A “Father’s” Touch
By Lee Strobel
Robert Forster plays my father Walter in THE CASE FOR CHRIST. He even looks a lot like my father did, which is a little disconcerting. Robert is one of the most thoughtful people I have ever met. He brought little gifts for everybody on the set, which he certainly didn’t have to do as a veteran actor in 130 movies.
There’s a scene that we filmed that didn’t make the final cut. It’s where my father and I have a blowout argument on the eve of my high school graduation. I had gone behind my dad’s back and bought a motorcycle after he had explicitly told me I wasn’t allowed to get one.
In the heat of our argument, my dad said, “I don’t have enough love for you to fill my little finger.” This exacerbated the rift between us, which was never fully healed before my father died.
After they filmed this scene, Robert walked over to me, staying in the character of my father. He put his hand on my shoulder and looked squarely into my eyes. “I’m sorry,” he said.
Those were the words I had never heard from my dad after our blowout—and the words I never said to him, either, for my rebellion.
It was a profoundly emotional—and even healing—moment for me. And it was such a deep insight into Robert’s compassion and empathy. I’ll always remember that simple gesture as one of the highlights of making THE CASE FOR CHRIST.