“The Undershepherd director and writer Russ Parr appeared on “The Tom Joyner Morning Show” to talk about the world television premiere of his controversial film. Take a listen to this fun and compelling interview right here or check out the transcript below, and tune in to TV One on Saturday, March 30th at 8 pm EST to see Russ Parr’s “The Undershepherd.”
In “The Undershepherd,” radio personality/filmmaker Russ Parr takes on the black church and pastors who use their power for personal gain rather than helping their congregations. Parr told an audience at the American Black Film Festival last year, where the film premiered, that he met with some resistance in the black church but forged ahead anyway as the story needed to be told. The film won Best Narrative Feature, Best Actress and Best Director at the festival.
In “The Undershepherd,” Isaiah Washington of “Grey’s Anatomy” fame plays a Lawrence “LC” Case, a pastor looking to advance in the church who comes into conflict with his best friend, his lead pastor and ultimately, himself. Lanman Rucker plays Roland, a young pastor who realizes his friend has gone too far astray to help, and Malinda Williams is LC’s long-suffering wife who has problems of her own. While the film is weakened by too many implausible dramatic scenarios near the end, Washington is scarily charismatic as LC, who fails to see how leading a church has led to his ultimate spiritual destruction. Many church goers may find parallels in their own church experience and this movie and that’s precisely why Parr was moved to write, direct and produce the film via his Uptoparr Productions.
TV One is premiering “The Undershepherd” for network television and it will air on Saturday, March 30 and Sunday, March 31, at 8 p.m. on Saturday and 5:30 p.m. on Sunday. Parr joined Tom, Sybil and J. Anthony Brown to discuss “The Undershepherd” and why he fought to tell this story.
TOM JOYNER: Russ Parr took time out of his own show to be on our show. Russ Parr, Good morning!
RUSS PARR: I was telling some people Tom is the reason why I make a little bit of money. Man, I know you’re really modest and everything, but I will cancel my show to be on your show. I don’t give a damn. (laughter). With J .Anthony Brown, are you kidding?
J. ANTHONY BROWN: What up, Russ?
Russ Parr: J. Anthony Brown always complaining “Man, when are you going to put me in the movies?”
J. Anthony Brown: Yeah, when are you?
Russ: I got this new movie called “The Pillow Biter.” (Laughter). You can do your own stunts. It’s a prison love story.
Tom Joyner: Aww man.
Russ: You’ll come in like ‘You didn’t braid my hair so good. On the pillow.’ Oh, man.
J. Anthony Brown: You a funny guy sometime, Russ.
Russ: I’m going to write that one down because that just came off the top.
SYBIL WILKES: Russ, what is “The Undershepherd?”
Russ: “The Undershepherd” is a movie about the church. It’s not your typical ‘OK, we’re going to love each other, we’re going to go off and build a church.’ This is a pretty powerful movie and we pretty much every festival that we’ve been in swept all the awards. It stars Isaiah Washington, Lanman Rucker and Lou Gossett, Jr. What we’re doing here is – a lot of people expect me to write comedies and you’ve seen some of my worst comedies and J. Anthony Brown starred in those –
Sybil: Bought you down every time.
Russ Parr: But what I tried to do, my journey in the church the whole nine has been a problem for me. I don’t want to indict all churches and that’s what I want to put across here. My point that I’m trying to make is that you need to worship God, not man. Isaiah Washington’s portrayal of the lead pastor is chilling. I remember the first day of shooting I was so caught up in his performance I forgot to direct everybody else. He really took my words to another level. I’ve been getting some pushback, Tom, I’ve been getting some pushback.
Tom Joyner: From the church?
Russ Parr: Man, I had a group of pastors come to my house and watch it in my basement. Man, they cussed me out.
Tom Joyner: Pastors cussed you out?
Russ Parr: Man, they cussed me out bad.
Tom Joyner: Pastors cussed you out?
Russ Parr: It was mother—that and no, they were saying this is a bad time for this with all the negative images out there and blah blah blah. But what I didn’t do, I didn’t do the Bishop Eddie Long stuff. That’s just so easy. I wanted to take a simple story and talk about how people get drunk with power and idolize people and put them up on a pedestal. They shouldn’t be idolizing these people because these people have their own sets of issues. Making life decisions based on what this man says? That is just a man who’s fallible.
Sybil: Did you have one of our bishops in this movie?
1. Rickey Smiley & Listeners On The Beach In Punta Cana
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2. Juicy was that the uncle luke show
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3. At my show at Coco Bongo in the Dominican Republic Punta Cana with Ricky
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4. Everyone was at the @realrickeysmiley Uncle Luke Sold out Party in the DR
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5. Everyone was at the Uncle Luke Party in the DR with the @realrickeysmiley weekend
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6. Got some Viking coaches over here in Punta Cana
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7. This just in the theme to my party tonight at the @realrickeysmiley weekend is were what you dare. This is going to be interesting
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8. I have been all over Dominican Republic this is the best hotel in the country five star service
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9. Chicago in the house in the DR
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11. At Club juice in the Dominican Republic for the Rickey smiley weekend.
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12. Reading the final proof of my memoirs here in Punta Cana to be release August 4 in a bookstore near you. Make sure you pre-order now we need to make this book one of the first Southern hip hop books to be on the best seller.
