Actress Patricia Heaton is known for her iconic roles in “Everybody Loves Raymond” and “The Middle,” but this fall she’ll also star in a new, animated movie about the Christmas story — and she’s hoping it makes a big impact on the culture.
Heaton, who plays Edith the cow in “The Star” — a movie set to releases on Nov. 17 — told Faithwire on Friday that Americans are “in difficult political times” and that she believes Christmas is a great opportunity to more deeply explore the meaning of life.
“Not to get depressing [but] life is short and I think it’s important to realize that you have to think beyond just today, just this minute, a vision about the world and your future and what you’re contributing to the world,” Heaton said. “Our lives here are really brief and the story of the nativity is about all of that and this gift we were given through the birth of Christ and his work on the cross that embues every aspect of our life with meaning.”
The actress went on to say that “every life has meaning” and that “every person was created with specific gifts, big and small.” Heaton, who has been know to speak out in defense of life, said that everyone can make an impact on society.
“We can all affect the course of history through our actions and wherever God has put us,” she said. “And that’s very clear in the nativity story — the creator of the universe entered the world through a poor family, in the poorest of circumstances and he changed the world and saved the world.”
Heaton also shed some additional light on her character, Edith, whom she said is “slightly cynical” and “world weary” when compared to some of the other animals who surround the nativity story in the film.
She said that viewers of “The Star” will encounter a film that brings humor and warmth, while telling the story of Jesus’ birth from the animals’ perspective.
Unlike so many classic Christmas movies, Heaton said “The Star” will actually focus on the real meaning of Christmas.
As Faithwire previously reported, “The Star” will offer a cinematic journey that covers Jesus’ birth through the eyes of a donkey named Bo who audiences will watch discover his own destiny and purpose, as the nativity story unfolds.
“A small but brave donkey named Bo yearns for a life beyond his daily grind at the village mill. One day he finds the courage to break free, and finally goes on the adventure of his dreams,” a synopsis reads. “On his journey, he teams up with Ruth, a loveable sheep who has lost her flock, and Dave, a dove with lofty aspirations. Along with three wisecracking camels and some eccentric stable animals, Bo and his new friends follow the Star and become unlikely heroes in the greatest story ever told – the first Christmas.”
The film stars some other big names as well, including: Oprah Winfrey (Deborah), Gina Rodriguez (Mary), Zachary Levi (Joseph), Kelly Clarkson (Leah the horse), among many others.
Executive producer DeVon Franklin said in a recent statement that families “will laugh and be inspired as they experience the power of faith, friends and courage.”
“The Star” is an interesting new turn in faith-themed films, considering that animation hasn’t widely or consistently been used as a tool in Christian storytelling, specifically on the big screen.