Two-time Golden Globe and Emmy award nominated actress Chrissy Metz will be starring in her big screen debut on April 17th with BREAKTHROUGH, an inspiring true story. The film is based on Joyce Smith’s book, BREAKTHROUGH and is directed by Roxann Dawson, who is also making her feature film premiere. BREAKTHROUGH is plotted in St. Louis, Missouri and is centered around the unshakable faith of a mother, Joyce Smith (Metz), whose adopted son John faces death upon submerging through an icy lake.

With the assistance of her pastor, church family, and prayer, Joyce’s community witnesses inexplicable favor where hope seemed lost. The documentation of the scientific miracle champions for love that endures against all the odds. connected with Chrissy Metz at the Dallas-based roundtable discussion for BREAKTHROUGH. The This Is Us luminary welcomed us behind the scenes to discuss the gratitude BREAKTHROUGH provided, how the feature film correlated with a traumatic experience of her own and beyond.

How did this script come to you, and what drew you into the project?

Chrissy Metz: What is interesting is, I was having a meeting. It was a general meeting with DeVon Franklin and executives. I had no idea it was for this particular script. I thought we were just chit-chatting. So, of course, as I tend to do, I get to talking. I began sharing about my mother who went through a stroke. We came to find out, that I essentially said the same thing to my mother’s doctors, that Joyce Smith said to John Smith’s doctors.

All of us were in the room were [stunned] like, “Okay!” [Laughs] It was sort of this connective tissue. You know everything happens for a reason. It happens at the right time or moment. I then got the opportunity to read the script. Then I thought, “Oh, no, I do not know if I can do this or if I am capable.” Still, I think if anything scares us it is important to do.

What practices did you include for your self-care as you convey these impossible circumstances on-screen?

CM: Oh, that is a really good question! Well, we worked for roughly eighteen hour days. Which was sort of taxing, considering we had to do this over, and over, and over again. For me, I would wake up in the morning, and start with a prayer, plus gratitude. So, meditation, music, and baths were how I got through it. [Laughs] This was my method of decompressing each day to start the next day anew.

What did you admire most about your character Joyce?

CM: There is so much to admire. Still, I think it is about her ability to stay so unwavering when literally every single person, doctors included said, “You are going to say goodbye.” [They were not telling John’s mother], “Oh, we are going to pray for you because you are going through a particular surgery.”

Joyce didn’t want to believe that [her son would not be healed.] DeVon Franklin always says, “There are so many things that we cannot see, but we know. That is really what faith is.” So, for me, that is what always continues. It’s like, “Okay, God. You know the bigger picture. God, you know better than I do.” I definitely take that [approach] with me, everywhere I go. Woo! This life thing can be so daunting sometimes. [Laughs]

Was there anything that scared you about the role?

CM: Initially it was like, “Now if I don’t do this right, what is that going to mean for my career? [This was the mindset,] especially because This Is Us was so successful.” There is always like this, “You are only as good as your last job,” [theory]. I thought, “You know what, Chrissy? Let’s not worry about the future. We can turn off the past. Does the movie speak to you? Do you have time to do this?”

Everything from that point fell into place. I thought this is okay. This was meant to be — whatever the outcome is going to be. It is scary because you are super vulnerable. I believe that is when we have the most connection. When we are so honest, people relate, too. Yeah, I am scared.

So, what did you draw onto for inspiration?

CM: Going through my mother’s medical emergency, then sitting in ICU (intensive care unit) with my stepfather [became a transferable experience]. Ironically, I ended up telling him, like my character Joyce told her husband Brian [in the film], “If you do not have anything kind or positive to say [stay silent].” Poor, Jason! He is the pastor, so he can’t help himself in the film. [Laughs]

Again, “If you do not have anything kind or powerful to say, you can’t be here. We don’t have any luxury for negative thoughts,” was the mindset. So, when thinking about my mom, and then thinking about what Joyce went through. I cannot image [overcoming this with] your own son. I know how important it was to be present and to be authentic at that moment. BREAKTHROUGH is a story people need to see in order to reaffirm their faith. Things are not impossible. There is nothing impossible. It is a matter of the quality of our thoughts or our limited thinking, rather.

In the film, your character gets harsh at times with others. Was there a time where you were sharp with others and regretted it?

CM: Oh, sure! [Laughs] When that ego gets involved, wow, it is really hard to quite that. Yeah, I’ve said things that I never meant, and I regret it. To include, my best friend, my family, in any real capacity because I couldn’t see the forest for the trees. I thought my way was the right way.

It is not always true. That was the great thing about portraying Joyce Smith. There is a character arc that was true-to-life in the film. She says, “I am a prideful woman, and I am sorry. I have to fix this.” The fact that she was able to be introspective and say, “Alright, this is not working,” that is where the growth is. Anyone can say, “Oh, I am sorry.” But, have you changed your behavior? So, yes, I try to change my behavior. I really, really do! [Laughs]

What advice can you offer to someone who is losing their faith?

CM: I think the question is why are you losing your faith? What is it — are not getting what you want? Are you afraid of what you want? I remember for so long I said, “I am not going to completely put my whole heart and life into acting, because what if it doesn’t happen.

Well, If I don’t step out on faith, I cannot even see the big picture. I [used to be] so afraid. So, are you living in fear? I think those questions need to be asked first. There will be clarity to find out what you are seeking.

So much of what I do is about my intention. For example, “What is my intention in posting this picture on social media? What is my intention when saying something — whether it is helpful or hurtful. If you start there, I think you will find some clarity.

Outside of business, what is the “why” that you think you left BREAKTHROUGH with?

CM: I always second-guess things, because I am a human being. Sometimes because of the way we are conditioned, we think, “Why me?” I said, “Why me? Why did I get to be in this movie? Why didn’t my friend get to be a lead in a feature film when she has been acting for twelve years, too?”

Well, it is because that is what it meant to be. Also, just because someone is a lead [actress] in a feature film doesn’t mean that they have all the answers. It does not mean their life is perfect, and they do not have trials or tribulations. They all do. It is just life, but it is a matter of how we react to it. For me, BREAKTHROUGH confirms, “Okay, I am on the right path.” Seeing the way it is affecting people makes me feel like I made the right decision. It is interesting, the “why” came before, but the answer came after filming.

By Bianca Alysse for

About The Author

Bianca Alysse is a creatively driven Bronx-born writer and editor. Before becoming The Knockturnal‘s music editor she served as Latina‘s creative coordinator and was a contributor at Billboard. The Boricua scribe has a lengthy resume in the music industry and has penned for Universal Music Publishing Group, Epic Records, G.O.O.D. Music, Compound Entertainment, Artistry & Récords, and Arcade Creative Group. Her work has been seen on platforms like VIBE, mitú, TIDAL, Remezcla, and behind the scenes at New York Fashion Week. As an independent contractor, she has written for Sony Music Entertainment’s global business affairs department, Warner Music Group, and currently Roc Nation.

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