Fred Thompson Religious Thriller Creates a Stir on iTunes

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Former U.S. senator and 2008 Republican presidential candidate Fred Thompson has a leading role in the upcoming movie “Persecuted,” which explores timely issues, including religious freedom and censorship.

Regal Entertainment has announced that the independent movie will open on May 9.

“Persecuted” is about a televangelist, played by James Remar, who is being pressured into supporting legislation that would censor religious speech. When he refuses to support the measure, he is framed for the rape and murder of a teenage girl.

Thompson plays a Catholic priest.

Despite little marketing, the movie’s trailer was recently No. 1 on the iTunes “most popular” list, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

The movie was also well received when it was screened at the Conservative Political Action Conference on March 7.

Thompson, who served in the Senate from 1994 to 2003, is no stranger to acting. He has appeared in several dozen movies and television shows, including NBC’s “Law & Order.”

During a panel discussion at CPAC, Thompson said the movie’s theme of “the government trying to dictate what Christian ministers can say is not so far-fetched today.”

The film also stars Dean Stockwell and Bruce Davison, and Fox News Channel’s Gretchen Carlson plays a news anchor in the movie.

“Washington and Hollywood are two interesting towns,” Thompson told The Hollywood Reporter. “The film brings these two worlds together. Throw in a bit of religion and you have a recipe for a great thriller.

“I can’t wait for America to watch this film. It’s perfect for our time,” Thompson said.