Christian actor TC Stallings reveals his portrayal of PTSD was ‘most challenging’ of his careerBlog
“My Brother’s Keeper” hit theaters this month on over 200 screens nationwide, bringing to the silver screen a role that Christian actor T.C. Stallings described as one of the “most challenging” of “his career so far.”
"I've been blessed to do over 20 films and a lot of times, the roles are kind of one dimensional, meaning you either got to be really mean, or you got to be this or that,” the “War Room” actor said in an interview with The Christian Post.
“When I played Tony Jordan in 'War Room' that was really the first character that had a crazy emotional arc, where it was really challenging to play Tony Jordan. People got to hate you, then like you a little bit and want to be mad at you again. It's just taking you on this ride.”
In “My Brother’s Keeper,” Stallings plays war veteran SFC Travis Fox who suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) after returning home from battle.
"I've never been in the military. I had to knock down that persona, that attitude, their standards, the way they think, and all of that,” he explained. “Then his arc and the way he is, he's a very untrusting person. He's been through a lot, [has] a lot of scars. But then you have the PTSD aspect of it; I've never had it, I had to study PTSD. And studying that and hearing people tell their stories ... and watching ... PTSD YouTube videos and talking to soldiers in person.”
"You want to be authentic to the role when you do it. So when all these soldiers watch, I don't want them to be like, 'Man, we don't act like that; this dude is exaggerating.' And I also don't want them to say, 'Dude, you have no idea that PTSD is so much harder than that, you're making light of it,” he continued. “You want to do it justice. So that's why it was really, really challenging.”
"This is the thing that gets me in all areas of Christianity. I think the simplicity of Scripture is just too simple for people. Meaning literally, when I go through stuff like that, the pain the scars, I'm like, 'Lord, you said in Scripture that where I'm weak, you're strong. So I'm weak in this area,'” he confessed.
Stallings noted that PTSD does not only affect soldiers who come home from war. It can occur after experiencing any kind of trauma.
According to Ptsd.va.gov, about “7 or 8 out of every 100 people (or 7-8% of the population) will have PTSD at some point in their lives." During any given year, some "8 million adults have PTSD.”
"I lost my mom, and I can see another person's mom and I could have remembrance of when I got the phone call and someone literally said to me, 'Your mother has COVID-19, she's four days in and she's going to die.' To hear that — not wanting to see pictures of caskets. It's all kinds of things people go through,” he said of his own experience going through a traumatic event.
“So I'm like, ‘Alright Lord, I'm weak here, I need you to give me the ability to press into this and have the right kind of mindset when I have this stuff happen. I don't know how you will do it. But I just know you can. Please help me; I don't want this to run my life. I don't want this to own me. I don't want this to freeze me up in life. I don't want to be a prisoner to this; please deliver me.'” he added.
The actor, who's also an author, said he doesn't understand why some feel that God’s comfort is not enough.
“He does it. I can tell you in Scripture, I can guarantee you He can if He wants to. So now, I look at it as ‘OK, let me rest in that.’ Then if He doesn't, I go back to Scripture again and see when Paul wanted a thorn removed from him and Jesus said, 'My grace is sufficient.' So you got to have that,” Stallings insisted.
“I stay in prayer. This PTSD thing keeps me on my knees with the Lord. And you know what? I'm comfortable with being in that spot,” he added. “And if you don't understand that, man, I'm like, ‘You got to try for yourself. Ask the Lord to help you navigate through your pain. And he will do it because He loves you.’ It's that simple. Easy? No. Simple? Yes.
Stallings said that “My Brother’s Keeper” grapples with “trusting God and it not being easy” to continue trusting God in the “midst of all the chaos.”
"People think it's trusting God, and then, now they're looking for that tangible thing so they can maybe go to their corner store and grab it. Well, it's trusting God and wait,” he advised.
"I wake up every single day and do the same thing every day. Which is start off with prayer and Bible study. I believe Psalms 139:16 – God has a plan for my life. He wrote it out, mapped it out before I was born. That means every day has a purpose. So my thing is leaning into my purpose, constantly asking the Lord, 'What exactly have you made me to do? Why am I still breathing? Why am I still here? This day has a purpose. What do you want me to do?'” he explained.
Stallings emphasized that holding on to Scripture and childlike faith has helped position him to win in the midst of tragedy in his life.
"True faith puts you in the ... position of, 'I don't know where I'm going. But as long as you're leading, I'm good. I don't know how you're going to do it, but as long as you're the one that's orchestrating it, I trust it.' That's it,” he maintained.
“So for me, it's like, OK, we're in a pandemic, we're in all these different things that happened this year, 'Lord, how am I supposed to operate in it? What am I supposed to do? 'And then 'I trust you to show me.' Meanwhile, let me do what I know to do, which is read Scripture, pray, tell people about Jesus, and live out my God-given purpose. That doesn't change regardless of what changes around me.”
"Satan is the one that makes it way difficult. If sin didn’t exist, if evil didn't exist, if bad didn't exist, then good would be easy,” he declared.
Filled with a star-studded cast of mainstream actors, the former football player turned Christian actor said that “My Brother’s Keeper” brought together a really “cool” set of actors to tell this story. And he enjoyed being able to share his faith with his castmates.