In 2000, screenwriter and director Richard Dutcher produced the missionary drama “God’s Army.” This marked the unofficial beginning of the age of Mormon Cinema—for the next 10 years or so, Mormon culture, Mormon actors and Mormon experiences were all the rage on the big screen.
Though other films about and for Mormons had been produced before (like “Saturday’s Warrior,” for example) and have been made since, the first decade of the 21st century was alive with Mormon-made films that made Kirby Heyborne a household name.
Some of the stars of these early Mormon films have continued in successful acting careers, while some have settled into relative obscurity. Here’s an update on 10 familiar faces from Mormon movies past.
1. Kirby Heyborne
Known for: “Saints and Soldiers,” “The R.M.,” “The Best Two Years,” “The Singles Ward,” “The Singles 2nd Ward.”
Where he is now: After several credits per year in the mid-2000s, Heyborne’s career has slowed. His most recent film credit is as Sheldon the Turtle in the 2015 film “Twelve.” He has also performed as an audiobook narrator, and recently won The Odyssey Award for his performance. He has narrated over 100 titles, including “Nick and Nora’s Infinite Playlist” and “Black Swan Green.” He also performs as a musician and is the co-founder and director of a Los Angeles-based improv comedy group. In 2015, he appeared in a CarMax TV Commercial called “The Bright Side of Car Buying: Worry Free.”
2. Erin Chambers
Known for: “The Errand of Angels,” “The Singles 2nd Ward.”
Where she is now: Erin has appeared in several TV series since her time in the Mormon Cinema spotlight. TV credits include roles on “Scandal,” “The Young and the Restless,” “NCIS: Los Angeles,” “Castle,” “General Hospital,” “Days of Our Lives,” and “Without a Trace.” She lives in Los Angeles with her family.
3. Will Swenson
Known for: “The Singles Ward,” “Sons of Provo,” “The Singles 2nd Ward,” “The R.M.”
Where he is now: Will has collected several film, TV and stage credits since 2007, including as an actor on “This is Where I Leave You,” “The Good Wife,” and “Law & Order: Criminal Intent.” He was nominated for the 2009 Tony Award for Best Performance for a Featured Actor in a musical for “Hair”and was cast as Inspector Javert in the 2014 Broadway revival of “Les Miserables.” He married broadway actress Audra McDonald in 2012.
4. Katherine Nelson
Known for: “Emma Smith: My Story,” “Ephraim’s Rescue,” “Joseph Smith: Prophet of the Restoration.”
Where she is now: Primarily a singer, Katherine has a total of seven film credits, three of which she received after 2010. She has recorded several songs and a few albums, most recently “Born Brave” (2012). She is married and has four children.
5. David Nibley
Known for: “The Best Two Years,” “Church Ball,” “17 Miracles,” “Saints and Soldiers: Airborne Creed,” “Joseph Smith: Prophet of the Restoration”
Where he is now: Most of Nibley’s film credits remain in the LDS genre, though not all. His most recent film credit was as Dave’s Father in “Tongue Tied,” 2014. Nibley is the CEO of The Melty Way in Utah County. He and his wife live in Utah with their four daughters.
6. Heather Beers
Known for: “Charly,” “Baptists at Our Barbecue”
Where she is now: Beers has seven post-2010 film credits, including “Christmas for a Dollar,” “Waffle Street” and the two 2016 films “The Hollow Point” and “Phobic.” She also appearedin the 2006 film “Unaccompanied Minors” and briefly in the 2009 LDS film “One Good Man.” Today she works as an actress, freelance writer and voice over artist — listen for her voice as you ride on UTA.
7. Jon Heder
Known for: “Napolean Dynamite”
Where he is now: Heder has had a successful career in comedy, appearing in the TV show “How I Met Your Mother” and the films “Just Like Heaven,” “The Benchwarmers,” “Blades of Glory,” “Surf’s Up,” and the TV show “My Name is Earl.” His most recent project is the 2016 comedy “Ghost Team,” which is currently filming.
8. Connie Young
Known for: “The Singles Ward,” “The Singles 2nd Ward.”
Where she is now: Young’s most recent film credit was 2013, which was her first film credit since 2009. However, she has appeared recently in two infomercials.
9. Christopher Gorham
Known for: “The Other Side of Heaven.”
Where he is now: Gorham, though not affiliated with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, was cast as a Mormon missionary in “The Other Side of Heaven” because filmmakers thought he had “a very gentle soul.” He has enjoyed an illustrious acting career, most recently as the voice of The Flash/Barry Allen in “Justice League vs. Teen Titans.” He has also appeared on the TV shows “Covert Affairs,” “Once Upon a Time,” “Ugly Betty,” and “Felicity.”
10. Curt Doussett
Known for: “Saints and Soldiers,” “Midway to Heaven,” “One Good Man,” “Church Ball,” “The R.M.”
Where he is now: Doussett appeared on the TV Series “Hazard Pay” (2007-2008) and “Fresh take” (2011). He was also the host of the TV shows “America’s Lost Treasures” (2012) and “Exit” (2013). Today, he can be seen performing at ComedySportz in Provo as the show’s “referee.”