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A feature film telling the true story of missionary Graham Staines, whose grisly murder by religious extremists made worldwide news in 1999, is in the works from a Texas entertainment company delving into movie production and distribution for the first time.
The faith-based film, dubbed The Least of These, stars Stephen Baldwin as Staines, an Australian who, with his wife, had spent more than two decades working with impoverished lepers in India.
The movie also features Shari Rigby, best known for October Baby, and Bollywood star Sharman Joshi as a journalist assigned to investigate whether Staines was illegally converting Hindus into Christians.
Staines was asleep in his station wagon with his two sons, ages 10 and 6, when they were attacked by a mob. His car was set on fire and the three burned alive. Dara Singh, a member of the Bajran Dal group, was sentenced to life in prison for orchestrating the attack. Staines’ widow and their daughter stayed five more years in India, and the country honored his wife with its Padma Shree award. In 2016, she also received the Mother Teresa Memorial International Award.
The $6 million movie from Skypass Entertainment was filmed entirely on location near Hyderabad, India.
Skypass Group is a travel, hotel, leisure, ticketing and cruise company that is branching out into Hollywood-style entertainment. The company intends to release the movie next year, marking the 20th anniversary of the death of Staines and his sons.
“Graham cared for the lepers because he was caring for Christ,” said Aneesh Daniel, the film’s director. “Gladys forgave the accused because she was demonstrating that love. Simple yet complex.”
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