Kristoffer Polaha on Run The Race, Working with Tim Tebow and more!

Hey y'all!  I was recently able to chat with Kristoffer Polaha about his upcoming movie "Run The Race."  Many of you may remember the interview I did with him in December, which you can find here.  He is without a doubt one of my favorite actors, as well as being one of the most genuine, kind, & humble people I've ever interviewed.


Without further ado, let's get started.

Mercy: Can you share a little bit about Run The Race?
Kristoffer: Run The Race is a film that's going to be in theaters nationwide February 22nd.  It was
produced by Tim Tebow and his brother Robby.  Ultimately, it's about what it is like for people of faith, but also for people who don't have faith to meet struggles and obstacles in their lives and how you pick up the pieces when you don't get out of life what you were hoping for and when you're met with failure. It's a really interesting movie about perseverance and about faith and hope. And as it's a faith film, it talks specifically about the Christian narrative and that kind of stuff. It's pretty good!


Mercy: What do you hope viewers will take away from watching the movie?
Kristoffer: I hope they'll take away encouragement.  I hope they'll take away a real sense of inspiration from it.  It's a family film, so it's a movie that obviously if you're a high school or college kid you can go but if you're a parent, you can take your children, you can take your parents. The whole family can go to see it!  Basically, the story is about two young brothers growing up in Bessemer, AL and they're growing up in a community that is really, really poor.  And the only way out is through sports (which is an interesting theme in and of itself because we know so many communities in this country and so many groups of people who the only way out of the situation they're in is through athletics - whether it be football or track or tennis or basketball). And it focuses on these two boys; one is a football star, and the other one, he seems kind of injured, something's going on with him when we meet him.  The football star has big, big plans. A scout from the Gators is going to watch him play football and he's hoping to get a scholarship. And when he gets a scholarship, he's going to take his brother and they are going to get out of Bessemer, AL. And then, something happens and his plans change. And then his brother comes up with a plan, and something happens, and his plans change.  It's really a fascinating story about disappointment and picking up the pieces.

My character, I play a guy named Michael Truett who is the boys' daddy. He lost his wife two years before the movie begins, and he's dealing with his pain with alcohol.  He's not being a great dad, he's competitive with his sons.  He's just not doing good, he's broken.  And so there are also themes in this film about forgiveness and redemption in regard to that relationship.

Mercy: What was your favorite part or scene of filming Run The Race?
Kristoffer: My favorite part is a scene with Frances Fisher. (She played Kate Winslet's mom in Titanic, and then in this other amazing film directed by Clint Eastwood called Unforgiven she plays this Madame in this old West town. She's sort of the main lady of the night and she takes care of all these other ladies of the night. She's an incredible actress! She's been in some really remarkable movies). Anyway, she's got a scene in Run The Race that really is the whole message, it's the point of the film, and she just delivers it beautifully!  It's about, again, when our expectations aren't met, how do we still trust God? If we want something really, really bad in life, we pray about it every single day, and if it doesn't happen, the person gets sick or dies, or we lose the job, or don't get the thing that we want.  It's a question of, "I've been praying to you for years, God, and it didn't happen. I'm confused, I don't understand it." So it really deals with that question, which is a question a lot of young Christians face. I think it's a question that a lot of people who don't have faith, it's one of the big things that keeps people from trusting God because sometimes the questions are really confusing, you know? So that's my favorite scene to watch.
From his recent movie Mystery101.

My favorite scene making it is when the boys find me in the graveyard and I'm on the ground talking to my deceased wife. It's sad and sweet, and when I watched it I was pretty pleased about that. I remember filming it was a lot of fun because it was a pivotal scene for my character.

