A new short film that has been winning awards at festivals features former “7th Heaven” star Stephen Collins as a pedophile priest, which People magazine notes is raising the “art imitating life” issue now that Collins is being investigated for alleged child abuse.
The movie is “Penance,” directed by Jeff Wolfe, who won an Emmy as second unit director on the NBC series “Revolution,” which also included Collins in the cast. Collins is best known for playing the Rev. Eric Camden on the long-running family drama “7th Heaven.”
“Penance” also stars “Revolution’s” David Lyons as a character who seeks help dealing with personal demons. The film’s summary notes: “Stephen Collins is the priest he visits to clear his conscience and discover exactly what it means to find forgiveness — or to give it.”
With Collins now in the news because of investigations on both coasts into alleged child molestation, “Penance” director Wolfe issued a statement to People noting that the film was made in 2013, and adding: “When I cast Stephen Collins, I had no idea there might be a connection between his real life and the part I asked him to play. I found the recent allegations particularly shocking, as my film is meant to speak to victims of abuse and the idea that the effects of abuse never really go away.”
People notes that Collins talked about “Penance” in an interview at WonderCon in April, although he didn’t reveal much. Here’s the clip, which is mostly about “Revolution,” with Collins’ comments on “Penance” coming near the end: