Ralph Waite, the wise dad in the long-running TV series "The Waltons," takes on the role of a similarly wise grandfather in "Letters to God," a faith-based movie set to open in Modesto on April 9 at Brenden Theatres.
The story revolves around Tyler Doherty, an 8-year-old boy who is fighting cancer and who mails letters to God. His postal carrier is trying to find meaning in his life as he struggles with alcohol and his fractured marriage.
There's also Tyler's single mom (his dad was killed in a car crash) and his 16-year-old brother, who struggles with all the time and energy focused on his young brother.
Bailee Madison perfectly portrays Tyler's tomboy friend, climbing through his bedroom window and encouraging him through his illness. Waite is her grandfather, who dresses up in flamboyant costumes and fashions some quirky eyebrows for the chemotherapy-bald Tyler.
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The movie was directed by David Nixon, one of the producers of "Fireproof" and "Facing the Giants." It is the first from Possibility Pictures, led by Nixon and producer Kim Dawson ("Bobby Jones").
Like Waite, the other actors have long lists of credits. Tanner Maguire, who plays Tyler, has had recurring roles on "Desperate Housewives," "How I Met Your Mother" and "Days of Our Lives." The mailman, Jeffrey S. Johnson, is a musician and an actor with credits on such TV shows as "CSI," "Without A Trace," "The District" and "Boomtown."
Based on a true story, the movie is rated PG. The faith part comes in as the mailman seeks help from a pastor for his failures and later distributes the letters to God.
Along with the story, the movie promotes "Know Cancer," an online social network dedicated to "empowering all people affected by the many forms of cancer," according to a press release.
To see a preview of the movie or for more information, visit www.letterstogodthemovie.com.