he gave us his son. So for us to know this in the midst of brokenness is how we can be healed and restored through Jesus. He’s been chasing us, and if we just turn around and see it and we run toward him everything can change. It’s also a realistic picture; it’s not that this life’s going to be easy and perfect because it’s not. We never were told that, and we’re not promised that. But when we’re running after the right things, it’s worth it.
Q: What was your favorite scene in the movie?
A: I think it’s at the end when Tanner [Tanner Stine who plays Zach] is in the swamp [Ben Hill Griffin Stadium at the University of Florida where Tebow played football in college], which is close to home for me, for a game against Florida State, who is one of our biggest rivals. He runs out there, and it’s a dream coming true for him, but it was also a dream coming true because his perspective has changed. For most of his life, he was running away from God and now he’s running toward him, and everything just made so much more sense in that moment. That’s special to me.
Q: What message do you hope people take away from Run the Race?
A: I hope that they leave being encouraged and inspired. Not thinking that everything’s going to be perfect but knowing that even in the midst of their hardships, there’s a God that loves them and he won’t abandon them. When we put our eyes on him, we can have a perspective about what truly matters.
Q: Who do you think should see this movie?
A: Hopefully a lot of people! I think it relates to so many different people, whether it’s a young person that has a dream, whether it’s a mom or a dad who is trying to take care of their kids. The film has themes that encompass so many different people in so many different walks of life, and it’s just so special.