Mercy: What is one of your favorite roles that you've ever played?
Kristoffer: I think John F Kennedy, Jr was probably the purest experience I've ever had as an actor  because it went from 0 to 10. I experienced the entire industry in a matter of one job and I got to portray somebody that everybody knew and loved, so there was a ton of homework to do. I watched hours and hours and hours of video of John talking, I learned how he spoke, and was able to imitate him. I had books to read and I called people who knew him. I was able to investigate and dig into a real character, do a lot of homework. And then the filming of it, I had done a pilot before that but it was my first job that people were going to see. I remember Portia de Rossi and Jacqueline Bisset were just so amazing. And I just leapt, I took a giant leap and went into this role and went to all these places as an actor and had nothing to base it on. So when it came out, (it was a TV movie) I believe that at the time TBS was the broadcast network that aired it. Later on the president of that movie saw me and he said, "This is the highest rated movie we've ever had. 40 million people watched it!" Which is like a huge number. I remember when they advertised, my face was on a billboard in Times Square. All the while, I'm 23 years old thinking, "This is amazing!" And so the whole life of that, from beginning to end from how I was cast and the actual doing of it, what it was about... I remember my parents were really proud of me for that one. My dad was a big Kennedy fan, he used to talk about John F. Kennedy the president fondly, met Bobby Kennedy in an elevator once (he lived in Washington D.C. and studied law there). So when I got to play John F. Kennedy, Jr. I think it was extra sweet for him.  I think that role was good all around!

Mercy: What is the funniest thing that has ever happened while filming a movie?
Kristoffer: Off the top of my head? I like to call it church laughter, and it's the kind of laughter that bubbles out of you when it's not supposed to so you have to fight it, but the more you fight it the more you laugh. Have you ever had that kind of laughter?
Mercy: Yes!
Kristoffer and Jill Wagner
Kristoffer: Where you just, you know you're not supposed to be laughing but you can't help it. I have had a few great moments where I have just laughed and laughed and laughed because we're not supposed to be laughing.  It's usually during a take.  I remember Jill Wagner and I were in Fiji filming Pearl In Paradise and there were the two of us as well as a third actor (who was really amazing, really good!)-- *laughs* it actually happened on Mystery 101 too!  I can remember specifically where it happened twice with her.  We'll be in a scene and it's not out of rudeness or not being in the moment, but something will catch and you just start laughing and you know you're not supposed to.  Someone else is there and you've got to be on your best behavior, but you can't. And it's nothing specific that triggers it off, it's just like you have found something funny and you cannot stop laughing.  Those are two experiences.  But as far as like an event that's ever happened, I can't think of one specifically.  I do know Sarah Michelle Gellar was a great prankster though!  She was always doing crazy little things like putting farm animals in peoples' trailers. And we were working on Ringer and Ioan Gruffudd, there was a very funny picture of Ioan taking a shower from a movie that he'd done, and she had like a 15 ft poster billboard blown up from this moment in Ioan's life and this big giant poster would end up in places that he didn't want it to be throughout the course of the series, which was funny.

Mercy: What are 3 things you can't live without?
Kristoffer: One of them's name is Julianne, I'd have a hard time living without her. And I've got these other three things that kind of clump up as one. That would be Caleb, Micah, and Jude. I think that's it! I need food, water, and air, obviously. But those people; I'd have a hard time going on without them.

Mercy: What was it like working with Tim Tebow?
Kristoffer: It's awesome!  He's a unique person for our generation.  He is somebody who is so filled with the Holy Spirit. Just joy and light. You know it says in the Word that the Holy Spirit should be like a fragrance upon you, like people should just smell it; and that's very true with Tim Tebow.  I've met him on 7 different occasions.  The one I'm thinking of right now, he came to set (there's a small scene that you'll see Tim Tebow in the movie) and when he came to set, the first thing that he did was shake every single person's hand and introduce himself. He wanted to meet the crew. He treats everybody like an equal, and he's just really positive and encouraging! As a dad who has some young boys growing up, it's just really nice to see that there's somebody like that out there in the pop culture that can be a role model.
Kristoffer & his family with Tim Tebow and his fiancĂ© 


Mercy: And lastly, do you have any other upcoming projects you can share about?
Kristoffer: I don't, actually...You know about Wonder Woman, right? Coming out in June of 2020?
Mercy: Yes.
Kristoffer: Also, there was an artist who sketched me as Bruce Wayne/Batman.  They are casting that soon. So that wouldn't be a terrible job!  I'm going to put that into the universe. *laughs*

Kristoffer, thank you for taking the time to chat with me.  It was a pleasure to have you on my blog and I hope we can do it again sometime!
Friends, If I could encourage to follow only one actor in Hollywood, this would be the guy.  He is truly skilled at what he does, all while remaining humble.  Please plan on going to see Run The Race in theaters, and if you don't already please follow Kristoffer on social media through the links below.

Facebook
Twitter
Instagram

Thanks for reading!
~Mercy
https://twitter.com/MercyRLyman

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