Stars of new faith-oriented series ‘God Friended Me’ find it heavenly.
Actors Hall, Beane say the chance to work in faith-oriented series has been enlightening
LOS ANGELES — The new CBS drama “God Friended Me” suggests that at least someone with a social-media presence calling themselves “God” works in mysterious ways.
Outspoken atheist Miles Finer (Brandon Micheal Hall) receives a friend request on social media from “God.” He enlists the help of Cara Bloom (Violett Beane), an online journalist suffering from writer’s block, and his best friend, Rakesh Sehgal (Suraj Sharma), a sometime hacker, to deal with the tasks set forth through the postings. Along with doing good deeds, the three try to figure out who is behind the request.
Being part of “God Friended Me” means more to Hall and Beane than starring roles in a TV series. This is a program that has pushed the two actors to ponder bigger questions about faith and, at times, a lack of faith.
Hall calls working on “God Friended Me” as being “enlightening.”
“This character is so far from who I am, I have to step into his shoes to have an understanding of what it means to be an atheist,” Hall says. “It is mind-blowing to me that CBS is allowing us to show that narrative. For me, it is great to step into someone else’s shoes so that I can question myself.”
He didn’t have to research the faith side as he was raised by a single mother who was a preacher in South Carolina. Hall likes that the series will start conversations about religion. Working on the show has made him continue to gain a closer relationship with how grounded he is spiritually.
Hall comes to the CBS drama after starring in the shortlived ABC comedy “The Mayor.” His other credits include “Search Party,” “Monster Party,” “Unforgettable,” “Broad City” and “The Characters.” He compares the quick cancellation of “The Mayor” to the theme of “God Friended Me,” which is finding and reconnecting your faith in humanity and what the world has to offer.
“When a great show like ‘The Mayor’ is swept underneath the rug a little bit, it puts me in a place of, ‘Well, if that’s not what the people want, then what is it that I can do to make change and have an impact?’ The path has been very much finding my faith again and re-creating that ownership again,” Hall says.
Beane, a Texas native who is best known for playing Jesse Quick on the television series “The Flash,” has never had an acting role that makes her think as much as working on “God Friended Me.” That is what she sees as the real power of the new CBS drama.
“In my own life, in my own circle of friends, I am discussing the topic of religion and faith more than if I wasn’t on this show,” Beane says. “I think that is actually what is great about the show. People are going to be sitting at home with their families or friends watching the show. They are going to be opening up a dialogue that maybe they aren’t even aware they are opening up.
“It brings this question to the forefront and will make people think about these things.”
Even if the viewer doesn’t want to ponder the religious implications presented, the power of the ripple effect is made very clear. This is a situation where one person’s actions impact another, and what that person does touches someone else.
Beane knows about the ripple effect from personal experience. She points to a day when she walked into her agent’s office in Austin to give the staff cookies because she had just landed a job. Her arrival came at the exact moment she met the person who would become her manager. That took her to roles in the film “Truth or Dare,” plus the TV shows “The Leftovers,” “The Resident” and “Chicago P.D.”
Now Beane and Hall are starring in a series that’s being compared to programs such as “Touched by an Angel,” “Highway to Heaven,” “Seventh Heaven,” “Early Edition” and “Joan of Arcadia.” They are both OK with “God Friended Me” being mentioned in the same breath as those faithoriented series.
Beane says, “I think people latch onto that idea because they feel a certain way about it. If that makes them watch the show, I think that is great because the show is going to open up conversations. We are coming from a lot of different perspectives, and if people want to compare it to other shows, that is fine.”
Hall adds he loves being compared to programs that not only made people think, but spent years doing that. He is not OK with the suggestion “God Friended Me” is about angels doing good work, because all of the characters are real people who are just being guided by someone on social media to help others.
Brandon Michael Hall plays an outspoken atheist who is friended by God on social media on “God Friended Me.”
Violett Beane of Austin stars as online journalist Cara opposite Brandon Micheal Hall as Miles in the CBS dramedy “God Friended Me.”