News & Events

Theatre Professor Previews Upcoming Movie

By Rachel Judy

February 16, 2011

Regent Adjunct Professor L. Derek Leonidoff

Regent Adjunct Professor L. Derek Leonidoff, who plays the role of Pastor Andy Dugger in Letters to God.


Adding to a growing list of successful theatre and film productions, Regent University School of Communication & the Arts adjunct theatre professor L. Derek Leonidoff earned a role in the upcoming motion picture Letters to God. In anticipation of the film, which is scheduled for nationwide release on April 9, the school hosted a pre-screening on March 19.

Produced by Possibility Pictures and following on the heels of faith-based movies such as Facing the Giants and Fireproof, Letters to God tells the story of Tyler Doherty, an 8-year-old boy with terminal cancer. While his family struggles to come to terms with his illness, Tyler chronicles his life by writing letters to God and then mailing them with the help of his postman, Brady McDaniels. Rather than throw Tyler's words into a dead-letter pile at the post office, Brady begins reading them and finds hope and healing in Tyler's young faith.

After the screening, the audience participated in a question-and-answer session with Leonidoff who plays the role of Pastor Andy Dugger in the film. Leonidoff emphasized the need for supporting individuals and families struggling with cancer and challenged the audience to look for ways to do so. "There's more we can do to support people who are going through [cancer]," he said.

Several film scenes were shot at the Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children, as well as Give Kids the World, a 70-acre resort for children with special needs and their families. For Leonidoff, spending time with the children in these places was an especially profound part of being on set. "It was an incredible experience to be on this project," he said, "unlike any I'd ever been on."

The film stars Jeffrey S. Johnson, Robyn Lively, Tanner Maguire, Maree Cheatham, Michael Christopher Bolten, Bailee Madison and Ralph Waite.

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