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Ricky Schroder plays a man of God in new film

February 17, 2010 12:00:00 AM PST
Ricky Schroder began his career opposite Jon Voight in 1979 film "The Champ." But he may be most known for his roles in the TV shows "Silver Spoons," "Lonesome Dove," and "NYPD Blue."Now, Schroder is playing a man of God in his new movie, "Blood Done Sign My Name."

The film takes place in Oxford, North Carolina in 1970. It's based on the true story of a young black man beaten to death by a white man and his two sons.

Schroder plays the Rev. Vernon Tyson, who's moved his family to Oxford hoping he can affect change through the church. But it's not an easy assignment.

"Vernon wanted to get in front of the violence that was building in the community and he saw it building and he felt it building. And, you know, he knew what was coming," said Schroder.

"What's most satisfying about 'Blood Done Sign My Name' for me is looking at how far we've come in 40 years as a country," he added.

Schroder got a phone call asking if he'd like to be a part of this project. It would be a challenge for him, so of course he said yes.

"And three days later, I was in North Carolina standing in front of a congregation giving a sermon with the real Rev. Tyson there, kind of watching me. So it was a pretty sink or swim situation for me," said Schroder.

He swam, helping this movie about equality and justice find its way into theatres, teaching a lesson or two along the way.

"Young people, like my kids and stuff, they read history books and sometimes it's so dry where they would never understand the civil rights struggle. But in a movie, they could actually feel it," said Schroder.

"Blood Done Sign My Name" opens in limited release on Friday, Feb. 19.