The name may not be immediately recognizable, but Joel Smallbone is a writer, producer, and singer for the Grammy Award-winning band For King and Country. He’s working on a new role these days – actor – in an upcoming film called Priceless (release date: October 14). The subject matter is one that promises to cause a reaction in viewers- human trafficking. I had an opportunity to talk to him recently about the film and learned quite a bit in the process.
The film revolves around a person by the name of James Stevens who became a “vigilante against the [trafficking] system” and started a safe house for those individuals caught in the middle. Since Smallbone has been an avid advocate for the cause (see pricelessmovement.com), he married James’ story to the moment—an ordinary person in extraordinary circumstances that is chivalrous and honors the worth of a woman. He plays the role of James and discovered that getting into a specific mindset was key in addition to understanding film is about the nuances, not always the major movements of the character. But it was a great experience for him.
As for the movie’s main subject of trafficking, Smallbone says both sexes have a stake in the issue: “We’re in an age where men are being sent signals as to their worth—is it success? Alluring women?” Smallbone said. At the same time, women are trying to figure out who they are, but are getting it from numerous conflicting sources—music, culture, film, God—but which one of those is correct? He adds, “The film is a call to action to step out, stand out, and love well.”
Of course, trafficking is effective due to the secrecy that cloaks the practice. It’s difficult to get one’s hands around it, so it’s like chasing a shadow as to how to attack it, according to Smallbone. So the important thing to do is start a conversation with kids and teenagers. The age of sheltering kids from the world is no more—they’re going to contact aspects of human trafficking in some way. It’s simply reality. In the end, Smallbone hopes Priceless will cause viewers to say, “It’s a good film, but I didn’t know this. Let’s talk.”