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13. Tonight I had a blast at the Rickey Smiley weekend 90's party here in Dominican Republic
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14. I made it baby I'm here Punta Cana with my man @Rickeysmiley all the chemicals are ready
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15. We made it to the DR
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16. Last night here...
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17. @realrickeysmiley great event!!! #PuntaCana
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18. Last night in #PuntaCana and I must say I had a really good time and met lots of awesome people from all across America. Tag me if we took a picture! Thanks! 💋💋💋
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19. Last evening in #PuntaCana body suit by someone-shoes by Vince Camuto < so comfortable 😎👍🏾
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20. I'm always happy in the tropics! This was a great trip 😉😉 #PuntaCana
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21. My immediate future..... #Happy #blessed #LuckiestGirl #GratefulForEverything
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22. @garywdtea and CJ
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23. Bout to check out this comedy show @realrickeysmiley and @specialk913 performing! Can't wait to see my boys rip it! PuntaCana
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24. I'll be here all day....#PuntaCana
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25. Yesterday with my girl @msjuicyrsms
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26. Current situation.... I'm kinda happy right About now! 😎😎😎😎😎
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27. #repost from @rozay_janae #PuntaCana
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28. After hours spot for some late night food. I swear I'm not this skinny but this angle tho. The beef empanadas were everything! #connection
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29. @sosobrat and me this morning. Love her personality! She rocked it!
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30. Last night was all that! #CongoBongo #PuntaCana
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31. Me and DA Bruhs#punta canta
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32. Rickey Smiley
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33. Rickey Smiley
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34. EVIDENCE! Gary's @garywdtea epic Stick legs right before he FELL and busted his BUTT... His scraped up heel is the evidence. Lol.
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35. In #PuntaCana with the family @headkrack @garywdtea @specialk913 @sosobrat @porsha4real #RSMS #DishNation
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36. Live from #PuntaCana with @sosobrat We all the way TURNT UP
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37. ROCK-T & DJ DRAMA rockin the Dominican Republic. LOOK OUT! Light Skinned homies coming back in style. Lol. @DjDrama
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39. Memo to white dudes. It's NEVER cool or acceptable. Why do y'all keep doing this to my eyes
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40. The face you make when they have wings in the club but you just don't know if that's the move.
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41. Roof party Punta Canta
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42. Early morning broadcast. Peoples been here since 5am #StraightFromTheClub #PuntaCana
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43. Not many cooler than my sis @sosoBrat #PuntaCana (Humidity about to kick in)
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44. The airport
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45. You can spot the ninjas who are experiencing first class for the very first time in their life. Everyone congratulate @specialk913 he finally "made" it!!! 😂😂😂😂😂
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46. With my partner in crime in Punta Cana @garywdtea at the rooftop day party
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47. With my boys/co-hosts @rocktholla and @headkrack #RoofTopDayParty #PuntaCana
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48. Last night was all that! #CongoBongo #PuntaCana
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49. Breaking news! @garywdtea has been kicked out the sorority!
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50. @sosobrat and me this morning. Love her personality! She rocked it!
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51. Rickey Smiley
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52. That's right we in da house strong #Repost @beyonceatl・・・The crew is here #rickeysmiley #puntacana @headkrack @jahlionsound @msjuicyrsms @prettygeekz @rocktholla
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53. Hotel lobby in Punta Canta
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54. Aint nothing like ALLLLLLLLLL INCLUSIVE!!!! at the bar........ #rickeysmileycaribbeangetaway2015 #rickeysmiley #puntacana
56. Gary with the tea said this was the best picture in the house 😁 I think so too 😎#ipleadthe5th #rickeysmiley #teamnokids #puntacana2015 #puntacana
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57. It's so Beautiful here... #Bacherlorette get away... #ipleadthe5th... #rickeysmiley... #Vacation... #PuntaCana 💃💃💃
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58. Breakfast at Caribe wit @msjuicyrsms!!!!! #rickeysmileycaribbeangetaway2015
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59. I'm here yall Punta Cana #SquareInstaPic
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60. Wake Uuuuuuuuuuuppppppppp Looking out my window this is what I see PUNTA CANA BABY! !!! #SquareInstaPic @studio8apps
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61. Headed down now to get my workout on
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62. The Guru of Abs I'm tired ass hell #SquareInstaPic
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63. We worked out on the beach with The Guru of Abs JUST BEAUTIFUL #SquareInstaPic
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64. Day z party on The Roof Top. #SquareInstaPic
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65. #SquareInstaPic punta Cana
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66. #SquareInstaPic Special K and I clowning at the Day Party
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67. #Repost @jahlionsound・・・Me & @DjDrama last night before destroying club #Arijetos #PuntaCana #DominicanRepublic w/ @Krunkmaster & the entire @RickeySmileyMorningShowTonight I'm live at club Jewel5/22 - Barcelo Convention Center (Dominican Republic)5/22 - Arijetos Night Club (Dominican Republic)5/24 - Sunset Cruise (Dominican Republic)5/24 - Club CocoBongo (Dominican Republic)#WeFloodTheStreets#HardestWorkingDjYouKnow
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68. #SquareInstaPic Day Party Pics.
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70. Rickey Smiley
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71. Rickey Smiley
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74. Rock-T, Special K, Juicy and Headkrack
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81. Rickey Smiley
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Continue reading “The Undershepherd” Director On Why You Need To Worship God, Not Man