A Great Conversation with Inspired Filmmaker Corbin Bernsen
Are you one that’s punched your television’s remote over the last thirty years or so? If so, it’s likely that you have captured the engaging character portrayals of Corbin Bernsen — a well tenured Tinsel Town “old-schooler” that took his first curious leap of acting faith in 1967. As the years spun by from those early beginnings as a young, intrepid prodigy, his most recognized role came later as attorney Arnold “Arnie” Becker on the popularly famous top-rated television show LA Law that aired on NBC from 1986 through 1994.
At the onset of USA Network’s 2006 television season, you may have seen Corbin in the first of his 95 episodic appearances on its hit show PSYCH. He plays Henry Spencer, the retired police officer TV dad to actor James Roday’s character, Shawn Spencer. Shawn is a novice private investigator that dupes — well he thinks he dupes — the Santa Barbara police department into buying into the ruse that he possesses psychic powers to aid in solving crimes.
It has been during this most recent point in Corbin’s thespian journey that he has become led by a newly committed faith. This renaissance — a reawakening of faith, as Corbin relates — is a deeply layered enclave where his sacred spiritual warrior’s strength of resolute courage resides and lives. A recess of serenity now discovered, from that far away distant place where the RUST had finally fallen away. This brighter Light with its enhanced spiritual vision has come to guide Corbin’s evolving life path in a gentler way. Just ask his dog!
SCH Contributor Kevin “James” Richardson joins Corbin as he shares some personal elements of his life — and its humor — as we step through this intriguing open door and peer a bit deeper inside his creative realm and take a personal glance into the turning world of one of Hollywood’s accomplished sons.
A spiritual switch flipped inside this childhood actor born of an actress and full-blooded Cherokee Indian for which his production company is named. His thespian footprints were equally cast from the famed sidewalks he strode atop while growing up within the alluring glitz and glam of Beverly Hills and Hollywood and son of a Hollywood producer.
You will discover how true “faith and courage” has spiritually etched its mark on Corbin’s heart and come to understand how this man with God’s beating heart pulsing inside of him has become driven and passionate in his filmmaker’s craft. You will also discover what the All-American Soap Box Derby has to do with it.
So slide comfortably into the seat of your derby racer for your run down 25 Hill. Let’s discover what arrives when you own the right “faith and courage” to cross its finish line . . .
SCH: Corbin, coming out of the gate, let’s discuss your newest theatrical release 25 Hill. What inspired and motivated you to tell this story surrounding the All-American Soap Box Derby?
Corbin: Honestly, it started as a seed to draw greater attention to family and community. The All-American Soap Box Derby seemed to be falling away and slipping through the cracks. I just couldn’t let that happen. It seemed like something was coming in and taking over this great tradition and making it fall by the wayside. I felt compelled to come in and tell the story of this great American tradition so it didn’t become lost. It wasn’t just a great tradition, but is everything that is family and community. The value of family of all sizes, shapes, and colors is the keystone of our society. We’ve lost that somehow and this is why I was drawn to this because it’s about family and community. It’s a story that needed to be told. I’m very passionate about the importance of family and community in this country.
SCH: What will the viewer take away and feel after seeing 25 Hill?
Corbin: Well, I think we got a couple of more things into the film other than things just about family and community. Patriotism becomes a focal point in the film along with serving our country. This is another aspect of the film’s message. We are as one big family. The single biggest take away from the film that I want people to feel is that we have to find a way to work together at every level. We just have to find a way to work together. We really do. If we work together we can achieve — even if individually our belief structure says something else. We still need to buy into the greater good and give it a chance by coming together and working toward that common goal. We all have to be in it for the common cause. Sometimes I think those at the highest level that are running things just don’t get it. You have to play with everyone and you have to support what the majority decides, to give things that chance to succeed.
SCH: When you were crafting 25 Hill, how did it impact you spiritually?
Corbin: Well, always above all of it, I have a great sense that I am being guided and driven toward projects on what their importance will be. There’s this largeness of God in me that impacts and directs my pursuits. As I said, in 25 Hill you’ll see that if we work together we can do great things together. But in this, it takes a faith. It’s a combined aspect of faith at different levels. This faith says that I can work with you even if we don’t share an opinion. It also deals with putting yourself out there in areas you’re not familiar with. You have to take that leap into the unknown. When you put yourself out there it definitely takes a greater faith. The thing that fuels this movie is faith. To have faith often takes great courage. The two things you can’t live without is faith and courage. That was the basis in making this film and in the way it speaks spiritually.
SCH: In writing 25 Hill, how deep did you have to go to bring this across the finish line to the viewer in the way that you hoped it would be received?
Corbin: Very deep . . . I had to go very deep. You make these films and you have massive inspiration and a very big producer you’re trying to please – in God – and not much money to do it with. In the process, you just push yourself and persevere to make it to the end. I guess in a sense, that soap box derby cart becomes the metaphorical vehicle to bring this across the line. For me, I have to forget the good or the bad and focus on moving forward. To me, this is also part of my journey of going deep in my relationship with God. Ya gotta go deep! The rest is doing the work. Did you get enough film and did you get the story right? If you’re pure, it happens. If you have a deep sense of faith, you have the courage then to step into that great unknown. But with faith you come to know it has purpose. I leave my films at faith. Just have some faith. Once you step in the door, something tells you to go and you go. That’s when things open up and you begin to understand the purpose and the plan.
Click here to watch the trailer for Corbin’s new film 25 HILL
Watch for Part II of “Rolling on Faith and Courage.”
To learn more about author Kevin “James” Richardson visit Commit To Believe