Ok­la­homans ad­vance to Hol­ly­wood on `Idol'

Carl­ton Pear­son movie to screen in Tulsa

Tulsa World - - Sports - By Michael Smith Michael Smith 918-581-8479 michael.smith @tul­saworld.com Twit­ter: @michael­smithTW By Jim­mie Tramel Jim­mie Tramel 918-581-8389 jim­mie.tramel @tul­saworld.com Twit­ter: @Jim­mieTramel

A film based on the life of Bishop Carl­ton Pear­son, the for­mer leader of one of the city's largest con­gre­ga­tions at the 5,000-mem­ber Higher Di­men­sions Fam­ily Church in Tulsa, will screen at Cir­cle Cin­ema next month ahead of its Net­flix pre­miere.

In ad­di­tion, Pear­son will be on hand to take part in an au­di­ence Qand-A fol­low­ing a one­time show­ing of “Come Sun­day” at 2 p.m. April

8 at Cir­cle Cin­ema, 10 S. Lewis Ave.

No in­for­ma­tion on tick­ets has been re­leased yet.

The film had its world pre­miere in Jan­uary at Sun­dance Film Fes­ti­val, with Os­car-nom­i­nated ac­tor Chi­we­tel Ejio­for of “12 Years a Slave” star­ring as Pear­son.

In the film, Emmy win­ner Martin Sheen por­trays tel­e­van­ge­list Oral Roberts, who served as a men­tor to Pear­son.

The film tells the story of how Pear­son was os­tra­cized for adopt­ing univer­sal­ist teach­ings — that all peo­ple go to heaven and that there is no hell — in about 2000.

Na­tional Chris­tian lead­ers de­scribed Pear­son as a heretic, and the lo­cal fall­out found him banned from the Oral Roberts Univer­sity cam­pus and, ul­ti­mately, los­ing his con­gre­ga­tion and church.

Pear­son now speaks at All Souls Uni­tar­ian Church, and on its web­site, he is listed as an af­fil­i­ate min­is­ter.

Also star­ring are Ja­son Segel (“How I Met Your Mother”), Lakeith Stan­field (“Get Out”), Danny Glover (“Lethal Weapon”) and Con­dola Rashad (“Bil­lions”).

Two Ok­la­homans — Thad­deus John­son of Ok­la­homa City and Rissa Wat­son of Apache — earned “golden passes” to Hol­ly­wood dur­ing “Amer­i­can Idol” auditions Mon­day night.

John­son shared a per­sonal story be­fore per­form­ing for judges Katy Perry, Lionel Richie and Luke Bryan. He said he par­tic­i­pated in sea­son nine of “Amer­i­can Idol” in 2010 and “made it pretty far” but came up short and be­came de­pressed. At the time, he weighed in ex­cess of 300 pounds, and he said his weight was a detri­ment to singing be­cause of short­ness of breath and be­cause he was un­able to hold a note.

“I just couldn't re­ally be the best singer that I could be,” he said. “I got to the point where I was so un­happy that I wanted to take my life.”

John­son said mu­sic was his sav­ing grace.

“It saved me from a place that I didn't even think I could get back from,” he said.

When John­son was fin­ished, Richie said, “What­ever you had to do to pull your­self back to where you are right now, my friend, you are here for a rea­son. You have got an in­cred­i­ble ma­chine. You un­der­stand that?”

John­son got a hug from Richie and a unan­i­mous “you're go­ing to Hol­ly­wood” from the judges.

Wat­son, 17, said she grew up in a town (Apache is in Caddo County) where you know ev­ery­body on a first- and last-name ba­sis. Her fam­ily has owned and op­er­ated a fur­ni­ture store in Apache since 1901.

“Grow­ing up in the fur­ni­ture store, my mom would ask me to sing in front of all the cus­tomers,” she said. “I was so shy I ac­tu­ally had to turn my back to them in or­der to do it.”

Wat­son said the first time she re­ally per­formed in front of peo­ple was at an event called “Apache Idol.” She said she knew ev­ery­body in the crowd and saw all the eyes on her, but her nerves dis­ap­peared “and I re­al­ized this is ac­tu­ally what I love.”

Vow­ing to make her home­town proud, Wat­son sang Adele's “When We Were Young.” And the judges ap­proved. Bryan said she had the voice of an an­gel.

“Rissa, you are very tal­ented and I can't wait to see you bloom­ing in front of Amer­ica,” Perry said.

“Amer­i­can Idol” re­turns to ABC on Sun­day, March 18, and Mon­day, March 19.

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