(Photos courtesy of https://imnotashamedfilm.com/ and head shot of Masey McLain courtesy of http://www.imdb.com/)
By Sarah Komisky
Being cast as Rachel Joy Scott is no easy task: First off, because of her story, and second, because it’s Masey McLain’s first leading role. Seventeen years removed from the Columbine High School massacre in 1999, “I Am Not Ashamed,” takes an honest look at the life of a girl who simply loved God and gave her life for him. Taking on the challenge, McLain has followed in Scott’s brave footsteps and put her all into the role. Now, she shares her thoughts along the way. From beginning, middle, to end, here is the story of an actress on the brink of something big.
Getting started, can you share a little bit about yourself?
Masey: I started acting when I was fifteen. I did a play in high school and it was actually a play about the Holocaust and out of that I realized how much I loved it and so I decided to get an agent for TV and film. In high school I kind of did it as a hobby because at that same time I was running cross-country, playing basketball, and doing plays. I went to college and a couple years into it I felt like that was what I was supposed to do and what I wanted to do and loved to do and so, I started getting a little more serious about it and training a lot. And then about two years ago, I auditioned for “I’m Not Ashamed” and that process began. I auditioned for about a year so it was a long process and wasn’t anything overnight.
I know you read her journal and were able to talk to her mom and then delivered these monologues that were her words, so what was that like?
Masey: It was, especially when I knew I got the part, it was really intimidating because I knew she was a real girl and her story’s so powerful and I honestly didn’t want to be the one to mess it up. But it was interesting, even when I got the audition for it, I kind of knew in my gut that I was going to do the part. And then like I said, a year went by and everything kind of said “no,” but I felt like the Lord prepared me so much and when I did get the part, He just instilled in me that confidence from Him and nothing could’ve come from myself. So yeah, just being able to step in her shoes was really the most incredible experience I’ve ever had. And I’ve never had to have that much of a dependency on the Lord like that, like I had to have during filming, and it was incredible honestly to experience just the way God provided- giving me everything I needed to do what He called me to.
Many people know her story from Columbine but this movie really gives you the backstory and is really insightful just to see her life as a normal teenager. So what would you like audiences to glean from it?
Masey: I hope that they’re encouraged by the fact that she was so normal and she struggled and she was just trying to figure it all out. She loved Jesus and she wanted to follow him but it was a process of trying to figure out what that even looks like or even what it costs. But the reward of it satisfied her like nothing else of the world could. She tasted and tried everything that the world had to offer and it left her empty, every time. And really the only one who could satisfy the deepest parts of her soul was Jesus and so he was worth following no matter what. And with that I hope the people that see it take away that they have purpose. Rachel wasn’t special in the fact that she’s the only one who could make an impact. She was a normal girl just like us. She was really just faithful where God put her. She was faithful to love him and love everyone around her. She didn’t wait for a big audience or a platform or a huge influence to make a difference. She was just faithful where God had her.
Forgiveness is such a huge theme in the film. I know now, in our culture since Columbine, there have been many tragedies that have unfortunately happened and bullying is also a huge issue. Now in this generation, how can the film impact teens and how does it bring hope?
Masey: Especially in this generation, sadly, the shootings didn’t stop at Columbine. They’ve seen and heard about a lot of shootings since then. It’s not a normal thing but, it’s not anything that’s that shocking to them anymore; which is really sad. And I would just say too that bad things are going to happen no matter what. We’re all going to die one day and we live in a broken world and it’s just the way it is. But the hope that we do have is Jesus and that makes all the difference. And so, no matter what comes and no matter what you’re facing, you have Someone that will never leave you and Someone that won the battle for you and Someone that loves you more than anyone ever could and that’s the hope that we cling to no matter what happens.
Rachel was so bold in her faith and it’s getting harder for Christians to be able to standup and proclaim that. So how would you encourage our readers to do that?
Masey: I would say that I think the most important thing we can do to even get at that place is to know God and to really spend time with him; not just say you follow him but really figure out and look in his Word at what that looks like to follow him. There is a cost to it, and the reward is greater than anything, but it may cost us and Rachel’s life shows that. You know, when there are those decisions that come and when there is persecution and when you are the only one standing and when you know him that intimately and that deeply you know his love for you, that’s how you start walking and that’s how you start living your life and that’s how you start becoming bold. And that’s what Rachel experienced throughout her life and so she came to that point of true surrender too of just realizing that you can’t really have it both ways. You can’t have one foot in the world and then one foot trying to follow Jesus. It just doesn’t work that way. And so kind of deciding: is he going to be everything to you? And when he is, he will satisfy the deepest parts of your soul.
How did Rachel leave an impact on your life today?
Masey: I feel like a big way, and I always remember this since filming, was just her faithfulness. Like I was talking about earlier, it wasn’t any big moment that she waited to be used by God, just being faithful in the little things and not just passing through life and missing people. You know, she truly saw people and she took time to invest in people’s lives and that’s what made an impact and that’s what changed the world.
You got to meet her family. What was that experience like?
Masey: It was really special. The first time I met her mom, well even before filming, she called me and she just told me how proud she was of me and how much she believed that God had called me to the role and that meant a ton going into filming because you know, that’s Rachel’s mom and that’s kind of who you want to please the most. You know that’s what you want from people if you are playing her daughter. So then, when we actually got to meet, it was so special and I remember she even said that kind of felt like Rachel was back in a way. So that’s just crazy! And then meeting the rest of her family, it was amazing. I got to meet her sister at the premiere and her step dad and her mom was there on set and then I met Craig on set too. It was kind of surreal and I don’t know, it was so, so neat.
What’s on the horizon for you as far as what’s next with acting?
Masey: Well, I wish I could say fully but there are some things that are being talked about right now, different offers that are potentially being made right now. So, I would just say keep an eye out because when I am allowed to talk about it, it will be exciting and I can’t wait to talk about it. So definitely I can’t wait for the next one.
“I’m Not Ashamed” is out in theatres now. Check out the movie and discover more about Masey at: https://imnotashamedfilm.com/