Richard Rossi To Helm 'Azusa Street'

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Independent Filmmaker Richard Rossi's new film "Azusa Street" will tell the story of the LA Revival that birthed Pentecostalism, shooting on the 100 year anniversary of the historical events.

As seen in Variety and Hollywood Reporter, independent filmmaker Richard Rossi's new film "Azusa Street" will tell the story of the LA revival that birthed Pentecostalism, on the 100 year anniversary of the events. Casting for the lead role of African American preacher William Seymour began today, with Denzel Washington, Jamie Foxx, and Don Cheadle's names emerging in casting brainstroming sessions at Rossi's Beverly Hills production office.

"William Seymour was the father of the 1906 movement who was unfortunately not recognized by many because of the prejudice within religion in the Jim Crow era," Rossi said. "The success of the film depends on the right actor in that lead role."

Rossi is an ordained minister himself, who recently started Eternal Grace Church in Hollywood, and has been called the "Pastor to the Stars" by ABC Entertainment News. He journeyed form scripture to script, making the recent awardwinning feature film "Aimee Semple McPherson" about the fabled female evangelist who mysteriously vanished in 1926.

Rossi's film on McPherson set off a religious controversy when The International Church of the Foursquare Gospel, (the denomination Aimee founded), sent out a worldwide press release stating they do not endorse the film because of the film's explorations of her controversial personal life.

"Azusa Street is a prequel to Sister Aimee's story, because Aimee's first husband Robert Semple came out of the Azusa Street movement," associate producer Jeffrey Griffith said.

As part of their preparation, Rossi, Griffith, and other crew members visited the original house on Bonnie Brae Street in Los Angeles where the prayer meetings produced stories of miraculous cures, healings, speaking in tongues, and spiritual power so intense it swept the globe in a worldwide movement urging a return to the power of primitive christianity.

"We prayed in that very house for God's anointing on the project," Rossi said. "Pentecostalism is the fastest growing movement within Christianity because it reaches the emotions, it touches the heart with the power of the Spirit."

"Like Seymour, Rossi had wide impact as an evangelist ministering in the miraculous and was later discredited by some evangelicals because of his own personal struggles," Griffith explained. "This film really comes from his soul."

Shooting will begin in March, in concert with the gathering of tens of thousands of charismatic Christians converging on the city of Los Angeles for a convention to celebrate the centennial anniversary of the Azusa Street revival.

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