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Unsung Hero Stars Daisy Betts & Kirrilee Berger Discuss Inspiring Families


Unsung Hero Stars Daisy Betts & Kirrilee Berger Discuss Inspiring Families


Follow your dreams, they say. But what if you have two dreams? Acting and singing, perhaps? Unsung Hero stars Joel Smallbone — aka one-half of Christian pop duo for KING & COUNTRY — as his real-life dad David Smallbone. Joel proves here he can both lead a musical group and a feature film, as does another young performer in Unsung Hero. Australian-American Kirrilee Berger plays young Rebecca Smallbone, who would go on to become Grammy-winning artist Rebecca St. James, and Berger’s performance here proves she is effectively following both her passions of acting and singing indeed.



Also along for the ride is Chicago Fire star Daisy Betts, playing the Smallbone family matriarch Helen. We recently caught up with Betts and Berger in a paired interview to learn more about their unique experience shooting Lionsgate’s impactful new feature about the power of faith, family, and love.



Unsung Hero ‘Is the Project That Made a Million Dreams Come True’ for Kirrilee Berger

Unsung Hero poster

Unsung Hero

3.5/5

Release Date
April 26, 2024

Director
Richard L. Ramsey , Joel Smallbone

Writers
Joel Smallbone , Richard L. Ramsey

Studio
Candy Rock Entertainment, Kingdom Story Company, Monarch Media

Sure, folks may have heard of the Grammy-winning musicians that came from the Smallbone family, but what about the clan’s origin story from Australia? “I knew their music, but I had no idea what they had gone through,” Kirrilee Berger told MovieWeb. “What’s remarkable as well is that through the release of this film, there are tens of thousands of people that had no idea that [musicians] for KING & COUNTRY and Rebecca St. James are siblings.”

Berger also delved into the very special way in which Unsung Hero has impacted her life on multiple levels. “This is the project that made a million dreams come true. And that is absolutely the truth. I mean, I wrote my first song at five years old, sitting in the bathtub of my family’s home in Melbourne, Australia. That had always been my dream,” explained Berger. “And I feel that I was put on this earth to do two things, and that’s be a performer and be a mom, and I’m not yet a mom. But Rebecca


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Unsung Hero Review: Uplifting True-Story Drama About a Budding Singer Will Inspire Families Everywhere

The real-life Smallbone family moved from Australia to the U.S. in search of the American dream. Bring tissues, even if it all gets a tad cheesy.

, in many ways, was a second mom to all of these children.” She continued:

“And as an Australian-American, getting to play in Australia and as a singer-songwriter, my debut single is out now… through the making of this film, I met my writing partner.
And now, my brother Paul Luke Bonenfant, who plays Daniel Smallbone in the film, we started making our album while we were filming Unsung Hero
. In any moment we weren’t filming, we were writing, we were tracking, we were demoing.”

Unsung Hero Inspires Us to Hold on to Hope


Betts said that life imitated art with the experience of shooting a movie about a family of nine who had immigrated to the U.S. in search of a better life. “We were like a family. Once we were put together on set, I was acting like a mom, which is what I do, along with my four kids, keeping them in line. I stepped into mama, using my eldest daughter to wrangle the kids,” Betts told us, adding:

“And I always say that with Kirrilee’s story, you can see that the movie has already inspired one person, and
we hope it inspires many
. Anyone who’s got that dream of becoming an artist, or whatever their dream might be.
Even despite challenges, setbacks, pick yourself up, surround yourself with love and family and hold on to the hope
, and you can achieve amazing things. It’s got a great message, this film. I hope that a lot of people can go and see it and just leave the cinema happy.”


Related

Joel Smallbone on Playing His Real-Life Dad in Unsung Hero

The Australian actor and for KING & COUNTRY singer spoke to MovieWeb about co-directing his family’s true story and starring alongside Terry O’Quinn.

Daisy Betts on Playing Helen Smallbone and Representing Mothers

Betts also had an added perk when it comes to playing a real-life mom for an inspiring film like Unsung Hero. “I met Helen [Smallbone] on set. She’s very humble, and she’s kind of almost, ‘I can’t believe this movie’s been made about us!'” Betts told us. “But the kids adore her. And that’s a real testament to the type of mom she was, although she’s very firm and she’s confident, and she holds strong in what she believes in. But she’s also obviously raised these amazing children, and they’re all the kindest people, so they’re doing something right, that’s for sure. And not to mention Grammy Award-winning!”


“I wanted to find out a little bit more about the dramatic kind of scenes in the family, the less-than-perfect moments of families’ disagreements. It explores marriage,” continued Betts about the film and Helen the super-mom. “There is a childbirth moment in the film, and I just wanted to find out about her experience with those subjects, so that I could be be truthful in the portrayal.” She elaborated:

“But I
think there are some universal messages there for moms
, and definitely when I read the script, I cried a lot of times because it was just cutting through these experiences, and the way that
you just have to hold yourself together and be the glue for a family when you’re the mom
. It really made me feel seen, and I hope it makes other moms feel seen and appreciated.”

Related: Roma Downey Says New Faith-Based Series The Baxters Is a ‘Hope Opera’


‘Human-to-Human’ With Lady A

Unsung Hero features familiar American faces as well, such as a local power couple who helps the Smallbones, played by Lucas Black (Friday Night Lights) and Candace Cameron Bure (Full House). “Candace, I watched her as a kid, and to meet her in real life, it was like a bit of a moment,” said Betts. “But of course, I played it cool.”

Working with Candace Cameron and Lucas Black was amazing,” Berger continued. “Funnily enough, I was asking Lucas Black for his advice on marriage and finding the one, and he gave me some beautiful advice. But for me, it was also meeting Hillary Scott, Lady A as a singer-songwriter. At one point, I was sitting in the hair & makeup trailer. I could barely speak, and the only conversation that I had with her on-set was asking her about her experience through her pregnancy.” Berger added:


But it was so beautiful to just have that human-to-human experience because we get so starstruck… I mean, it’s Lady A! But getting to have that human-to-human experience about such a beautiful, human thing was just so grounding, and it’s amazing.

“Grounding” is certainly a word that comes to mind for an impactful feature like Unsung Hero, in more ways than one. “It’s very grounded, and very grounded was the set as well,” said Betts. “There were no big egos, and everybody was pitching in. It was all hands on deck. It was so collaborative, just so fulfilling, personally, creatively, spiritually, for everybody who was involved. So quite unique, in that it really was a really special experience.”

From Lionsgate, Unsung Hero was released in theaters April 26.

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